Choosing love for myself means showing up for myself with the same kindness and compassion as I would for someone else, I love. It means investing in myself – my longings, my needs, my dreams, and respecting and loving them deeply. It means reminding myself every single day, especially in the hard moments when it is hard to love myself, when I didn’t act in integrity with my values that I am deserving of my own love and belonging and have the power to make a different choice again.
When my children make a mistake, my words are often – “I know this is hard, you are just getting started. In this house we learn by making mistakes. Let us try this again.” This is so instinctive and natural with people we love.
Yet, somehow, we are never taught to extend that same love for ourselves.
Just like anything else, it takes intention, commitment and most importantly practice.
I find that the more I can practice this with myself, my ability to choose love for others expand. My ability to see the abundance and goodness in the world gets deeper. I can show up with more power in the world, in asking for what I need, in drawing better boundaries, in sharing my point of view in a meeting because it becomes easier to recognize that I said what needed to be said or didn’t say what was not needed because my own heart is full, worthy and deserving of my own love FIRST.
Do I always succeed – absolutely not. Yet, a bit by bit this muscle strengthens.
It is about noticing the attachment that comes to the love and acceptance of others. I am not trivializing the impact of feeling like you are truly seen and heard in a relationship, on a team or in an organization. It is deeply powerful.
And, it is the attachment that diminishes our own power.
It is this belief that if my idea is not heard then the idea is not important when all it means is that the idea was not accepted by person X. It means little about the idea. And sometimes, starting with the love and belief for our idea means that the idea does not belong in this group and it needs a different home, not that the idea was not good. It may need refinement or more inputs, but the worthiness of the idea does not hinge on its acceptance and we may over index on that over our own respect for ourselves.
Choosing love for ourselves means we realize we need to say no to an invitation or leave a party sooner than planned. Sometimes, it means walking out of habits, relationships, workplaces, and careers to honor our love for ourselves.
The most effective tool for me is to have space in my day to notice and potentially change and the way I talk to myself and to choose kindness over and over again. It means paying attention to when my needs are not honored and pausing to learn and see what is beneath the surface and what needs to change. It is about the content I consume on books and podcasts and the people I am spending time with.
Over to you – why is loving yourself important and how does it show up for you.
If you liked this post, check out Kristen Neff who is the pioneer of self-compassion and Tara Mohr who has written significantly on related topics and been a big influence in my work and life.
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