Love Yourself- When did that become a negative?

Published Saturday, 23rd May 2020

This week I am focusing on kindness to self. That is not to say that kindness to others should be abandoned but we often abandon ourselves in a rush to help and be kind to others. Why is that? Why is it easier to be kind to others than ourselves? When did it become not only ok, but more desirable and acceptable to stop loving ourselves?

Perhaps listening to the whispers of others or not experiencing unconditional love in our childhood forces us to abandon ourselves. I can hear it now in my own childhood, children taunting others for “Loving themselves,” and adults gossiping with a sharp critical tongue “he/she just loves themselves!”

The apparent humility we should adopt - to put others before self therefore becoming a more acceptable person. Acceptable to who? Becoming a humble person who deflects a compliment rather than accepting and absorbing it. We dish out genuinely meant compliments to others but can’t take any ourselves.

It feels alien to show self- love, kindness and compassion, as it has been condemned rather than promoted. Or has it?

Looking back through time, there is evidence to suggest otherwise. The familiar saying “Charity begins at home,” is only part of the saying and you may be surprised to see the full quote: 

“But how shall we expect charity towards others, when we are uncharitable to ourselves? ‘Charity begins at home,’ is the voice of the world;” – Sir Thomas Browne, 1642

The scriptures spoke of it; "thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" - Book of Leviticus and the New Testament.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that throughout time we have been told to love ourselves, to be kind and compassionate to ourselves.

Why is it so important?  Because each one of us deserves to experience love, respect and happiness.

Changing habits of a lifetime is possible but it takes time, determination, persistence and patience. A good starting point is to grant yourself permission to be kind to yourself. It may require you to imagine seeing yourself through the eyes of your best friend or someone who loves and cares for you. Or you may need to become the first person in your life to show yourself unconditional love and respect.

We are not just doing this for ourselves but for the generations to come – Modelling how we speak to ourselves, the words, the tone, the feelings behind the words.

Have you ever witnessed someone belittle and berate themselves or a child tell you they are “rubbish” or “useless”? Have you thought “ If only you could see what I see.” If we all showed ourselves love and kindness, would it not naturally flow towards others.

At a time when we’re taking time to consider the world we live in and how to be kinder I invite you to consider being kinder to yourself. Stop that voice that says nasty things to you and tells you you’re not enough, you’re not good, you are not……., you are…you’re not ever going to be ……

Start today, become your best friend, that friendly face, that person who tends to your needs.

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