Self-love. Where do we even begin?
We know self-love is imperative. Brene Brown reminds us that “we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.”
We would like to believe that we can love our kids and partners more than we love ourselves, but Brene Brown’s research shows that it doesn’t work that way.
If only for the sake of our loved ones, we need to love ourselves.
So what does it mean to love ourselves and how do we do it?
Let’s take M. Scott Peck’s definition of love in The Road Less Traveled:
Love is “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.”
Peck does not distinguish between love of self and love of others. We cannot be a source of strength without nurturing our own strength.
So love is about growth. You may even extend Peck’s definition to include mental and physical growth in addition to spiritual growth.
It involves effort to improve yourself as a human being. It is a form of work or courage. It is attending to your own growth.
How, specifically, can we express love to ourselves? Here are some ideas:
Take responsibility for your part in a situation and the creation of your life.
Get to know yourself so that you know what matters and where you want to grow.
Tell the truth and keep promises to yourself so that you trust and respect yourself.
Remember that you have a spark of the divine in you, that you are valuable.
Recognize that acting loving toward yourself is not always doing what you want or what makes you happy. My kids might want ice cream for dinner every night, but giving them what they want in this case is not caring for them.
Along the same lines, do what is meaningful, not necessarily what is fast or easy.
Consider what would expand you mind, improve your skills, and strengthen your body.
Choose powerful thoughts and act on your own behalf.
Reward yourself, reflect on the ways you are living like the person you want to be.
Care for yourself like you would for a loved one - forgive, appreciate, and soothe yourself. Give yourself compassion and a safe place to land.
Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. - Jordan Peterson
Loving yourself makes you a better partner, parent, friend and contributor.
Loving yourself helps you use your gifts to make the world a better place.
Here are specific self-care activities to help you attend to your growth.
Going through a difficult situation? Wrestling with a problem? Would you like to use this as an opportunity to grow? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org