A commenter writes, “Self-love is no simple task.”
It’s true. It is not always easy to love oneself. To be in love with oneself. To hold oneself in loving thoughts and tender mercies.
There was a time when loving myself was the last thing I wanted to do. Challenge is, I didn’t want to face the fact I was actively engaged in avoiding loving myself so I pretended I did love myself, well sort of, almost, some parts.
In my ‘I love myself but….’ I did a lot of things that hurt me. That hurt people I love.
I knew what it meant to love another — well sort of, at least as long as I didn’t have to face the fact I didn’t really love myself.
In my “I love you but not me” pretense, I could pretend everything was okay when actually, I was not living my truth. Not standing true to my beliefs. Yet, in fact, I wasn’t really lying — I didn’t want to admit I didn’t love myself so pretended I did, but because I didn’t, the things I did that hurt me, that put me in situations that were not self-loving or filled with dignity, self-respect, kindness — they were true to my feelings about myself.
Ahh, the webs we weave when we attempt to deceive ourselves about the truth of our human condition.
It is fascinating to me that for many of us, we think about not loving ourselves, but we hesitate to ask the next question. If I am not loving myself, what am I doing?
Am I hating myself? Am I doing things that express my self-loathing? Am I drowning my self-loathing beneath the false pretense of over-confidence? Lack of self-confidence. Humour. Anger. Acting out. Drugs. Alcohol. Am I playing down to my worst instincts to avoid having to acknowledge I am afraid to love myself. Afraid to see this flawed, fragile and frightened being is me — and I’m not loving myself enough to see that what I am doing is hurting me.
Is avoidance of self-love my game?
Long before I fell into the arms of a man who almost killed me with his abuse, I was in therapy. I wanted to understand why I did not love myself.
I knew it was true — that I didn’t love myself. What I didn’t know, what I didn’t see or what no one ever asked me was — Which hurts more? Loving yourself or hating yourself?
Recently, I did an EQ (Emotional Intelligence) In-Action Profile with my brilliant friend Ian Munro at Leading Essentially.
It was very telling and informative for me to see where my automatic default goes when I am under duress/stress.
I am ‘optimally fit’ in my Positive/Negative orientation, and ‘optimally fit’ in my balanced reliance on thoughts, wants and feelings.
In my ‘Self-Other Orientation’, well, according to the results it, ‘Needs a Work-Out’.
It’s all about trust. Boundaries and loving myself enough to set healthy ones.
Dang. Wouldn’t you know it.
In this quadrant the good news is, ‘I don’t let relationship ruptures fester or run on too long. The bad news is, I may find myself taking more responsibility than is actually mine to take.’
Taking excessive responsibility is the Achilles’ heel of those who are more self-oriented, the Profile tells me.
Starving children in Africa?
War in Afghanistan?
It’s either my fault or I can fix it. There is no in-between.
Just kidding. I know that’s not true, but somewhere deep within me is a wish, a desire to fix it. To bring peace to the world – all of it, not just the parts over which I have domain or impact. It is not succumbing to that place where I believe everything is all my fault, that is vital to my well-being. Of not giving into the feeling that if I could just grab a magic wand and sprinkle fairy dust over everyone so they could just ‘get along’ and quit making such a mess of relationships and our world, I will have done my job.
It’s all about boundaries.
About knowing what is mine and what is yours. What I am responsible for and what I’m not and then…
Yup. That self-love thing again — loving myself enough to give myself the grace of setting boundaries that honour me, and trusting others to be responsible for their journey along the way.
As I mentioned to a friend awhile ago, “I am getting so tired of people crossing the boundaries I refuse to set.”
Boundaries are great. But first, you gotta set some!
Here’s to setting healthy, loving and effective boundaries that get me to optimal fitness in my world.
What about you?
Feeling any need to love yourself a little more today? Go for it. There’s nothing to lose, because really, is self-love any more difficult than self-loathing?
For those of you interested in the EQ In-Action Profile, Ian is an amazing coach. Do check out his website. Leading Essentially
Thank you KW for your inspiring comment.
Thank you for calling my comment inspiring & writing a blog post about it.
I talked to a mentor on the weekend who said I drive people nuts when they say something positive about me & I don’t believe it (or seem to in their eyes).
I don’t know if I’m answering rhetorical questions or if anyone cares to know my answers to the questions posed in the post. So I’ll answer somewhat cryptically & chronologically. You know where to find me if you want to discuss further.
Starting with “Am I hating myself?” Right now, yes, very much. Next question – probably & without even realizing it. The next one is complex. Over-confidence? Hahaha. No. Lack? That’s more like it. Humour, et al? Not drugs. I fully acknowledge the fear, I see & feel the pain. My love (& lack thereof) has no game. Which hurts more? Love. Because vulnerability. And the answer to the final question is yes.
I’m just putting it out there because at the moment it’s my truth. I’m getting sick of myself. This year has not started well.
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Kerri, you are wise to see your truth so clearly. I read somewhere that, ‘when the pain of where we’re at grows greater than our fear of where we want to go, we shift.’
Maybe that is the gift in ‘getting sick of myself’.
Does love leave us vulnerable? Absolutely. it also strengthens us, Shores us up. Builds us up. Creates more of what we want.
The challenge with hating ourselves is (at least for me) — it only tears me down creating more of what it is all about and preventing me from feeling the more of what I want — to quit hating myself.
Your honesty and truth are inspiring. As to your mentor’s comment, if you could accept one compliment — without giving into disbelief — what would it be? Begin there.
Somewhere between hate and love is an opportunity to pause and accept where we are.
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Now that feels like a breath of fresh air, of space and grace opening up to reveal love is all around no matter where we are.
Thanks Val! ❤
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Here, here the ability to love ones self isn’t always an easy one, sometimes we need to slow down take a breath and focus on all the good we have and do and stop focusing on the not so good just my thought
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Great thought Joanne — what we put our attention on, takes our attention — when we focus on the not so good, our attention becomes filled with the not so good.
Thanks for chiming in with your oh so good light! ❤
Wasn’t that “The Shift” by Wayne Dyer?
I have not experienced the strengthening, building up, etc. I thought I did once, then got the proverbial carpet yanked out from under me.
I rarely let people get to the vulnerability point because every single time I do, they turn & do an about face – as though it were all some big joke at my expense. Like, oh wait, you actually believed that I cared? HAHahaha. Then some even go on to list flaws. Kind of them.
I don’t actively hate myself. I don’t seek ways to keep it up. I used to when I figured everything else was messed up and the common denominator was yours truly. I don’t actively love myself either. I don’t understand love.
I’ve just decided the best way to address compliments is to say thank you and not elaborate. Or I can return a compliment if appropriate. Disbelief of compliments is a knee-jerk reaction. Right now, I “accept” them by saying thanks, then try not to think about it further. I tell them that it’s kind of them to say. Go on with my day.
(This was supposed to be a reply to your reply to my comment, Louise.)