This step is absolutely critical. So pay close attention.
Probably the biggest issue that affects our lives today is that we live in a society that has taught us to always look for external approval and validation. We have learnt that our sense of self-worth — our sense of how beautiful, valuable and special we are — must come from outside us, not from inside us. This has created the situation we currently live in: we spend most of our time trying to please other people — trying to get them to like us — and waste a lot of mental energy worrying about their opinions of us. And when they disapprove of us, reject us or criticize us, we feel inferior and punish ourselves in response to their disapproval.
Instead of giving ourselves respect and love, we look to others to give us respect and love. This keeps us at their mercy, and at the mercy of society. It keeps us on a merry-go-round, chasing love all over the place, looking for it everywhere except within ourselves.
This situation leads to an interesting paradox where we are constantly rejecting love at the same time as we are pursuing it. Take a look at the following mental patterns. I’m sure they will look very familiar.
We’ve all been there. “Do they love me? Really? For how long? Won’t they cheat on me? Do I love them? For how long? Won’t I get tired?”
This is the result of trying to derive your sense of self-value from something outside of yourself.
Just to give you some perspective on how absurd this behaviour is, let me give you another example. There are certain symbols, certain objects, that human beings generally regard as inherently beautiful or admirable. For example, gold. Diamonds. The Sun. And the majestic King of the Jungle — the lion. You don’t need anyone to convince you that these objects are beautiful or inspiring. Their beauty and power are obvious to you just by looking at them.
Now, let’s imagine what would happen if they tried to derive their self-worth from you. What would happen if your opinions of them actually determined how they saw themselves?
A diamond doesn’t care what you think. It is a diamond simply because … well, it is a diamond. And a lion doesn’t need your compliments. It knows it is a lion, and it does what a lion does. Your compliments or disapproval are more useful to you than to the lion or the diamond.
(Remember how you complain sometimes, “God! What a hot day!” Imagine what would happen if your complaints about the heat hurt the Sun’s feelings? Life on this planet would probably come to an abrupt end. It’s a good thing the Sun doesn’t care what you think, eh?)
Can you see now? Don’t wait for people to tell you who you are. Like the Lion, and the diamond, and the Sun, decide who you are and show it to the world.
Love yourself: it is the most useful, most conscientious, most wonderful thing you can do for the world.
It doesn’t matter what you are doing, love yourself. Even if you kill people for a living, love yourself. Even if you have made the world’s stupidest mistake, love yourself. Even if everybody around you hates you, love yourself.
When you wake up in the morning, the ﬁrst thing you should do is love yourself.
Love yourself until you can look in the mirror and smile at the person you see there.
I cannot put it more simply than this. I can (and will) give lots of reasons and rationalizations, but that is all just to fill up space.
Try this and see for yourself. It ﬁxes everything.
Why Should I Love Myself?
Because you are all you have. My guardian, the ancient and wise Archangel Uriel, explained it to me this way:
Look, everything will come and go. People, property, jobs, feelings, relationships will all come and go. But you will always be here.
Since you will always be here, if you are at war with yourself, you have an eternity of war ahead of you. However, if you can develop the habit of loving yourself, if you can develop the habit of always being happy with yourself no matter what you are facing or experiencing, your happiness and confidence is always guaranteed, at least in some small measure.
You will always have love because you will always be there to give it to yourself.
Think about this: when people insult you or say nasty things about you, why do you get angry? It’s because their words convince you that you are what they say you are. Their words create or confirm a poor impression you already have of yourself. If this was not so, insults would have no effect on you. You would simply regard the person insulting you as mad or mentally disturbed, and you would feel sorry for them.
Besides this, most of the things that you do are attempts to make people and society love you more, because you have been conditioned to believe that you can only receive love from outside you. You do things you hate to make money you don’t need to buy things you don’t want to make people you don’t care about love you.
This means that if you can learn to love yourself — if you can supply yourself all the love and approval you are looking for — many of the things you are wasting energy pursuing will quickly become irrelevant. You may still buy nice cars, clothes and property, but you will buy them to reward and appreciate yourself, not because you care what people think about you. You will find a new freedom to do what you really want to do because you don’t waste time trying to please other people and bothering about their opinions. All these things will add up and further increase your happiness and self-esteem.
Loving yourself will not make you treat others badly. On the contrary, you will become even more tolerant and loving to others.
Because you are happy and appreciate yourself, the opinions of others will matter far less to you. As a result, you will find it easy to ignore their insults and bad behaviour. You will become a model of tolerance and kindness, and people will wonder why, study you and try to learn your secret.
As if that isn’t enough, your happiness and self-esteem will give you inner beauty. You will radiate calm and contentment, and people will fall over themselves to be close to you, befriend you and help you. You will become a celebrity just by loving yourself.
Give yourself the love you are looking for.
For more perspective on how society conditions you to accept an externally-imposed self-image, try reading this book: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I hope it will shine a light for you, because it was certainly a real eye-opener for me.[sc name=”post-disclaimer”]