Along the way teachers and books talked about the importance of loving oneself. They say that the first step on the road to self-empowerment is Love and Forgiveness of self. Most of us have been taught to love others, but, loving ourselves? Isn’t that a little self-centered? Others may say, “Sure I love myself.”
When I love someone, I spend time with them. I enjoy their company. I speak to them with respect, consideration, support, encouragement and compassion when they experience a hurt or loss. When asked, I may even lovingly offer helpful ideas to assist them. I do all this with my kind attention, gentle words, and helpful actions.
What about me? Don’t I need these things too? What is wrong with giving them to me?
The answer is nothing… but do I?
In reflecting on this a few good questions came to mind that I could ask myself.
- What kind of attention do I give myself? Do I make time for me? Do I enjoy my own company?
- What kind of gentle words do I use to speak to myself? I have internal self-talk, about everything, everybody and every situation. Mostly I am making judgements about them. My mind likes to label everything and put them in categories of like or don’t like.
What does my internal self-talk sound like when I am talking to me about me? Quite often I have a list of judgements about myself, convincing me I am not good enough. Does that sound loving? Or would it be better if my internal dialogue sounded like this:
I’ve come a long way already.
I am right on the track.
I can do it!
I am doing great!
I am learning and growing from this!
I am special!
I have lots to offer others!
I am loved!
It is too easy to get into a negative spiral with myself. Maybe I can start taking the not-so-easy way of choosing loving, kind words to support and encourage myself in moving forward.
- What loving, helpful ideas do I have for myself to assist me in moving forward?
I can take better care of my body by healthier eating and exercise.
I can take a walk, getting fresh air or being in nature.
I can read a book, take a workshop or retreat for fun or to help me on my path.
I can begin a new hobby or renew a hobby that brings me joy.
I can journal and record my gratitude for the blessings in my life.
I can help others in some way, maybe volunteering.
I can argue that I love myself, but do I really? Do I give the time, gentle words and helpful actions to myself that I would to someone I love.
Loving me is my choice. Maybe, just maybe, if I truly love myself, I will shine more and have more love to share with others.
~ Sherry Buikema
I have been going back and forth with the perspective of you, me and us wondering how to share the information of my journey. Seeing as when we express ourselves we are really talking to ourselves, going forward I have decided to write from the “I” context. However, the thoughts and ideas expressed do not just belong to me they belong to all of us. As we have all experienced similar things, they are mine, yours and ours. In gratitude I share this journey with you.