Evidence of Self Love

What does it mean to love yourself?

This blog began as a quest to learn to love myself.  I’ve been searching for what exactly that means over the past few days.  I’ve asked a few friends and family members what they think that means and I really haven’t gotten a clear answer.  Perhaps that means that I’m on a quest in search of something that I cannot define.  This seems promising 😦

As I’ve reflected, I first had to recognize that a core belief that I’ve diligently lived out has been wrong.  My father was a “shirt of his back” kind of guy.  He instilled in his children a strong work ethic, love of God, and faith beyond measure.  However, he also raised us to produce.  While his love for me was never questioned, I can now see that part of my value as his child was closely aligned to what I could produce.  This pig farm girl learned to work!  Everyday I produce … for others.

This level of work ethic is not limited to my career.  It encompasses every aspect of my life.  I give selflessly to others to the point of self denial.  I forego health insurance (and a need surgeries) so that my son can attend private school.  I worked insane hours while my ex stayed home with our child.  I create elaborate gifts for my family and friends.  I spend hours and hours helping those that I work with … well past 5 pm.  I do this so that these people will love me.  I once became a wedding planner so that a former student of mine could have a fabulous wedding on a $500 budget.  I made flowers, prepared food, and conned family members into service.  The wedding was beautiful and several people commented that the venue had never looked so nice.  I did this so that she would love me.

A couple of weeks ago I drove from Texas to New Jersey and back so that my best friend could avoid getting on a plane for her grandfather’s funeral.  She has fear of flying and of leaving her 3 year old in the care of just about anyone.  So, without hesitation, I got in my car and went.  I missed valuable work time and time with my son to do this.  I did this so that she would love me.

Keep in mind that none of these people have ever indicated that they would love me any less had I not done these things.  I made that decision all by myself.  And this is the reason that I am not ready for a romantic relationship.  If I were to engage in one, such as I did with “him,” I would lose myself again.  I would do anything to make him love me.

In an effort to change this cycle, I have begun to try to discover what it means to love myself.  I began with trying to think of evidence that I do love myself.  I could only come up with one thing:  I left my husband because I loved myself enough to stop the damage.  Of course I told everyone that it was because I saw my son learning terrible lessons that he’d be doomed to repeat.  But the truth is that I had reached a limit.  I loved myself enough to get out while there was still some shred of me left.

I was encouraged by this discovery.  If I could love myself once, then I could do it again.  I began to think of other ways that I could begin to show that I love myself.  At first I thought of buying myself things that I’d always wanted, but would never allow myself to enjoy.  Boots!  And I did go buy one pair on sale!  However, I learned long ago that things won’t make you happy.  I believe that people are what they do and not what they say.  So what are the behaviors that would show that I love myself?  How does someone who loves themselves behave?  Here’s what I have come up with so far:

  • If I love myself, then my physical needs are important.  I need to see the dentist and get this cavity filled.  I need to call my doctor and discuss a possible change in medication rather than just dealing with the side effects.  I need to sleep 8 hours a night.  I need to work towards getting health insurance so that the more expensive medical needs can be taken care of.  I need to exercise and eat healthy so that I will feel better.  My physical well-being is important.
  • If I love myself, then my emotional needs are important.  I need to rethink my relationships with friends and family.  I need to limit my time with people who are negative and draining.  I need to maximize my time with people who bring me joy.  I need to let some people go because in the long run, the ones who really love me already do, no matter what I can do for them.  My emotional well being is important.
  • If I love myself, then my financial needs are important.  I need to make an a plan to get debt free and begin saving for a home.  I need to make sure that my son will be provided for if something were to happen to me.  I need a living space that fits by budget and my needs.  My financial security is important.

I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions, but I guess this list would suffice as such.  I’m making a commitment to begin behaving in ways that reflect self love.  I better get in bed if I’m going to get those 8 hours in tonight!

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4 thoughts on “Evidence of Self Love

  1. My girlfriends and took a step this very path by never talking ugly about ourselves. There are plenty of people who will do that for us. We need to be accepting of ourselves. Keep in mind we don’t let each other do stupid thinks like get a bad haircut or wear ugly shoes. 🙂 A good girlfriend or three can help you see the value in yourself.

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