I’ve been focusing and concentrating a lot recently about the concept of self-love and how, exactly, does one learn to love oneself? I challenge clients with this question often and just as frequently the response is, “I don’t know”, or “I don’t love myself and don’t know where I would begin doing so.”
Working on self-love is one of life’s most difficult tasks. Because it is such a difficult concept to understand, it’s why most people give up, dissociate from their lives in significant ways and develop strategies to run from themselves. People running from the responsibility of self-love has resulted in our being the most in-debt, overweight, addicted, prescription-pill-taking, depressed society that has ever existed on the planet.
Hard? Yes. Impossible? No. Worth all the damage we do to ourselves to avoid the responsibility? Absolutely not. I have been posting a series of daily reminders on the BHC Assessment & Consulting Facebook page to outline self-loving steps. You can “like” the Facebook page and follow along here: https://www.facebook.com/drdave0521.
First, you have to realize the work of self-love is a life-long journey. You will never be finished. That’s actually good news! Imagine the longest relationship you will ever have in your life continuing to grow and get better, richer, more meaningful, rather than stagnant and boring. Who doesn’t want that?
Second, you have to commit to the actions that create love: respect, acceptance, patience, value and consideration. These may mostly be mental actions, but they are still actions. You can achieve this by asking yourself, “How can I respect myself today? How can I accept myself today? Etc.”
The longer I live and study the human experience, the more I recognize this work of self-loving can make major headway in solving most of life’s problems. It can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. It can help alleviate the effects of trauma. It can probably even help alleviate the symptoms more severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. At the very least, it can make life more livable.
Love is the greatest gift you can give yourself.