by Ariel Minter
When you think of loving yourself, I’m sure you think of a small list of things that seem to fit whatever that means to you. After I wrote the last blog, I was thinking about what loving myself meant. I realized that loving yourself is impossible. And I know that sounds hopeless.
But there is hope.
I realized that we are all fragile. We all have different definitions of what love actually means. We all have different ways of feeling, giving, and receiving love.
No one has ever experienced perfect love. Every form of love in this world is imperfect. The closest form of love that is available is imperfect. So, when we think of loving ourselves, we are all viewing that question on what love actually means.
My definition of (human) love is feeling safe, understood, and adored. This means that, according to that perspective, very few people have ever shown me that kind of love. I think that we all express it, but that it only happens in special moments. I also believe in a love that means we are attentive and caring towards those we have feelings for. That love is out of a respect for those that matter to us, and in that love we are able to be present to our loved ones.
We are surrounded by distractions. We are surrounded by reasons to not love. So, when loving those we care about in life, it seems there is little room to love ourselves. So how can it be done?
I am learning by listening. In this season of my life, I have practiced listening by being able to repeat what others are saying after they’ve said it. I am learning to love myself by choosing to focus on positive things as opposed to worrying and/or stressing over things I have no power over. I am learning to love myself in what I spend my time on and how I manage my responsibilities.
How are you learning to love yourself? What do you do that sharpens your behavior?
by Ariel Minter
I think loving yourself is one of the hardest things you ever learn to do. On the surface, it’s easy to say that some people seem to REALLY love themselves. But, ultimately, I really think that even “those people” don’t really, truly love themselves.
Now, let me preface all of this by saying there is a BIG difference between loving yourself and worshipping yourself. Narcissism is completely different from what I am talking about.
These are the 3 faces of LOVE from the original Greek...
Agape love is unconditional love (God-like love). Agape coupled with Philos matters when it comes to loving yourself. In real-world terms, it is the type that individuals are aiming for when they speak of loving themselves. It means knowing you have cellulite but loving who you are anyways. It’s knowing it will take 6 years to get that degree because maybe you didn’t take school too seriously in the beginning, but knowing your worth doesn’t come from finishing in 4 years. It means that, even though you may not be the typical “perfect” person (whatever that means), you still have value and can see past the flaws.
We all know the analysis of our society’s standards for perfection. It is plastered on billboards, magazines, television, your favorite novel….these standards on what you’re worth are inherited by the society you live in. And, unfortunately, ours is not very redeeming.
I am convinced that we really are the biggest critics in our own lives. I believe that many of us beat ourselves up over the smallest things, and end up focusing on a simple mistake for the majority of our days.
The beauty in all of this is that it is possible to love yourself without narcissism. It is possible to love yourself even though you’ve made mistakes. It is possible to love yourself even if you gained a few pounds over the holidays. It is possible to love yourself even if your children refuse to listen to you. It is possible to love yourself even though your dog refuses to be house-trained. And it is possible to love yourself even if someone breaks up with you.
What does it mean to love yourself? What would it take to love yourself? And are you living your life in a way that makes that achievable?
Feel free to join the conversation!
Marla and Jami
Cofounders of JamiAndMarla.LOVE (fka Passion Provokers and Keller Coaching) Jami and Marla are proud to bring a new level of success to coupleships worldwide with their unique coaching, mentoring, and consulting process. Their blogs are not only informative for coupleships they are personal. For over 25 years they have been helping people create emotionally and physically intimate coupleships.
Ariel is a freelance blogger, web designer, and SEO consultant. She is 23 years young, married to her soulmate, and a proud “mother” to boxer Bruce and Yorkie Dexter. She focuses on writing content that is raw and relatable. (Info relevant at the time of writing, circa 2013-2015)