The Power of (Self) Love
Irrespective of what emotional or mental health challenges someone faces, many would consider the antidote to be more self-love. We can spend so much time focused on our problems, and trying to understand the reason we feel depressed, that we can’t focus on anything else.
Think of this metaphor, if you’re running a marathon, when you’re tired and feeling low in energy the first thing you naturally tend to do is look down at the ground - but every good coach will tell you to keep your head up and look up, as this way you’ll feel better. The point being that if we spend all our time focusing on the problem we aren’t able to focus on the solution.
There’s an idea that energy flows where attention goes and if you’re putting all your focus into the problem, it’s just going to create more of the problem… which is where shifting your focus toward self-acceptance, self-love and building your self-worth comes in.
In today’s society, we expend a lot of energy looking to external solutions to fix internal challenges - as an example, we hit the high street with our credit card for some retail therapy to compensate and distract us from some of the feelings we feel inside.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with focusing on external solutions - as an example, if you were to go and have a glamour photography shoot at White Chocolate Photography this could really lift the way you feel about yourself. Often times, we have a negative self-image and an objective tangible artifact such as an incredible photo of you looking beautiful provides reassurance that you are attractive on the outside; which can be important at times of self-doubt.
In addition to external things, we often look to another person to fill us up via an intimate relationship… yet, in doing so, we often miss the point that as John Gray (author of Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus) puts it - we first need to fill ourselves up with self love, rather than clambering onto each other like two thirsty people in the desert trying to squeeze love out of each other. This is a recipe for codependency and unfulfilling relationships where love is offered and received almost on a transactional basis.
When we lack self-love, we can end up chasing people that don’t value us, in an almost addictive need to get filled up with their love, like a car running on fumes, desperate to have gas put in the tank.
This chronic state of neediness comes from a place of low self-worth and low self-esteem where we are not able to value ourselves enough to feel comfortable in our own skin; meaning we look to others in order to prop us up.
The truth is that nobody can truly love another until they first love themselves.
Self love could be rephrased as self-acceptance; because when you accept yourself as you are right now, and love yourself just for being you - despite your flaws, despite your failures, and despite your past poor decisions… that’s when life truly begins to open up.
Louise Hay, one of the world’s leading experts in the area of self-love states:
“Love is a deep appreciation. When I talk about loving ourselves, I mean having a deep appreciation for who we are. We accept all the different parts of ourselves — our little peculiarities, the embarrassments, the things we may not do so well, and all the wonderful qualities, too.”
*This is a collaborative post*