“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
“I love myself…I love You. I love You…. I love myself.” – RUMI
Everyone would agree that there are many ways to love. The love you have for your family is different than the love you have for your best friend or for a partner. The ways you love your pet or your favorite book are also different ways to look at love.
Loving yourself, however, is a totally different and more abstract feeling.
Have you ever tried asking someone if they love him or herself? Have you ever questioned how much you actually appreciate yourself?
Let me tell you Izabelka’s story. For most of her life, she had never heard the words, “I love you” from her parents or her siblings. It wasn’t until she moved out of her home and to the opposite end of the country that she started to feel that familial love strongly enough to finally start expressing it.
She slowly started to incorporate those words at the end of her letters or at the end of phone conversations.
Can you imagine how magical that little change was for her attitude? Now, every interaction with her parents or siblings ends with those powerful words.
For some people it takes time to be able to say those three little words. For many it’s a lifelong challenge, but it is so worth it! There are many ways to express your love as well.
In the amazing book The 5 Love Languages (http://www.5lovelanguages.com/), author Gary Chapman lists five different ways to express love to your partner and loved ones: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. Knowing someone else’s love language is so important and powerful in creating a lasting relationship.
Expressing love for others, however, can sometimes be easier than loving yourself.
Izabelka always thought that love should be expressed by giving her time to others, being there when they needed her, and supporting them whenever and wherever they asked her to.
Not going to your favorite ballet show because your partner has bad day and you want to comfort him is a great sign that you love your boyfriend.
Skipping your workout because your sister is whining and needs your help right now is another sign of a love.
Eating and drinking things you don’t even like so your friends will accept you also shows how much you love them. Does that sound familiar?
Most of the time the things we give up most are our time, activities, hobbies, health and eventually ourselves. The real question is: Do you really think this is love? NO, it is not. The moment you are giving up your values, your rituals, your time and, most importantly, your peace, you are clearly abandoning yourself. It is important to stay true to yourself.
There is never an ideal way to love yourself without seeming arrogant or selfish to some people; however, it is necessary to create healthy boundaries to show others that you respect and value yourself first.
It is so powerful to recognize who you really are and what is important to you.
When you abandon your rituals that are important for self-love, it’s not real love. It’s not called a relationship anymore in this case either. It is not about one person giving up all they have for someone else.
That’s not what true love is.
If the people closest to us don’t want to grow with us, we shouldn’t be giving up our goals and what we strive for. We need to keep growing even if that may mean breaking up the relationship or friendship.
After Izabelka did a ton of work to learn self-love, she could confidently stand in front of the mirror and tell herself “I love you.” The emotions running through her heart, the excitement in her blood and the chills that gave her goosebumps were all totally new feelings for her.
That day was a huge breakthrough for her. It can be a huge turning point for anyone who recognizes how wonderful and unique he or she is in this big world.
As soon as you accept and appreciate yourself just the way you are, you will be able to accept and appreciate the world around you.
In life, we always give all we have. The more love you have for yourself, the more love you can give away while treating the people around you with gratitude. Because true love begins with YOU. Whatever you give, you will get it in return. ☺
How is your relationship with YOURSELF? Are you ready to start making changes and start loving yourself more and more every day?
I am HERE. I am NOW. I am ME. ❤
Izabela (aka Izabelka)