Self-love. What is it exactly? Why is it necessary? If we're to love others, why should our focus be on loving ourselves? And isn't that a bit vain and conceited? Oh, there's so much that we can discuss. And we're going to! Because I realize that it's vital for us as women, especially single women.
Self-love is "love of self" or "regard for one's own happiness or advantage." It's not to be confused with self-centeredness, conceitedness, or being egotistical. It's a healthy dose of love that one has for self. When you love yourself, you make better decisions every day. You put more thought into your appearance, what you feed your body, what you spend money on, who you allow in your space, how you connect with God, your attitude, etc. Self-love is evident in all areas of your life.
So why is it important? I always think about the religious leaders asking Jesus what the greatest commandment was. They were trying to trip Him up in some way. And His response was that they should love the Lord, their God, with all their heart, soul, and mind. But equally as important would be to love their neighbor as they love themselves. Seems easy enough. But many struggle with this because of the second half to that last clause: as they love themselves. Many of us struggle with showing love because we have none for ourselves. We have a hard time receiving love because we have none for ourselves. There are women that only want a relationship just for the sake of someone loving them back. It's no different than a female wanting a baby just to have someone provide them with love. Lacking self-love is dangerous. Because without it, we seek love in all the wrong places. We accept the love that other's force upon us. Enter in narcissists, abusers, cheaters, liars, etc. But aside from the love we receive, go back to the first thing: showing love. It's hard to show it when we have none.
As single women, we desire companionship. One of a woman's most basic needs is connection. She needs to feel connected to others in some way. Even though the desire is there, we don't always treat our relationships with others kindly because we don't know how to love. This is ludicrous as a single woman because we're praying for a spouse, yet we don't even know how to love him properly. Can you truly love a man, as in being patient and kind? Supporting him? Being his peace? Being selfless and choosing to stick by him? Catering to him and going the extra mile isn't always love. Often times these things are done simply because we want to prove ourselves. Our hope is that if we're good enough he won't leave. Like the others. We want to show that we're worth having someone stick around. Low self-esteem has us begging for attention and security. We think we're showing love when truly, we're hoping we don't get left.
A recent study showed that most men said women that were insecure and/or had low self-esteem had the best sex. Think of how there are a large group of women that have NO self-worth and will do any and everything to keep a man. They do what they must in order to prove themselves. They're willing to do whatever he desires in hopes of pleasing him and keeping him. All because they want to be chosen. They want a man to stick around, for once. They to experience a man choosing them for once. For this reason it's best to stay away from sex, marriage, and relationships until you've experienced God's love and self-love. I could go on about sex in general, but I'll leave that alone. Just know that It's time to work on yourself. Get whole and find peace within. Love and value yourself. No need breaking your back like you're in the Olympics because you STILL won't get the medal. Men can smell desperation. They know when you have low self-esteem. Even when you can't tell, they can.
When women come to me and mention that they're tired of being single, I always ask, "why?" I get a blank stare, but I continue probing. I need to know what lies underneath the frustration with loneliness. Why does being single bother women so greatly? And as I peel back layers, and as the tears start to shed, it's finally revealed that love is at the bottom of it all. And from there, we can work together and build our way up to truly loving and embracing one's self. If you need someone to help you with this, I'm your girl. Learn more about individual sessions on my coaching site here. But for now, let's look at ways to begin loving yourself.
A few steps to take on this journey. First of all, list all your qualities. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Think of all your personality traits and list them. Typically this causes one to be more aware of the good and to focus on them. They'll also cringe when they evaluate the negatives and work harder at eliminating them. Now, be kind to yourself. You're doing the best you can at this point. Others may not think so, but we don't care about them. You're doing the best you know how, all things considered. Doesn't mean you can't do better. But for now, this is where you are. Be kind! And don't hesitate to reward yourself, either. Pat yourself on the back. Treat yourself. You deserve a prize every so often.
Self-care. Don't neglect the self-care. We get so focused on everyone else around us that we forget all about ourselves. There are kids, pets, friends, deadlines at work, church commitments, and so much more. We cancel ourselves out completely, almost feeling guilty for wanting to do something nice. Take care of you. No one else will! Hey, relax! The world wasn't built in a day. You can't change anything over night, so be easy. Remember, to be kind!
Don't hesitate to create some boundaries, either. Boundaries and protecting your peace are vital. Don't let anyone get off with disrespecting you, forcing you to do something you don't want, etc. Think of what you don't like others to do, and make others enforce that boundary. With this, protect your peace. Rid yourself of people, places, and things that disrupt your peaceful way of living. We give others too much power and we really need to stop it.
Forgiving others is important. But when's the last time you forgave yourself? It's time to rid the ashes! You're no longer her. You've made mistakes. You've let people down. You've let yourself down. But you can't change any of it. Forgive yourself and step into the new! Slowly, you'll begin to live and not just exist. I need you to thrive and not just survive. Enough of the mediocre living.
One last thing I'd recommend: challenge the negativity. Where do the negative thoughts and behaviors come from? They didn't just land in your lap. Identify where they came from and then return to sender.
If you're up for the soul work, then do the self-love workshop here. You'll get a free copy of my ebook Journey of Love where I talk about love vs lust, self-love, God's love, love languages, kinds of love, and so much more! You've got this sis, I'm praying for you!