Photo courtesy of Zanatox
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
As I continue to forge ahead through my 30s, edging closer and closer to the big 4-0, I have become increasingly aware of the significance of my sense of self-awareness and self appreciation. Truly accepting myself as I am, both physically and intellectually, has been a slow process that began 17 years ago when I first realized that I could make a big impact on my own happiness. Over the past decade and a half, I have slowly familiarized myself with the concept of unconditional self-love. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been enlightening.
So many times in life, we willingly criticize ourselves and publicly announce our faults and flaws in front of others. “Look how fat I’ve gotten!” or “I am such an idiot!” are exclamations heard all too often among our family, friends and coworkers. Why are we so hard on ourselves? One theory is that our feelings of self-worth are a reflection of our relationships with our parents during our formative years. Another possibility is a need for forgiveness or feelings of guilt that have yet to be addressed properly. When I began my self-reflection journey, I noted that my relationship with my parents was pretty decent when I was a child. I began earnestly digging to find the source of my feelings of unworthiness, ultimately improving my overall feelings of self-appreciation and allowing me to finally be truly happy.
Many of us spend a lot of time expecting someone else to take the blame for everything that is wrong in our lives. We tend to shift the responsibility of our satisfaction onto others, unconsciously always looking for the perfect scapegoat. However, the realization of true happiness has nothing to do with anyone but ourselves. The process begins with forgiving ourselves and acknowledging that we are doing the best that we can. Letting go of unrealistic, self-imposed ideals is the first step on the road to increased self-confidence and the ability to love deeply. Expending some of our misdirected energy toward nurturing our own self-image means we don’t have to wait around for validation from others! By relying on ourselves for a sense of happiness and love, we can create an inner security that is far more fulfilling than anything external.
Start taking steps to make yourself a priority today. Don’t put off any longer the small changes that could bring about a significantly positive improvement in your sense of well-being and your ability to love unconditionally. Your own happiness depends on it.