If you were to ask most people, they would agree that we should all love ourselves. And yet, not only do most people not love themselves in healthy ways, but most don’t even know what positive self love really is.
Most people have a negative and self critical inner dialogue that repeats consistently in their lives. In fact, many would be appalled at the way they speak to and about themselves if they could hear it from outside of their mind.
And although people understand that they “should” love themselves, many feel guilty about taking the time to nurture themselves and to take care of their own needs. This is partly because society tells us that we should serve others, and that taking care of ourselves is selfish.
Healthy nurturing is not selfish! In fact, you ultimately can’t give to others if you are so depleted that you have nothing less to give! So loving yourself unconditionally, and taking care of you can be the greatest give you can give to others. This is because it allows you to be your best for those around you…as well as for yourself!
So what does it mean to truly love yourself? How do we define that and practice self love in a way that isn’t narcissistic or detrimental to others?
The silent film star Charlie Chaplin wrote this amazing poem that helps to define self love….
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!
What can you do in your life to practice more self love today? What negative thoughts or emotions are no longer serving you because they are keeping you from loving yourself?