Self Love and Loving Others
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Self love is not an act of selfishness. In fact, it is actually the opposite.
How you see and treat others is a projection of how you see and treat parts of yourself.
Now, I know that you could argue against the statement above, but I would challenge you to really consider how you are treating yourself and others.
The point here is that if you love yourself, and are working on a relationship with yourself, that will shift how you interact with others. You might be asking yourself, how can my self love improve my relationships with others?
Relationships are Essential
First, consider how human beings are wired for connection. From birth, we are wired to mimic and depend on others for survival.
As we grow, we find that our connections with others can have a profound effect on our emotional wellbeing. Some of our connections are healthy and others are not. The human connection is a basic survival need even as we try to establish our individuality during adolescence.
Sometimes, we get the message that other people’s needs are more important than ours. We can also start to lose sight and love for our own selves.
Our instincts are to feel and show love for others, but it can get distorted if there is any kind of abuse or violation of trust. Due to this, we can start to focus more and more outside of ourselves for a sense of worth.
On the other hand, we could end up building and fostering healthy and loving relationships that keep us thriving. Then we reach an age where our self worth and self love are more within our control, but do we have the skills to love ourselves while loving others at that point?
The First Relationship to Work On is the One With Yourself
When people move into a path of self love, it is usually because they see that their relationships with others are just not working the way they wish they would.
In many Buddhist traditions, there is an understanding that someone will continue to suffer over and over until they realize that they no longer want it. When someone is suffering in their relationships, they often can realize that they are missing something like self-esteem or self love.
Once a person has decided that enough is enough, they can start working on their most important relationship, the one with themselves.
Many people avoid this because it can seem selfish, but that’s not what self love is.
Self love is when you begin to nurture yourself. You start to see yourself as worthy of love, boundaries, healthy relationships, and tenderness. As a result, you start to seek out tools to show these things for yourself.
As this starts, some of your more toxic relationships will no longer be tolerable for you. Conversely, the most healthy relationships you have will start to play a more important role.
As You Work On Yourself, You Benefit Others
A true self love journey is really just a journey about love itself.
When you are loving yourself, you have real and difficult conversations with yourself.
The deep conversation with yourself will be to explore your values, define your vision for who you want to be, know how you will show up in the world, work on your boundaries, and more. You will move towards a consistent understanding of who you are.
Although your work will be internal, your changes will start to be external. Others will begin to see the impacts of your work. You will essentially be modeling how they also can begin to love themselves.
Here’s an example:
You start to work on your boundaries and begin to realize that your boundaries actually communicate how much you trust others to handle their own lives. Because of this, you start to express how much you trust those around you to make their own decisions. Soon, others around you start to feel that trust and responsibility for themselves and they feel empowered.
Your Self Love Will Create Patience and Understanding
Your relationship with yourself, your modeling for others, and the growth you make will teach you patience and understanding of yourself.
As a result, you’ll begin to realize that everyone else might be working on similar skills. This will lead you to slow down and understand people more. You will start to communicate more with others in different ways so you can understand them and work through any problem in a loving way.
Finally, your assumptions about others will begin to feel more positive and humane, which will support deep relationships.
The above are just a few reasons why self love actually connects you to others, but there are so many more reasons.
When you learn to love yourself, you learn what love is. You begin to look inside of you and see something radiant and beautiful. Consequently, you start to see that same beauty inside of others.
You cannot start to develop a deep and nurturing love for yourself and not see the worthiness of those around you.
At the very least, it will do no harm to love yourself.
Dr. Autumn Thomas
By starting a self love journey, you are making a powerful statement to yourself and others. Begin with our program: Techniques for Self Love and Acceptance.
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