Self-Love Building Tips (For Kind People Only)
If you are a good person that struggles with self-love, you're in luck. You have a fast track to self-love
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I run a Facebook group, "Life Is Love School," and many of our posts are on self-love. Questions like "How come I don't love myself enough?" and "How do I love myself more?" are popular discussions.
I focused a lot of my own healing on self-love too. After a painful divorce, it became clear that I allowed myself to be robbed financially and emotionally by my ex because I didn't honor and love myself enough.
If my core belief is that my value is what I can provide for others, then free riders would be more than happy to use my service. I wrote about this in "What happened in childhood, does not stay in childhood."
The hard truth is, we teach other people how to love us by how we love ourselves. Until we own up to fixing the kinks in our self-love armor, abusers and users would be more than happy to leverage our weakness, stick a knife in us, and twist.
"You can't change the outside without changing the inside." ― Yong Kang Chan
We can complain about being the victim of this and that, but unless we're a small child, we always have a choice. We can heal ourselves, learn to love ourselves, and set boundaries to protect ourselves. We don't have to go from one bad relationship to another.
This Happened To Me At Work
A while ago, I had a work situation where my manager, let's call him Ronny, dropped a large project on my lap out of the blue. Ronny got frustrated and overwhelmed by some of the folks that he had to deal with on the project. In a huff over a conference call, he told his workgroup, "I'm out, you have Yumay."
Usually, I'd be happy to take on projects for Ronny. I am an internally driven person, and I like to help.
However, at that particular point in time, I was managing three teams and running a large project for Ronny already, and I was stretched razor-thin.
I had never said no to Ronny before, but this time, I couldn't say yes without my health suffering.
I went to Ronny, told him that my plate is full, and suggested that a colleague take over the project.
"You know," Ronny said, "I was going to promote you, but if you can't scale, I don't think I can."
I walked away from the office, devastated. I've gotten stellar performance reviews years in a row. The promotion seemed like a sure thing, until this moment.
Did I burn my chances of a promotion because of this one time I said no? I kicked myself for pushing back on Ronny.
I wish that on the spot, I recognized Ronny for who he is, a bully using positional power to manipulate me. But I didn't see it. I went into self-recrimination mode instead.
Luckily, I have a wise husband who is also a people leader, and he asked me a question that shook me out of the funk.
"What would you say if one of your reports came to you with the same problem?" he asked.
"I would understand what’s going on, help them prioritize projects, and either drop, postpone or transfer some to another person," I said.
"Exactly!" exclaimed my husband. "That's what a reasonable manager would do."
He also helped me see the irony of Ronny dropping the project on me because Ronny couldn't handle it, yet expecting that I can (Ronny's several levels higher than me in seniority, and paid handsomely for it).
What a wake-up call.
I realized that, for those of us that are kind, thoughtful people that strive to act with integrity, we have a short cut to loving ourselves. All we have to do is treat ourselves the same way we treat others.
Just apply the golden rule to ourselves.
"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection." ― maybe from Buddha, maybe not
Make It Real For You
Given this, if we're ever confused about what is the self-loving thing to do, we can ask ourselves these questions:
What would I tell my best friend if she or he is in my shoes?
How would someone I love and respect advise me?
What would <Insert the name of a person I trust and respect> do in this situation?
Miscreants of this world don't have access to this shortcut - They have no understanding of how to love anyone, including themselves.
I used to pray that justice be served to those that used and abused me, but I have seen enough to realize that abusers punish themselves. People that harm others live in a constant state of shame, self-hatred, and self-recrimination. Bad actors often suffer physical ailments as a result of negative feelings towards the self.
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That's the message he is sending.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
For good people, doing the right thing for the right reason is its own reward. This life is fleeting, and we can't bring anything with us. Why not do our bit and make it a better place?
From a purely selfish point of view, life is more pleasant when we like the person we see in the mirror. We might be able to fake it to the rest of the world, but we can never fool ourselves. We know who we are.
"You need not look about for the reward of a just deed; a just deed in itself offers a still greater return." - L. A. Seneca
So viva good people. Love and respect yourself. You deserve it.
Maybe heaven and hell exist on earth, after all.
PS For more discussions, join us on Facebook at “Life Is Love School.”