We have looked before on the concept of self-love and I would like to take the time into look into this in more depth.
If you remember, we said that AGAPE love was an unconditional love and that we needed to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Let us look more closely at why we have so much difficulty in the area of loving and accepting ourselves. We will start by looking at two very basic questions.
1.)Why do we have so much difficulty loving ourselves without question?
2.)Why do we feel we need the approval of others to validate our worthiness?
These are big questions and the basis of our non-acceptance of ourselves. We were not born with a negative self image of ourselves, in fact, we were not even aware that we needed the approval of others. Acceptance of ourselves as individuals was a learning experience from those significant others who were around us. Some people were lucky and had a loving and encouraging environment, while others, sadly, grew up with condemnation and disapproval.
Because of disapproval that may have been experienced in our childhood years, many of us grew up with the generalization that “Since they did not accept me, I am unacceptable.” Through the repetition of key incidents in our lives we learnt to have a negative view of ourselves. The problem arises when we fail to realize that these were childhood events. We still see them retrospectively through the eyes of our inner-child. We must learn to stand back and put them in a different perspective.
As adults we may now realize that those who hurt us with their disapproval and criticism were acting in the only way that they knew how to act. Many did not realize the extent of injury that was caused to our psyche. It is up to us now to rid ourselves of these self-sabotaging thoughts about ourselves and face reality. We have two choices. We can either accept what was said about us and live with self-recrimination or we can choose to forgive those who said hurtful, un-accepting things to us and rethink the situation.
Face it, we were not all perfect children and we are not perfect as adults either. All people can never be all good or all bad. We have to come to the realization that we are human. We need to accept ourselves the way we are. That means accepting the bad along with the good. We all make mistakes, we all have weaknesses. This doesn’t mean that we stop trying to improve ourselves, but we must stop condemning ourselves.
We also must become aware of the things we want to change about ourselves because WE as individuals want improvement in these areas, not because we feel that others want us to change. Accepting a situation is the first step to achieving power over it. We can not live our lives for the acceptance of others. We need to live our lives honestly and freely.
Take the time to listen to your inner voice and find out who YOU really are. You are an individual and you don’t need to conform to what the world around you wants you to be. You need to discover who YOU really are and then gather the courage to let the real you be you. You have the power to be your own person.
Let us stop putting on masks to represent the people we think others want to see. Don’t feel you have to seek their approval. Take time to learn who you are and then let the real you shine through. You are a beautiful person just the way you are and are worthy of love. Learn to love yourself and you will see the world around you change for the better.