*There are countless self help books that try to teach us how to love ourselves, accept ourselves for who we are and to find inner peace within ourselves. What they are really trying to help us do is to find true love. A love that begins within and one that I believe is the purest form of love. Love of self (wow, that sounds so corny, but it’s true). A noble cause I might add.
If you’re talking about a donut, then two halves do make a whole. But if you’re speaking about people, then the math is more like 1 (whole) + 1 (whole) = 2. Yes, two people. I’m suggesting that we need not look for completion, void fillers, insecurity bandaids, and other pacifiers for any brokenness we may have. Instead, we would be better served by digging in and finding the perfect place of love in ourselves.
For those who have learned how to access this perfect love, you know what I’m talking about. It’s an ongoing journey because they messaging about how and what you should be are flying fast and furious everyday.
Before we talk about how to find it, we must discover why it happened. Why are we insecure, why do we have self doubt, why can’t we love ourselves for who we are, at present moment and who we will become? It happens from the mogul to the supermodel, the partner at the law firm to the best entertainer you can think of, and everyone in between. I believe the reason we end up having such trouble becoming whole is because we are built with too many fragments on the way up. Pieces of everyone else’s beliefs and values, and not enough of our own.
Growing up, our parents and other adults do what they believe is best for us, which is primarily telling us what to believe. They offer up their values as our values. Just as they were offered values. They blame our perceived shortcomings on bad genes, instead of areas of improvement or simply just being “us”. They guide us to “better” answers when the ones we give are not in line with that they believe, and they make every effort to keep us as close to “normal” as possible. We watch the relationships around us and absorb them into our memory banks for future reference. And although these relationships may sometimes be happy ones, it does not mean that they conducted in a way that is authentic to us.
In addition, our societal and acceptable norms are fed to us through a variety of ways. It might as well be in the air we breathe. At what point do we get to stop and check in on anything? Where do we get validated for feelings created from our past hurts? When do we stop to understand why we’re moved and upset? How do we know if the values we’re living out belong to us or ones that have been suggested to us?
Before we knew how to criticize ourselves for how we feel and what we believe, we were secure. If you know any children under 8, then you know what I’m talking about. They clearly state how they’re feeling, what they believe and why. And then. . . we guide them. Now, having children of my own, I do understand that some form of guidance and correction is necessary. However, I also believe that the bigger goal is to pay attention and then lead them closer to themselves. That’s where the love is.
That’s where our love is.
So now that we know where we should aspire to be, how do we locate ourselves and begin our journey back to our true selves?
Well, we start to take a look at our. . .
Values (education, reliability, status, peace, calmness, etc.)
Beliefs (quicker is smarter, bad people lie, good people go to church, wealthy people have less problems, attractive people are nicer, overweight people eat too much, etc.)
Insecurities – (vocabulary, knowledge, writing, aesthetics, body type, learning, progress, etc.)
Fears – (abandonment, assault, being alone, losing your independence, failure, success, rejection, etc.)
Pet peeves – (lying, loud people, braggarts, tardiness, messiness, etc.)
Emotional triggers – (broken promises, breakups, change, death, sex, certain words, etc.)
Patterns in choices – (careers, relationships, decisions on the job, trusting, etc.)
Cravings – (attention, business, people, etc.)
I’ve taken the liberty of adding a few examples for reference.
Don’t take this journey lightly. You’re worth the investment of spending this time understanding for a lifetime of love that is fulfilling. It’s a process to never being lonely again, no matter what your relationship status.
In addition to finding the right romantic love, finding self love will make you more attractive. It just does. The people who read this article, who have it, know exactly what I’m talking about. If you are not what Americans deem as “one of the beautiful people” and you have it, self love, I mean, then YOU have the best testimonial for this.
Okay, step two. After you identify and understand each area, then you accept or adjust. For instance, if you find that you have fear of abandonment, you can either accept it or get to the root of why. My suggestion is to always keep getting to why? Then you can potentially arrive at an understanding that you don’t deserve it and that not everyone is going to abandon you. In addition, it may help you to choose better for your future intended.
Where you should end up is not perfect; however, it is with great understanding. Imagine coming to a place where you can simply state truth to yourself without judgment of yourself. This means owning your emotions, beliefs, and more. Then you can move forward in finding someone who you can share your whole self with, because you have knowledge about who that is.
If you’re currently in a relationship, you can discover together. There may be a more robust love for you during this process.
When you can own who you are then you can be confident in who you are. When you are confident in who you are, then you can love who you are.
For more information on authentic relationships, read “The Things I Used to do to Sneeze!: How to live an authentic life with awesome sensations.” at www.amazon.com.
Monica Cost is Chief Brand Strategist and Founder of Evidently Assured, an authentic brand strategy firm and the Live Your Truth Experience (L.Y.T.E.). She is the Author of the new life changing book on living an authentic life called, “The Things I Used to do to Sneeze!: How to live an authentic life with awesome sensations.” Email her at: [email protected] her via Twitter: @monicacost and Facebook.com/monicahairstoncost. www.monicacost.com. Live true!