Don’t ever criticize yourself. Don’t go around all day long thinking, ‘I’m unattractive, I’m slow, I’m not as smart as my brother.’ God wasn’t having a bad day when he made you… If you don’t love yourself in the right way, you can’t love your neighbour. You can’t be as good as you are supposed to be.
It is human that we all naturally have self-doubts. We are occasionally reminded of our imperfections and we feel so insecure about it. Everyone no matter how confident and famous they may seem on the outside feels much so, deep within him. In fact Ram Dass, a renowned guru who is also a Harvard trained psychologist once confessed that, despite all his training, therapy and spiritual practice, he never got himself rid of the feeling that he still has some flaws and imperfections. The fact that he is much loved never made him feel perfect, even after writing many motivational books and teaching people all over the world.
Everyone has flaws, no one is perfect – that’s true. We are often consoled by this fact, but what other options do we have than learning to love ourselves? You must always remember that you are the person that you will be spending the rest of your life with. Moreover, if you don’t love yourself, then how is anyone ever going to be able to love you?
Suffice to say that hating or blaming yourself for every single mistake you have made will rather diminish your self-esteem making you further lose confidence in yourself. Working so hard to overcome these flaws isn’t going to solve a thing either. Instead, why not find some good in you, in spite of your flaws and work to be perfect at it. We must learn to love ourselves, believe in ourselves and understand that we can ride above our imperfections and be conquerors.
Why people may find it hard to love themselves
1. It could be related to parenting or upbringing. They have been told from childhood countless times how worthless they are and now they have come to accept and believe those words.
2. Some feel they don’t deserve to love themselves because of the many wrongs they have done in the past.
3. To others, it’s just a personality thing – shyness and the shame of making mistakes. They are not only scared of what others will think of them but also scared of disappointing themselves.
4. Bad experiences like failure and trauma associated with physical, psychological or sexual abuse.
5. The type of environment we were brought up in. Environment of hate, conflict and hostility.
6. Wrong advice from parents, guardians or perceived mentors.
7. Other circumstances beyond our control – You tend to love yourself more when you achieve success and hate yourself when you fail.
What happens when you don’t love yourself
1. You will be insecure
Emotional security is the measure of the stability of an individual’s emotional state. A person who perceives himself to be vulnerable or inferior in some way compared to others is emotionally insecure. This feeling may arise from self-inflicted hate. Not loving who you are makes you feel insecure – in your relationship and also in other aspects of your life. As earlier said, no one is born with a gene of self-hatred. Environment and life experiences is what gradually instils this trait in us.
2. You’ll have a tough time trusting your lover
Trust is the cornerstone of every relationship. Where there is trust, there is relationship security – and there can be no trust when there is no love. But when you don’t love yourself that much, you cannot trust yourself. And if you don’t trust yourself, how then will you be able to trust your partner. In a nutshell, when you don’t love and trust even yourself, you’ll have a hell of a tough time experiencing a healthy relationship.
3. You’ll be living in fear of the unknown In your relationship
Self-hate breeds relationship insecurity – fear. Fear of what will happen next. You hardly trust yourself or your decisions and by inference you trust no one else- not even your significant other. There is always a feeling of uncertainty in your relationship. You are just afraid, but what you are afraid of, you cannot tell. This is because you have not yet come to discover the good things in you, accept both the good and the ‘imperfections’ and learn to love every bit of yourself.
4. Too much reliance on your partner to feel loved
A popular saying goes “find yourself, then you can find love”. Self-love is the key to finding true love. Many a time, the love we travel miles at length seeking is right within us – but we are hardly aware. There is nothing wrong with depending on your partner to fulfill your emotional needs. The point is, there is a certain degree of that dependency which is healthy and acceptable. It has to be balanced on a 50/50 split. You should be able to give as much as you are expecting else the relationship becomes parasitic and toxic. How then can you love someone else as much as they love you if you don’t even love yourself?
5. You’ll become possessive of your partner
Most times when we come across the term “possessiveness” as applied to romantic relationships, we picture a “self-absorbed or narcissist personality” who loves himself so much and wants to be the centre of every attention. But such people never pose any serious danger, compared to the one who has a self-hate attitude.
Self-absorbed people love themselves, so are very likely to love their partners – at least to a certain extent. Not loving yourself makes you feel insecure. Your insecurities are so bearing on you that it very often makes you paranoid – that your partner may leave you. This is what triggers (as a form of defence) the possessive or controlling attitude.
Remember this : No one is looking at your imperfections, they are too busy worrying about their own.
Stop hating on yourself for not being perfect, if God wanted you perfect, you would have been made an Angel.
Ways to Learning how to love one’s self
Below are some ways that will help you to discover, connect with yourself and learn to love yourself.
1. Take out time to meditate daily.
2. Cut off from people who make you feel less confident about yourself.
3. Work on your imperfections.
4. Understand that it is human to make mistakes and everyone else does same.
5. Do what you are good at doing. Try to balance your passions with your talents
6. Don’t try to change to impress people, just be who you are.
7. Go out more and exercise routinely. This helps clear your mind and makes you better focused.
8. Focus less on other people’s approvals. If you are convinced about an idea, go ahead with it.
9. Remind yourself of your successes everyday. Think about the moments you tried something out and it worked.
10. Focus on your story, understand that it is distinctive- non-similar to any other and only you can tell it.