Wednesday, 8 May 2013

love yourself dearly

My mum always told me when I was growing up that you can't love anyone properly unless you can first love yourself. I've heard people disagree with that a whole lot, citing that they have many issues with themselves but still find themselves capable of loving their partner. But isn't that sad? Isn't that kind of the wrong way around? I happen to think so.

I've noticed a pattern which runs through my life and the lives of others. It's a pattern which pretty much emphatically proves that when people start to love themselves more, their ability to have loving, nurturing connections increases. When someone hates on themselves, finds themselves desperately insecure about their abilities or their looks, they don't tend to be able to have enriching connections - connections which are balanced and harmonious. When your perception of yourself is all screwed up, you can't imagine that anyone sees your true worth or marvels at your abilities. When you've convinced yourself that no one would possibly want to be with you, you are suspicious of those who say that they do. 

I've come across one or two major moments of hypocrisy in my life. I've caught myself telling a partner or friend that they're wonderful just as they are, that they don't need to be thinner, smarter, funnier.. I've heard the words come out of my mouth and realised that I couldn't say those things to myself, yet I was expecting others to believe them. You've probably been there too, offering out the loving advice and support to others whilst secretly feasting on self-loathing. The problem with this kind of double standard is that it just doesn't offer true nutrients for either party. You end up feeling like a fake and they probably don't feel the warmth of your sincerity. Put it this way. If you have a friend who's always unhappy with her body and you're trying to help her to re-evaluate, it's better for your friend to see you being happy, healthy and loving yourself than to see you starving yourself or cursing at your reflection whilst trying to help her stop doing those things! Too many people are trying to sling someone a rope before they themselves are actually in a boat. I see it happen all too often.

If you want to be the best friend or partner you can be, start unravelling the riddle of your own self-love. Since I started picking myself up, dusting myself off and praising myself for what I can do, I've become a more inspiring and nurturing friend. I lead by example, and that's better than all the lip service in this world.