“Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we’re nothing?”
“We accept the love we believe we deserve”
“Can we make them see they deserve more?”
“We can try.”
Extract from The Perks of Being a Wallflower
I watched this movie on the weekend and was moved by it…for lots of reasons that I will share in the coming months, but mostly because of this underlying theme of the importance of self love and also the concept that the only person you can change is yourself.
Critical to happiness in life is understanding these two things – but more than understanding, it is living them.
If you don’t love yourself first, how can you expect anyone else to love you? Equally, if you don’t love yourself the decisions you make in life are always going to bring you down, because underlying your decision making is self loathing and hate.
We may not do it consciously or deliberately, but we still do it.
We choose people who treat us like shit.
We put food in our mouth that makes us feel like shit.
We create situations in our lives that keep us in the shit.
There are lots of theories around why and how human beings end up self loathing – does it start in-utero, is it environmental, are we hardwired that way? I am not sure.
What I do know, from years of personal observation and reflection, is that the more you love YOURSELF the more you can make happen.
On the days when I look in the mirror and tell myself I love me…and believe it, those are the days I want every day!
When you love yourself your decisions for your own life reflect that.
You stop participating in life and start activating it.
You stop living as a victim and start fighting like you want it.
You start caring for your body and your mind.
You feel alive and your energy reflects that.
Think about all the love you give to everyone else every day and how GOOD you make them feel; with your acts of kindness, your gestures, your little looks, your hugs and your words.
Now imagine…how it might feel if you did that, if you took those actions, words and hugs and turned them on yourself. How DIFFERENT do you feel now?
Our problem is that we look to others to validate and love us. We look to others to give us what we need – perhaps its an overhang from the whole mother/child connection, you know, total dependence up to a certain age…I don’t know. Whatever it is we MUST STOP IT.
We must start looking to ourselves for gratification, love and self fulfillment.
The most impressive thing about self love and embracing it (rather than being embarrassed by that whole ridiculous ‘up yourself’ mentality that kids create in the playground) is that it helps you be more open to the love that is around us.
I remember a particular moment when this was completely obvious to me – possibly for the first time in my life.
I was in my early 20s and my family had dragged me (really, I mean, dragged, I did not want to go) to ‘the mountain’ which was a full on personal development week that they had all completed and I was the last….I was fearful, there are no two ways about it. The unknown, the change I was resisting, the WHAT IF? Actually, I also thought they had joined a cult…but that is another story!
After what can be described as a revolutionary life changing epiphany filled roller coaster few days I emerged, the butterfly from the mountain.
One of the most confronting exercises I had done (surprisingly as there were some pretty full on experiences) and was most excited to share, was looking deeply into people’s eyes and holding the gaze – I was surprised how confronted I was by that and how liberated I was when I achieved it.
After my emergence I was greeted by my beautiful partner (now my husband) and to my surprise, when I gazed deeply, he was looking right back at me…as if to say, I have been waiting for you to really look at me.
MORE importantly – I have been waiting for you to love yourself enough that you could see how much I love you.
Much like the quote at the beginning of the blog – my husband couldn’t make me choose differently. He couldn’t make me love myself or make me find better; he could only try to show me a new way.
It wasn’t until I saw it for myself that I believed.
If we love ourselves, the love and abundance around us becomes obvious.
It’s there – we just can’t see it because we trap ourselves in such a shitty place. We lock ourselves in a box of hate and self detestation which inhibits us from seeing the beauty in life and from embracing everything on offer.
It’s something you have to work at, every day.
Since that moment of enlightenment for me I have swung from self love to self loathe and everywhere in between. I try to make a conscious effort every day to love myself and some days are easier than others.
But it’s worth the effort.
For the reward of self love – is love from everywhere else.
And from love comes abundance.
And from abundance – pure joy and the true happiness of life.