If you have ever embarked on any self-help or self-improvement study, one of the first things that is addressed is that in order to advance or in order to love someone else or in order to improve your life, etc., you must first learn to love yourself. I don’t know about anyone else but to me that sounded a bit strange and even a bit conceited and very honestly, even a bit ridiculous. But, wanting to improve, I dug in and after much reading and listening and learning, I think that I finally understand.
For me, the first step in learning to love myself was to access all of those negatives that I have carried with me. Who was it that said and did these things to me, why did they do them and to understand that regardless of their intentions or reasons for doing what they did, it has nothing to do with me.
I believe that the natural tendency that we all have is to look in the mirror and see all of the things that we deem to be wrong with ourselves. No matter the level of success or power or admiration that one receives, we still only see our flaws and think that our success at any level has happened only because we were able to fool someone else. The actress who appears on the red carpet looking fabulous knows that she has undergarments to shape her as well as the perfect makeup and hair creation to create an illusion that she knows is not her. The business mogul knows that he may be receiving all of the accolades for the latest invention but knows that while it may have been his idea, there is a whole team behind him that developed and marketed that product. Or, it may be that the person who has initiated the greatest new concept in a product has had his idea stolen away and doesn’t have the courage to stand up and fight for himself.
No matter whom we are or what we have achieved or not achieved in any arena of our lives, we still see ourselves through the eyes of the child that we were. We hear all of the voices in our head that pointed out all of our flaws, shortcomings and missteps. We hear all of the names that were attached to us, all of the mistakes that we made that were pointed out to us over and over and mostly we hear all of the comments about our underachievement, the goals that we never pursued to have more stuff in our lives and the paths that we never travelled in order to reach the heights that other people wanted for us. It’s no wonder that we can’t even begin to love ourselves when we have been told how unworthy of love we are because of who we are and what we have done.
For me, the first step in learning to love myself was to access all of those negatives that I have carried with me. Who was it that said and did these things to me, why did they do them and to understand that regardless of their intentions or reasons for doing what they did, it has nothing to do with me. They acted out of their own experiences in life and thought in many cases that it was “the best” for me. Bottom line, it doesn’t matter. It is time to let go of the past. I am the one who has control of my life and my power and I am not going to let anyone have one tiny little bit of it.
I am not perfect but I am a perfect me. There is not another one like me in the entire world. I do the very best that I can – always. I treat others with dignity and respect and share my love with them freely. I accept those who are my enemies and appreciate their right to view me as they do. I accept everyone for exactly who they are and what they are and even when we have a difference of opinion, I truly respect their right to think and do as they wish.
And after I did this assessment of myself, I had to admit that I have every right to love myself for who I am and the person that I have become and I realized that nothing else mattered. I am proud of the person that I allowed myself to be. I have no illusions about knowing my value and my worth in the lives of others and I hope that every other person that I know and love will also understand that they are loved by me because I see in them exactly the same things I see in myself and I wouldn’t change a single one of them.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.