Do you love yourself? If you do, you don’t have to be embarrassed to say so. It’s not selfish as most of us have been taught. In fact, it’s critical to your happiness. It also determines the quality of your relationships, especially with your partner.
Here’s the simple truth: the more you love yourself, the better you treat yourself, the better you treat those around you, and the better you will be treated. In a nutshell, it feels good and results in a happier life. Come on everyone, put your hand over your heart and say out loud, “I love you (insert your name here).” Do it regularly especially when you find yourself being critical and judgmental of you, and watch what happens. I guarantee those judgments will lose some of their punch. And as far as your partnership goes, where there is little self-love, criticism, blame, arguments, underlying anger and distance abound.
So how much do you love yourself? Here are some questions for you to ponder that will give you a clue.
1) Is your self talk mostly negative? Does your head rumble with criticism and blame when you make a mistake, say something off-putting, do something embarrassing or shameful, slack-off when you think you should be working? How long do you hold onto that negativity?–hours, days, weeks, months? Or do you forgive your mistakes, take them as learning experiences and move forward from there?
2) When your partner criticizes you, do you automatically take it in and go down the dark path of self-loathing? Or do you reflect upon the feedback with an open mind, learn from it if it fits, discard it if it doesn’t, treating yourself kindly all the while?
3) Do you care for yourself…do something small (or big) everyday that nourishes you? Or are you just too busy to indulge yourself in this kind of loving treatment?
4) Are you governed by what others need and want from you, to the exclusion of your own needs and wants? Or do you say “no” when you don’t have time, or don’t really want to do what they’re asking of you?
5) Do you praise yourself when you do something well? Or focus on what you didn’t do, or could have done better.
These are just a few examples that will help you determine where you are on the self-love scale. If you find that you’re on the low end, for heaven’s sake, don’t do your usual thing and beat yourself up for it. Instead of shaming or blaming yourself, praise yourself for your new awareness, which is after all, the first step towards change.
How do we best grow anyway? From abusive, harsh treatment? Or through love and encouragement? For me, and I’ll bet for you too, it’s when I treat myself with understanding, forgiveness and compassion. How about it? Are you ready to tip the scale in your favor?
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships. You can buy it on Kindle worldwide from all Amazon websites, including www.amazon.com