When you think of loving yourself, I'm sure you think of a small list of things that seem to fit whatever that means to you. After I wrote "Part I" of this, I was thinking about what loving myself meant. I realized that loving yourself is impossible. And I know that sounds hopeless. But there is hope.
I realized that we are all fragile. We all have different definitions of what love actually means. We all have different ways of feeling, giving, and receiving love.
No one has ever experienced perfect love. Every form of love in this world is imperfect. The closest form of love that is available is imperfect. So, when we think of loving ourselves, we are all viewing that question on what love actually means.
My definition of (human) love is feeling safe, understood, and adored. This means that, according to that perspective, very few people have ever shown me that kind of love. I think that we all express it, but that it only happens in special moments. I also believe in a love that means we are attentive and caring towards those we have feelings for. That love is out of a respect for those that matter to us, and in that love we are able to be present to our loved ones.
We are surrounded by distractions. We are surrounded by reasons to not love. So, when loving those we care about in life, it seems there is little room to love ourselves. So how can it be done?
I am learning by listening. In this season of my life, I have practiced listening by being able to repeat what others are saying after they've said it. I am learning to love myself by choosing to focus on positive things as opposed to worrying and/or stressing over things I have no power over. I am learning to love myself in what I spend my time on and how I manage my responsibilities.
How are you learning to love yourself? What do you do that sharpens your behaviors?