When I was in grad school – in my 50’s – we did an exercise that posed this question: If you could go back to being 18 years old – knowing what you know now – what advice would you give yourself? I didn’t have to think twice!!
The advice I would give myself? Love yourself first. Definitely. Love yourself first.
Let me start by saying that when I was young I did not value myself. I had absolutely no idea of what a good person I really was! I’m not talking about thinking I was better than anyone else. I’m not talking about thinking I was more intelligent. I’m certainly not talking about being selfish and egocentric. Quite simply, I did not know my true value as a human being.
As a young woman I was kind. I was smart. I was caring. I had so many positive qualities…as I do today. Sadly, back then I didn’t love myself enough to demand respect from other people and demand to be treated kindly. Honestly, I felt “less than.” I allowed some very significant people in my life to treat me hurtfully – emotionally and physically. Had I loved myself more, I hopefully wouldn’t have allowed that to happen.
…When I talk about loving ourselves, I mean having a deep appreciation for who we are. We accept all the different parts of ourselves—our little peculiarities, the embarrassments, the things we may not do so well, and all the wonderful qualities, too. We accept the whole package with love. Unconditionally.
I agree with Louise. With that love comes so much strength.
Some of you might think that “Love yourself first” is too simplistic to be of any value. Or perhaps no more than a self-help platitude. Think what you will, my friends! I, for one, believe that we cannot create “our best life” without loving and appreciating ourselves first. That is the foundation for building healthy relationships, striving to achieve our goals, and so much more. As I shared in a previous blog post, “What matters most is how you see yourself.”
So…what do you think?