I think loving yourself is one of the hardest things you ever learn to do. On the surface, it's easy to say that some people seem to REALLY love themselves. But, ultimately, I really think that even "those people" don't really, truly love themselves.
Now, let me preface all of this by saying there is a BIG difference between loving yourself and worshipping yourself. Narcissism is completely different from what I am talking about.
These are the 3 faces of LOVE from the original Greek . . .
1. Eros: erotic love. This basically means sex, lust, etc.;
2. Philos: brotherly love. So you and your best friend share a "philos" rooted love; and,
3. Agape: unconditional and all-encompassing love. This is the love that is comparable to perfect love, regardless of what flaws are present.
"Agape" love is the type that individuals are aiming for when they speak of loving themselves. It means knowing you have cellulite but loving who you are anyways. It's knowing it will take 6 years to get that degree because maybe you didn't take school too seriously in the beginning, but knowing your worth doesn't come from finishing in 4 years. It means that, even though you may not be the typical "perfect" person (whatever that means), you still have value and can see past the flaws.
We all know the analysis of our society's standards for perfection. It is plastered on billboards, magazines, television, your favorite novel....these standards on what you're worth are inherited by the society you live in. And, unfortunately, ours is not very redeeming.
I am convinced that we really are the biggest critics in our own lives. I believe that many of us beat ourselves up over the smallest things, and end up focusing on a simple mistake for the majority of our days.
The beauty in all of this is that it is possible to love yourself without narcissism. It is possible to love yourself even though you've made mistakes. It is possible to love yourself even if you gained a few pounds over the holidays. It is possible to love yourself even if your children refuse to listen to you. It is possible to love yourself even though your dog refuses to be house-trained. And it is possible to love yourself even if someone breaks up with you.
What does it mean to love yourself? What would it take to love yourself? And are you living your life in a way that makes that achievable?
Feel free to join the conversation! Comments can be anonymous.
Check back next Friday for Part II