Is it possible to love, care and respect others without first loving, caring and respecting yourself?
When was the last time you did something for you because you deserve it and not to please someone else?
I had this conversation recently and it made me think about the relationship we have with ourselves.
Me – What made you decide to start a wellness journey
Client – Well…….. Jerry said he is not satisfied with the way I look. I am afraid I may lose him if I do not do something about my weight
Me – What of you? What do you want?
Client – I think I am okay, my blood pressure is up but not a lot, I have pain on my ankle that started when I put on weight but that is all. I am fine. I really don’t think I need to work out. I am doing it for Jerry.
Me – Is there anything you can think of that may be of help in reducing your blood pressure?
Client – I am a nurse. I know exercise and eating healthy will do me a lot of good
Me – (silent)
Client – I am not really ready to do what it takes now to be healthier. My weight is 98 kg but ………..
Me – (silent)
Client – But, if it will make Jerry happy I will do it.
I sincerely hope that Jerry does not upset her because if he does, that may well be the end of her wellness journey.
Before I show you how to love yourself it is important that you understand loving yourself and narcissism are two different things.
Narcissism is excessive selfishness that could lead to manipulating others when it comes to getting your way or what concerns you to the detriment of other people’s wellbeing. It is also extreme interest and admiration of your physical appearance.
Self love is a positive feeling about yourself, your wellbeing and happiness
On February 14, every year – Valentine’s Day, there is a massive outpouring of love to others. You probably went shopping to buy things for the love of your life or for those you felt needed love. You bought gifts for loved ones, bought a new LBD or LRD. That is good.
All this shopping was for I thing, to show love to others. My question is what did you do for yourself that day?
So you bought a new dress and shoe. But was it really for you?
Yes, you own the dress but whom and what was on your mind when you were buying it. Was it how you will feel when you wear it? Did you buy it because you have been working a lot and you want to reward yourself? Or is it just and only just to impress someone and hear them say you look good?
So what happens if he cancels, does not show up or comes back late when you have taken the clothes off?
What if he does not like the dress and is not kind in the words that he uses to tell you so?
What if he does not notice it or pay any compliment?
Would you still feel good about those things you bought?
They dress is still yours, but how would you feel when you wear them? It will bring back unhappy memories and that is what you may always associate that dress.
Remember; when you were buying the dress, it was not about you. It was how the other person will feel when he sees you in it.
You matter and it is time to reconnect with yourself and show love to you
How will you do that?
You will need a paper or book and a pen
Remember you are doing this on your own, so be as honest to yourself as you can. No one else knows you more than you know yourself.
It is time to go on a first date with you.
Here is a little exercise for you to do first
# 1 Look at yourself in a mirror
- 1 Stand in front of a mirror, if you cannot stand in front of one, get a mirror from your purse or switch to the selfie function in your phone.
- 2 Take a good look at you.
- 3 Close your eyes. Inhale and exhale 3 times.
- 4 Open your eyes and look at yourself. Inhale and as you exhale say to yourself “I love you” “ I love you so much”
# 2 Make a promise to your self
- 1 Still standing in front of the mirror or with your mirror, Inhale and as you exhale make positive promises to yourself.
- 2 Inhale and as you exhale say “I know that I have not put you first or taken care of you. But from this moment, I promise to nurture, love and do what it takes to protect you”
- Find your own words and say it to yourself. As you say those words observe the feeling going on in your body and how you feel. You may get emotional and want to cry, that’s okay. In the midst of those tears, keep talking to yourself and make those promises.
# 3 What do you think about yourself?
The next step is discovering who you are and how you see yourself. Step away from the mirror and take a moment to think about yourself and what makes you unique.
Are you loyal, sensitive and loving? Are you vengeful? Are you happy about yourself or is your happiness dependent on other people?
# 4 How can you make yourself happy?
What do you enjoy doing? What will you love to do right now if you could? We are all created differently, there are certain things that seem to call out to us at one time or the other.
It may be just going out on your own to a quiet place and just relaxing and getting things (you will know what) into perspective. Sometimes it is in this quiet moment that you take decisions that will steer you in the right path to your purpose.
It may be taking your friend out for a day of shopping (window shopping inclusive) or just catching up with friends
It may be having a small party to bring together the people you care about to unwind
It may be going on vacation
What makes you happy? Do not wait for someone to do it for you. Do it.
Celebrate your birthday, get a gift for yourself. You do not have to wait for someone to celebrate it for you. They might forget and you will spend what is supposed to be a happy day, plotting what to do to whoever that is.
What makes you connect spiritually and helps you find meaning in life?
What makes you happy deep down may not be what makes the other person happy. Others may be thinking about big gestures, big gifts but most times it is the little things that call out to us. Find your own and embrace it.
You owe it to yourself to be happy.
# 5 Forgive yourself and others
Holding on to bitterness and anger will only hurt you. You made mistakes in your past? That cannot be undone. Forgive yourself, let go of the shame and hurt and move on.
Do not let other people unhappiness, judgments, and words dictate your happiness and how your day will be.
We have all being hurt in one way or the other; when people we have helped forget that we exist, when people we love abandon us, when people we have exposed our deepest secrets use it as weapon to hurt us, when people we have shared our problems with use us as a point of discussion with other people. That hurts.
But, we have also hurt others
Forgiving and letting go is a painful process but it needs to be done.
Holding on to the pain will only make you more vulnerable, resentful and weak. It may drag you down and make you prone to taking decision that might be disastrous. You do not need that baggage. Forgive and let go.
Has there ever been a time you were so upset, you moved from one position to another (from one room to the next or done something without thinking about it?) Unforgiveness has energy; negative energy. Let it go and make peace with you.
Learn to forgive yourself and others that may have hurt you: It is for your own good, not theirs.
# 7 What do you think that you deserve?
It is what we believe that we deserve that we expect and accept. Do not settle for mediocre. You are wonderful and you deserve people who realize that.
Do not accept abuse in any form and feel that you deserve it or worse, that it is the other person’s way of showing that he loves you. Love protects, it does not abuse or belittle.
Think about it: There are times; people may feel that their workplace or the boss does not appreciate them or treats them bad; they do not smash the office up.
They do not show how much they appreciate their workplace by smashing it up and sabotaging its progress.
Do not accept disrespect and disregard from anyone in the name of love. If you do, it is you that will come out of that event feeling unworthy.
Expect love, respect, commitment and care for yourself and you will attract it because you believe you deserve it. And when it comes, accept it.
# 8 Stop comparing yourself with others
The grass always looks greener on the other side. While you are busy, looking at someone’s grass, they are also busy looking at your own grass (or tiles).
In the words of a famous American singer; Barry White in his song – My first, my last, my everything. He sings;
“I know there’s only one like you.
There is no way they could have made two”
And that’s true. There is no one else that is you. They may look like you, but they won’t think like you or love like you.
You are unique. Celebrate yourself.
Keep the promises you have made to yourself today.
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Have a great journey of self love.
“You can only truly love your neighbor when you you love yourself”.