I know everyone has heard this before:
“You have to truly love yourself before you can love another”
…am I right?
Now think about that for a few seconds and let it sink in. Re-read it one more time, and focus on the third word.
You have to truly love yourself before you can love another.
Therefore, you must truly love yourself before you can love yourself. This written out might not make sense, but I’ll explain what I mean:
A couple weeks ago I had quite the awakening during one of my girls’ nights. And let me begin by saying that I am blessed and very fortunate to have the people that I do in my life-I can honestly say there’s times I’d be at a loss without them.
So–back to girls’ night… It was everything that a girls’ night should be…fun and filled with shenanigans! Wine, good music, laughing, dancing (I gave it my best shot) but this night in particular was life changing for me.
“You see, what had happened was…”
We decided to play a little game involving self-love. The “mirror game exercise” is what I’d like to call it. The idea of this is to stand in front of the mirror, look into your eyes, and while keeping eye contact with yourself say your full name, followed with I LOVE YOU! And then, with a glowing smile, you allow all the positive words to flow — words that describe all the little things that you love about yourself, that make you who you are — the pros, the cons and everything in between that comes to you in that moment… Sounds blissful, right?
So there I was…soaking up all the happiness radiating through the room of these beautiful ladies and–oh crap, it’s my turn?
…and this was the beginning of a beautiful disaster for me.
So, take that mirror away and tell me to name all the reasons I love myself and I could ramble on for hours. Honestly, I may-or may not-even throw in a few things I love about someone else and apply them to myself (nothing wrong with a little wishful thinking, right?). However, the second that mirror is brought in, everything changes. Having to look myself in the face-through my eyes and straight into my heart-with pure thoughts of love and acceptance- brought me extreme discomfort. In fact, after saying my full name, I stood there completely lost and confused as to why I couldn’t keep eye contact with myself. I tried to laugh it off, in hopes of masking my emotion, but the awkwardness was so overwhelming. I felt like I was staring at a complete stranger, and no matter how hard I tried I could not say those 3 words “I LOVE YOU”. I broke down completely, in a flood of tears, knowing I had lost my definition of “me”…my purpose, my drive…My light.
It’s human nature to avoid asking ourselves hard questions that demand truthful answers—So we avoid pain and insecurity by skewing our answers to fit into our personal zone of comfort. (Guilty…) However, if we continue to live this way-In a false reality- how can we expect to grow as individuals? In order to live the happy, fulfilled life we all want to live, we first have to come to terms with our truths. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
So, where did all of this negative emotion and false-reality of happiness come from? I’m not gonna lie, I pointed fingers and looked for something or someone to blame, but in reality the only person responsible for MY happiness-is ME… Once I was able to understand that, I was then able to understand any outside contributions. Without a firm foundation and understanding of self-love and worth, you allow yourself to fall victim to SOCIETY. However; you always have the power to overcome any obstacle, society included.
When put on the spot, many would agree that “loving ourselves” is a selfish act of narcissism. We’ve heard over and over the phrase used in a negative manner, “Ugh, She/he is so in love with them self!” Society has led us to believe that we are supposed to GIVE our love, time, and energy to others first, leaving little to none for ourselves. You’re supposed to compromise your own wants and needs in order to take care of others…That’s what makes a good man or woman…Right? We’ve been pushed to believe that our own sacrifices are a way of showing love and appreciation, but in the end it leaves us frustrated, exhausted, empty and altogether unhappy.
Here’s the truth… “We can’t give what we don’t have.”
The more self-love we have for ourselves, the more we are able to give to our loved ones. And not only will we be able to give more, we will want to give more. I can’t speak for anyone else, but as for me-If I feel like I have to give up something of mine in order to make someone I love happy, 1.) That other person doesn’t love me if that’s what it takes to make them happy and therefor doesn’t deserve MY time, love and energy… and 2.) I may feel good about it initially, but down the road there’s definitely going to be some resentment.
When we care for ourselves and are truly happy and fulfilled, we then have the energy and the desire to share that with the people in our lives. Author Christine Arylo quoted, “It’s like the safety rules you’ve heard over and over on airplanes: In case of emergency, put YOUR air-mask on FIRST, before attempting to assist anyone else…If you pass out because you can’t breathe, you can’t help anyone.”
The Power of the Mind
As I stated earlier, we have the power to overcome any obstacle.
Just because you’ve allowed negative thoughts to sneak in and ebb your self-worth, doesn’t make you a bad person. You have to separate those thoughts from what defines you as an individual (which I am still working on). Don’t allow yourself to believe your bad thoughts, or any negativity that others have pinned on you. Create a barrier in your mind where negative thoughts are no longer welcome, and the ones that already exist are challenged. You must know your worth because you only get what you think you deserve. Your thoughts matter!