By: Sue Sexton, MA Licensed Psychologist
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball
If I could count on my hands how many times I was directly and indirectly called “selfish” for taking care of my needs first while growing up, I’d likely look akin to a group of jelly fish with tentacles all in motion in the great wide ocean!
We live in a society and culture that values women’s care-taking abilities. It has created a pattern of co-dependency and enmeshment that is making us exhausted (a whole new level of tired), resentful, and feeling stuck in our lives. When our focus is constantly on how to meet everyone else’s needs, we end up too tired to tend to our own needs at 10:00 pm. Let’s face it: it was supposed to be bedtime an hour ago (that’s how exhausted we feel).
Then we end up creating and watching funny videos of mom’s who, with who knows what extra time they had and where they got it from, viewing their children as burdens. And we laugh because we feel “got” in that moment: “I see you girl”. Memorizing sayings like “the days are loooooong, but the years are short”, to help us feel okay about that extra glass of wine we have tonight (in our “Go to Bed Already: It’s Wine Time” glass, no less). I understand, I used to be one of those moms. Trust me, I understand.
If you fit this description, I have news for you. There is a WAY OUT of this pattern, through remembering SELF LOVE. You just forgot it along the way, between birth, puberty, that quarter-life crisis, and maybe even a mid-life crisis. Heck, it’s never too late!
Yes, you likely guessed it: I’m a bit of a hippie at heart. But I also went through a MAJOR Life Change before I realized SELF LOVE was so important. I hope this gentle push can help you prevent an affair and divorce when you’re 9-month pregnant (I know – can we say HOT MESS?). So take this hippie to heart, you’ll be glad you did.
What is Self Love? How is it NOT Selfish to take care of myself?
- LOVE is our birth right: We are all born love and loved. When a baby arrives, it has a clean slate (outside of karma and your messed-up genetics, but that’s for another article altogether). It is only when the baby’s caregivers begin to think, say, and do unloving things to the baby, that it knows something other than love. Then if this happens often enough, the baby begins to see itself less than love and feel unlovable. It is our job to return to our birth right and reclaim SELF LOVE. This involves learning, exploring, and shedding unwanted life experiences and belief systems.
- SELF LOVE is our viewing lens into the world (or not, it’s your choice): Whether we love ourselves or not, creates how we then view others. Do an experiment for a few hours or days. Allow yourself to only use loving words to yourself: compassion, understanding, patience, kindness, forgiveness, acceptance, etc. Notice how you then view others as you see and interact with them: are you more loving to them as well? Do the same with the opposite of loving words to yourself: judgment, critical, mean, impatient, name calling, and unacceptable. Then notice how you view others as you see and interact with them: are you more unloving to them as well? Our quality of life is totally dependent on our filter in which we see the world, but more importantly how we view OURSELVES.
- Reclaim SELF LOVE: just because you’ve had people tell you, think about you, talk about you, or treat you like you’re selfish when you engage in self-love, please ask yourself if a person who loved themselves would act that way? (I hope you said HELL NO!) Perhaps they don’t love themselves enough and so they project that onto you too. Will you repeat this into the next generation or will you STOP the cycle of lacking self-love? Then be a role model for others on self-care and self-love NOT being synonymous to selfish.
Let’s face is ladies: staying angry, using sarcasm, being proud and disgruntled about your caretaking habits, and remaining in SELF LOVE DEFICIT is only going to hand down the same legacy to the next generation.
You can instead be a ROLE MODEL of remembering SELF LOVE:
- Begin talking kindlier to yourself.
- Begin taking action towards exploring what you like, while at the same time learning what you don’t like. They go hand in hand: there is no such thing as failure. Just learning.
- Begin making time in your day for YOU and what you want to do (trust me, you’re worth it and anyone who’s upset just needs to reflect on why they feel that way – it’s not for you to fix).
- Begin saying NO to events, relationships, or activities that don’t make you feel LOVED.
- Begin leaning into feelings and experiences that left you feeling less than love, and let them surface and purge (face the emotions). Emotions come and go. You can’t avoid them forever (trust me, my divorce taught me that).
- Begin letting go the need to be perfect. We are all imperfectly beautiful, deserving love for all of who we are. It is okay to make mistakes. Heck mistakes are truly just an opportunity to learn lessons and grow in wisdom (and have amusing stories to share later on).
- Begin to forgive yourself and others. Embrace the idea that every one of us are doing our very best each moment of our lives with what we know in that moment of time. We are all learning different lessons and growing at different paces. Forgiveness is a gift for you: letting go of anger, hurt, and resentment energy. Letting go the toxic energy from your mind-body-spirit.
Girl, jellyfish groups aren’t all they’re cracked up to be! Reclaim your self love today (It’s been beckoning you since birth to remember).
Please Join Sue Daily for the 11:11 Peace On Earth Movement, where at 11:11 AM CDT we THINK PEACE for 2-3 minutes across the globe. Thoughts can include, but are not limited to, images of people holding hands, hugging loved ones, deep sensation of inner peace, feeling of love for all, war ceasing, or all of humanity being at peace. Feel free to convert your time zone from 11:11 AM CDT to your local time. Learn more @ www.peaceonearth1111.com .