The Freedom of Self-Love

At the heart of happiness is an innate understanding of one’s worth and believing that they are “enough.” Good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, having enough.
Knowing your worth and understanding that you are enough is the best definition of self-love I can give you.

It shows up in having a deep sense of confidence regardless of whether life is going as planned or not. It’s not conceited. Rather, it’s knowing that the combination of both your strengths and weaknesses is what makes you the amazing human being that you are. With intimate knowledge of who you are and zero interest in hiding behind facades or pretenses, comes inner-peace and profound contentment.

Conceit and cockiness are rooted in fear. They stem from the need to feel superior to others to validate one’s worth. Instead of embracing their faults, conceited people deny they have them or blame others if they admit to them at all.

With self-love comes freedom from crippling fears.
Freedom from fear of rejection.
This isn’t the same thing as freedom from rejection; it’s the absence of the fear of it. In other words, you’ll be rejected at one time or another. Plan on it. The difference is that you’ll be willing to take risks to step closer to your dreams and not be paralyzed by anxiety, wondering “what if…”

You’ll apply for that dream job, flirt with that person, or ask for help when you need it. If you don’t get the job, or the person doesn’t flirt back, you won’t internalize it as a reflection of your worth. Sure, it might sting for a minute, but you brush it off and move on, knowing that statistically, you’re one “no” closer to your “yes”! Even if someone does laugh at you or say something rude, you believe that reflects on them and their fears and isn’t indicative of your value.

Freedom from financial insecurity.
This doesn’t mean you’re going to get rich, although I hope that you do. What it does mean is that a chronic panic about money will leave you. Now you might be thinking that you don’t have money problems and there’s no chronic panic about money. That’s great news, but hear me out. Most fears boil down to two root causes:

Fear of not getting what we want,
And the fear of losing something we have.
In my experience, when it comes to finances, most of us on the journey to self-love either worry about not having enough security or losing any sense of security they have. When you love yourself, you have faith in you; you trust your instincts; you believe in your resiliency and ability to be resourceful to meet your basic needs.    

Freedom from fear of failure.

By now, you know this isn’t promising wild success. It’s promising that you’ll have the willingness to step outside of your comfort zone to try new things. You’re resilient; you look at all outcomes as learning experiences, not failures.  Besides, you intuitively know that the worst-case scenario seldom comes to pass anyway. If you choose not to take a calculated risk, it will not be a fear-driven decision.

With self-love comes opportunity.
People with real self-love have more energy because they’re not exhausting themselves trying to please others. They trust their intuition and don’t engage in the mental aerobics of second-guessing themselves or feeding irrational fears. Their emotions aren’t clouded with doubt, so they have a keener sense of clarity. Because of this, they are more receptive to opportunity. Better still, they create them by pursuing their passions.

Three steps to learn self-love: It’s a CHOICE
Forgive yourself.
Guilt saps self-love, confidence, and self-esteem. Everyone has a story. Regardless of where you are, where you’ve been, who you are, or what you’ve done, if you’re holding on to guilt or shame from the past, you need to let that $#!T go! If you need to “right a wrong” and apologize, then do it and be done with it already. Sometimes it’s hard to say we are sorry or amend a situation if we did wrong, but holding on to the guilt is far more harmful to our happiness than the pain of walking through it. I speak from experience on this one.

Give yourself permission to live free of remorse because no matter what you think you should or should not have done, you did the best you could with what you had to work with. Life isn’t always fair, and somethings bring out the worst in us. No one is perfect. Yesterday is gone, don’t get stuck there. At this moment, you are precisely where you need to be; you are enough; you are worthy.

Self-love is based on who you are, not what you do. Self-esteem comes from what we do. If you want to boost self-esteem, do self-esteem-able things. Eat well, get some exercise, help someone in need, be kind to others even if they aren’t kind back! Feeling good about the things you do will progress into feeling good about who you are.

Celebrate your successes.

Stop focusing on the things you don’t have or didn’t do. Make a list of everything you’ve succeeded at and let yourself feel the joy. Feel it in every bone in your body. Consider who you had to be to make it happen, what challenges you overcame, what sacrifices you made to reach success. Believe that you can use those talents to take on new challenges. If you find yourself thinking of your weaknesses, consciously find five things positive about yourself for every one negative. Share that courtesy to the people around you too. What you see in others (good or bad) reflects what you see in yourself.

There is no magic formula to having real confidence and love for yourself. It does not come from outside of it but lives inside of you right now. You can never “have” enough of anything that comes from outside of you to fill an inner need. If you think money is the answer, you’ll always want more; if you are looking for approval from others, it will work for 2 minutes and then you’ll be seeking it again. Find it in you, because that’s where it is. If you struggle to access it, get help from a friend, a mentor, a teacher, or a coach. I promise the answers you seek are within.

Having self-love does not mean life will be all unicorns and rainbows. There are still going to be bad days, disappointments, and wounded pride. Things will sometimes go awry, and when they do, it stinks. You’re not a mythological god or goddess, you’re human, and some stuff just feels yucky. Don’t try and deny the feelings, feel them. Feel them fully, but don’t become them. Think of them as unexpected company stopping in. “Visit” with them but don’t invite them to “move-in”.

How do you move on? You decide to. Period. You examine your beliefs about yourself and the world around you. You can change them. Nothing is a failure unless you say it is. It can be just as easy to look at things as a learning experience or an adventure; the choice is yours. Failure only has the power that you assign to it; assign yourself more power. When you empower yourself, it’s easy to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and move onward. And that my friend, it living life through the lens of self-love.