“Everybody gets married! Everybody gets children! I feel like a leftover. My parents and friends stress me. What should I do, Dr. Nat?” My answer: “Let us start with focusing on what YOU want. Why don’t you…
…marry yourself first?!”
Before you arch your eyebrows and label this approach as egocentric, remind yourself of great minds like Voltaire who supposedly once said “Self-love is the instrument of our preservation“; or Shakespeare: “I to myself am dearer than a friend.” Interesting… This is why I would like to discuss the topic self-love today. A powerful strategy, which can improve the quality of our lives. But let me start with reflecting on the question why
We need a change of the status quo
I believe we need to rethink the way we treat ourselves, as we tend to ignore and disrespect the person we daily see in the mirror. How I come to this conclusion? There you go: Many of us are stressed, feel alone and/or empty. The societies we created support the idea of working against – instead of with – each other. It appears to me that we live to impress others and to show off our attractiveness, possessions and achievements. Everything is a competition. We run in our little hamster wheels just to be perceived as successful, beautiful and to fit in.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Is fitting in worth all this pain and these struggles? (Why) do we live to live up to the expectations of others? I assume that this behavior is rooted in basic human needs like security, structure and stability. Ok, fine. But does the current way we live still provide us with these factors? Exactly, it does not! The societies we created do not assure these needs anymore, which means that we need a new solution. A solution that is less judgmental, respects others but also our personal needs. And yes, we can make this change happen. How?
Marry yourself first!
Putting yourself first does not mean that you do not care about others. It just shows that you are mature enough to understand you cannot help others, if you cannot help yourself in the first place. A concrete example: Remind yourself of what they say on airplanes. In cases of an emergency put on your oxygen mask first before you help others. Reflect a bit on that!
Do you still think that this approach is narcissistic?
There are countless articles out there, which describe the differences between narcissism and self-love. Self-love means self-esteem, means self-respect. It means being happy with the work-in-progress you are. When you love yourself you are not seeking for the approval of others. You also know that the only competition you have is the person you were yesterday. You are not better than anybody else.
How to get started?
Get clear on your values and targets in life – yes, this is a journey and will take a while. But it is absolutely worth it. Talk with people who challenge your thinking. Read books and watch documentaries which question the here and now. You will see the difference. Slowly but surely.
I married myself on my 30th birthday. Why? Oh well, at the age of 29 I decided that I had enough. Dumbing myself down to fit it, being “normal” for the comfort of others and for a certain amount of cash at the end of the month cannot be what life is all about. From then onwards I started to find my own answers.
Back to my 30th birthday: I wore a magnificent dress, was picked up in a white stretch limousine and spend a full day celebrating, surrounded by people who matter. I even wrote down my vows. I summed up my unconditional self-love to myself as follows: “From today onwards and till the end of my life, I promise you – Natalia Wiechowski – to
- Accept myself – with all of my “weirdness” and flaws
- Be myself – be “crazy”, we wild, just be
- Believe in myself – I know that I can achieve everything I want
- Forgive myself – I make mistakes, which is ok ’cause that’s what humans do
- Invest in myself – on the inside and outside
- Trust myself – I know what is good and bad for me
- Value myself – I deserve and receive abundance in all aspects of life.”
What are the benefits of this approach?
You will improve on all levels – personally, emotionally, even professionally and spiritually as you will listen to your needs. You will start to listen to the signals your body sends you and feel as balanced as never before. The amount of drama and stress in your life will be massively reduced. Things will start to flow. Once you have achieved this state of mind you will be able to face any challenge in life, even a “real” marriage.
All these things occur in my life currently. And no, unconditionally loving yourself is not easy. It can be painfully challenging. It requires continuous, work and honest answers. Three months after I married myself I found myself cheating on myself…. oops. But I am getting better.
To sum it up
I want you to be happy. I want you to become the best version of yourself. And I believe that marrying yourself is the first, essential step towards this direction. Good luck!