Do you have a picture perfect life that looks good on paper?
A good house, great job, nice partner and still feel empty inside.
Do you feel there is an inner void, an empty space, a longing in your heart that is not satisfied, no matter what you do or get in life?
If you answered yes to these questions, then you have been trying to get happiness by changing your external circumstances: the partner, the house, the job, your external appearance without getting in touch with your true self.
Your core, your real self, the infinite, pure and eternal being that you are.
Once you get in touch with this dimension of you, you cannot help but stand in awe of who you are and love yourself unapologetically.
I am not talking about self-love in narcissistic ways but I am referring to healthy self-love without which no matter what you get or do in life, you will feel incomplete.
There is a difference between feeling good about ourselves all the time outwardly (even at the expense of others), which is Narcissism and knowing we are lovable and valuable, which is healthy self-love.
When we know we are valuable, we have a solid and secure sense of self and are comfortable in our own skin.
We do not go running seeking external validation and our interactions are not based on what we can extract from others or how we get our Narcissistic fix.
When we love ourselves and know we are valuable, we are happy and peaceful inside and we move through life with a wide open heart, sharing our love abundantly with whoever comes in contact with us.
Our life becomes an expression of our inner peace and happiness instead of a frantic pursuit of happiness from external events and running after our next fix to fill our perceived inner void.
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
Buddhism, Hinduism, Greek mythology and all spiritual philosophies, point to loving ourselves, not in Narcissistic ways but in the form of healthy self-love which means honoring the essence of which we really are.
While we all know how important self-love is to lead happy lives, why do so many people struggle with self-love?
I am sharing with you top three misguided approaches that stop people from loving themselves.
There approaches are flawed because even if they may seem like self-love on the surface but if you dig deeper, you will see that they are only a way to seek love and validation from outside instead of going to the source of love, which is inside:
1) Spending money on things to feel more deserving
Loving yourself doesn’t necessarily mean going for expensive spas or massages or expensive dinners.
It does not mean buying expensive clothes or gadgets to make you feel more deserving.
People engage in getting things as momentary fixes to make them feel better about themselves and their lives but internally they feel unlovable and unworthy.
“Your problem is you’re … too busy holding onto your unworthiness.”- Ram Dass
These fixes don’t work because they are momentary and they cannot fill the internal void that you feel due to not knowing and loving who you are at the core.
Loving yourself means accepting and embracing yourself in entirety, the good, the bad and the ugly.
It means acknowledging that you are human and even if you have flaws or imperfections, you are still valuable and lovable due to your essence that is divine.
2) Doing things for others so that they think you’re a good person
Do you do things for people and say yes even when you don’t have the time or inclination to do those things only because you don’t want to disappoint people?
This typical people pleasing behavior comes as a result of a lack of self-worth. You think that if you do enough things for people they will love you. But no matter what you do for them or how many times they say I love you to you, you will not feel loved because you are not being authentic to yourself.
Self-love means taking care of yourself and then extending love and support to your partner. You cannot fill from an empty cup. If you do not take care of your needs and keep on doing things for others, sooner or later you will feel resentment or bitterness.
If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself. – Barbara De Angelis