Self-love sounds like a topic that might be best suited for readers of Oprah magazine. Do we dare even broach the topic on a man site?! Who really cares about all that touchy-feely stuff anyway, right?
Loving ourselves? It almost sounds selfish. Not sure why thats the case. Maybe its because we grow up in a world where we are encouraged to subdue their emotions. Humility is supposed to be the name of the game. Loving ones self carries a stigma of anything but humility.
But the opposite is true. Learning to love yourself is the key to loving others more.
Youve heard the oft-repeated bible verse to love your neighbor as yourself? Why do we lose sight of the importance of self love? Its right there in the bible. Were supposed to do it. Its an equally important part of the love equation.
Perhaps we dont teach self love as much because children have a tough time drawing the distinction between loving themselves and just being plain ol cocky. But truth be told, this is yet another important reason to teach our children about self love explaining how it works, how to do it and why its a critical life skill.
The Evolution of the Ego
As a teen, I started developing ego issues judging others. This problem was perpetuated with age. As I grew into a young man, everything became a challenge. Lifting weights.. getting the girl.. my looks and appearance I started comparing everything about myself to others. I wanted to be the best at it all but I wasnt and never would be.
Thank God for an aging body that quickly saw the decline of everything I felt was so important in life.
Youre thankful for what?!
It was no time at all before the thirties arrived. Injuries caught up with my body so being the strongest guy in the gym could no longer be a goal. I became the older guy who preaches, Im just trying to stay fit and stay injury free. I watched as the gauntlet was handed down to the young kids who gleamed with pride after knocking out 315 for a few reps.
And the forties?
What the hell is this? Im getting nose hairs? Ear hairs?! Why is my skin starting to wrinkle? Is my vision starting to blur? Why am I not jumping as high I used to? Why am I getting love handles now? You mean I cant eat anything I want now? Ive always done that!
Year after year, youre reminded that youth is fleeting.
Its time to let go of ego. Its time to start looking inward for happiness because continued comparisons to everyone else can only lead to being one miserable old man.
The Value of Loving Yourself
Loving yourself is the key to creating a better world and a better you. But how does one accomplish this? What does it mean?
It starts by accepting yourself and no longer comparing yourself to others.
Think about it the only reason we find fault with ourselves is because were holding our self to a standard set by others. Were comparing ourselves to others. The root of the problem is that we hold a bit (or a lot) of admiration for the accomplishments we see others achieve and we also want this perceived success. We envy.
If a cataclysmic world event happened tomorrow and you were the only guy left on earth, would you care about nose hairs? Would you care if you carried a bit of extra body fat? Why not? Whats changed in how you view yourself?
With no one left to judge us, we quit judging ourselves.
But lets not wait for the apocalypse. Lets consider how this epiphany can better serve us today.
When I stop comparing myself to others, I no longer judge myself and now, I have no need to judge you.
Im happier for the achievements of others. I understand the joy that another feels in accomplishment of a goal. I celebrate this with him instead of being envious.
When I make mistakes, Im able to forgive myself and this makes it a cinch to forgive you of your mistakes. I dont think twice about it. Theres true joy in loving yourself.
If we disagree in our religious or political beliefs, I understand and appreciate that you feel differently about the issue than do I. I listen more and preach less.
I love myself. I dont need to believe in the illusion of being right every time. I dont need to waste so much energy comparing myself to others. Im pretty darned remarkable in just being me faults and all.
A funny thing happens when you start loving yourself. You create a better, fuller life for yourself and you positively affect the world around you. You create a snowball effect of change some of which is easily visible and much of which you cant even see. You feel better about yourself in every waking moment.
By loving yourself, you change the world. Theres unmistakable joy found in accepting and loving yourself just as you are.