How many times have you heard it said that you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself? I bet many of us could say we’ve heard it a dozen times. Some of us couldn’t count the number of times we’ve said it to someone else. After all, it’s good advice, right? It makes sense. You can’t give something that you, yourself, don’t have to give. Yet, time and time again, we set out hoping to fall in love with someone…anyone…except ourselves, and we often come up short.
The fact is, people are attracted to people who love themselves. I don’t mean people who are arrogant or conceited. I would actually contend that those people are really struggling to love themselves, but that’s a topic for another blog post. I’m talking about people who wake up every day, look in the mirror and say, “You! Yeah you, in the mirror. I like you. I like you a lot. In fact, I love you!” People who love themselves are happy. They smile. They embrace life and all that comes with it and they have a confidence that puts the people around them at ease. They take the love that they have and they share it with the world. I guarantee that it’s the thing that makes them great potential for romantic relationships. Love attracts love!!
So why do we not take our own advice? Why doesn’t this make-sense guidance apply to us - our circumstances? Why are we different from the people we caution? Here’s what my experience has led me to believe.
The world around us directs our thoughts
The world can sometimes feel like a mean place, filled with unwarranted and unnecessary judgments and criticisms. Has anyone ever said to you, “You’re not perfect” “You’re not beautiful” “You’re not good enough” “You’re not… (Fill in the blank)? These words often cut deep. They stay with us like evidence from a crime scene. They impact, shape, and influence the way we see ourselves. We start to believe it. We begin to question our worth.
It’s not just negativity that has an effect. How many times has someone told you “You are beautiful” “You are perfect” “You are the best”? At first we think this validation is helpful. It makes us feel good. It makes us feel special, important, approved. It’s love. It makes us feel happy. But take a moment – does it? What happens when that approval/ validation is no longer there – when you can no longer rely on it to make you feel happy? Because when they decide you are no longer worthy – you will too. The impact is the same. Whether someone is cursing you or praising you, it can negatively influence the way you perceive and love yourself. The idea is to be free of the possibility that anyone’s opinion of you can manipulate how you see you. It all comes down to this one simple word – FEAR.
Fear of not being accepted drives so much of our behavior and ultimately affects how we see ourselves. We are afraid that if we are true to ourselves that we might not fit in– we even think that we won’t accept ourselves. Acceptance from the people whose opinions we have assigned importance might not come. If they don’t approve, we won’t approve and well – we are unworthy, and then naturally we become ashamed of ourselves for not being accepted. We start hiding and lying and covering up. We even start to pull others down, spewing the same harsh criticisms and judgments on the people around us. The next time you spring into action, geared for approval, ask yourself – am I doing this because “I” want to? Is this is a true reflection of “me” or the people I want to gain acceptance from?
It all sounds impossible to avoid. We are often overwhelmingly compelled to seek approval from others, I suspect, in part, because we equate approval with love. If they like us, they are capable of loving us, and if they love us, then we are happy – if they don’t, we will live in shame and fear trying to live up to the standards that will garner the approval we seek. But we are looking for approval in the wrong places. I’ve come to learn, though, that we will never be able to gain everyone’s approval. It’s a fruitless effort. I’ve learned that happiness exists in the heart and in the mind of the person seeking it, not in the hands of those judging it.
You can love yourself. It’s not just a bunch of philosophical, “Oh-Happy Day”-singing fluff. We can change our conditioning and create a new perception. A new and better way of thinking. A new and better way of feeling. At first, it may feel awkward, forced, and disingenuous but soon, it will be second nature. It will become the truth. You will love yourself and when you do, the romantic love relationship that you have always dreamed of will find you. I'll say it again. Love attracts love! Here’s a few action steps to set you on the path.
1. Affirm Yourself
Everyone else around you is telling you what they think of you. When’s the last time to you told yourself what you think of you? Don’t take people’s opinions personally. What they think of you doesn’t matter anyway. If you’re in an especially negative environment, consider a change of scenery.
2. Practice Gratitude
Wake up each day and take inventory of at least 5 things in your life that you are grateful for. They don’t have to be grand things focused on your material possessions. You can simply be grateful that you’re breathing, that you have food to eat, or that the sun is shining. Practicing gratitude is a way to focus on the good that is already present in your life, removing your focus from what you don't have. Any focus on the negative only brings more negative. Conversely, any focus on the positive, brings more positive.
3. Do Happy
Every day do at least 1 thing that makes you feel good. Not indulgent things that you will later feel bad about, but things that you actually enjoy that inspire your to be your best. Doing this daily exercise is a practice in happiness. The more you practice, the better you become.
Remember, be love and you will receive love. It’s that simple.
If you’re interested in learning more about how I can help you overcome some of the challenges you may be facing in your love life, please complete the Contact Us or Become a Member page on my website www.tyelavore.com #GetReadyToFindLove #BeLoveSmart