THE SELF-LOVE MYTH
There has been a movement for a while about the beauty myth and there have been great inroads made by many to dispel the myth or really question the standards that society deems as beautiful and for that I am thankful.
Today I want to take this a step further and shake up the debate about the topic of self-love. The concept of self-love has been a topic discussed by philosophers for centuries and still there is much debate even today.
A simple Wikipedia search defines Self-love as a moral flaw, akin to vanity and selfishness. I believe we’ve been taught that self-love is wrong and conceited.Today I present some ideas and explore what Self-Love really is, express my opinion and perhaps encourage you to start your own journey in growing self-love, have discussions about the topic with others or remain curious about the concept.
A reference I found dates back to the 18th century Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who used the french term Amour de soi, that means ‘love of self’.
‘He refers to the kind of self-love that humans share with brute animals and predates the appearance of society. Acts out of amour de soi tend to be for individual well-being. They are naturally good and not malicious because amour de soi as self-love does not involve pursuing one’s self-interest at the expense of others. The sentiment does not compare oneself with others, but is concerned solely with oneself as an absolute and valuable existence. It is related to an awareness of one’s future and can restrain present impulse. ‘
Of note Rousseau details that this love of self predates the appearance of society. Today society encourages us to give of ourselves to others but where do you draw the line between saying that giving is actually effecting my love for myself. We are presented with the metaphor about how we should strive to be – a cup overflowing with love to share with others –but who fills our cup? Yes at times others fill our cup but there is a danger in relying on others to fill our cup – we are constantly looking for this supply, doing what is required to get the fill. But what if there was a supply that was always available to fill our cup, not reliant on others, not requiring any conditions to be met? There is only one place that you have total control to ensure you receive love and that is how you treat yourself. Yes – you are the only one you can truly rely on to fill your own cup. So in order for our cup to be overflowing we must receive love from ourselves knowing we are totally deserving.
A simple analogy presented by Najwa Zebian that may help you assist you to understand self-love is to see it as building a sanctuary or home within that you can always connect with – a place that offers unconditional love where you will find your own loving internal parent or your best friend.
Many of us make the mistake of building a sanctuary or home in others and experience pain during the relationship but especially when the relationship breaks down. We invest time and energy by serving the needs of others whilst overlooking our own needs, we accept ourselves when others accept us, we believe in ourselves when others believe in us, we love ourselves when others show us love. This is the scenario many of us have found ourselves in. I believe it is unhealthy and only leads to destruction.
It is only when we connect with ourselves that we end the search for unconditional love. Your soul is aching for you to come back home and reconnect. We need to collect the pieces of ourselves that we put in the sanctuary or home of others and become whole again.
I believe when you begin in the art of loving yourself and grow, you create a world around you (situations and relationships) that reflects the same level and intensity of unconditional love that you have for yourself.
For further understanding, clarity and consistency I have detailed Christine Arylo’s definition for the components of self-love. I invite you to rank your response to these statements to take a snapshot of your relationship with yourself.
Self-awareness and self honesty is defined as ‘A deep understanding of who you are and who you aren’t, with an unwavering commitment to truth about how your actions, thoughts, and choices affect your reality and the people and world around you.’
Self-acceptance is defined as ‘The choice to actively like who you are, without exception, judgment, or wishing you could be someone other than you.’
Self-care is defined as ‘Choosing to make sure that you get what you need on all levels – physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally – everyday.’
Self-compassion and self-forgiveness is defined as ‘The choice to open your heart and be a loving witness to yourself, without judgment, by sending yourself waves of kindness, understanding, and forgiveness that touch, heal, and transform your imperfections, weaknesses, vulnerabilities and humanness through the presence of your unconditional love.’
Self-empowerment is defined as ‘Choosing to take charge of and responsibility for your life by acting to create the life you really desire, without apology or requiring approval from others.’
Self-expression is defined as ‘The choice to let the world see you, fully, truthfully and without apology or holding back. Full, free expression of your heart and soul.’
Self- trust is defined as ‘Choosing to listen to and follow the guidance of your inner voice, believing you know what is right for you, even when other people think or say otherwise.’
Self-esteem is defined as ‘A strong belief in and regard for yourself. A strong confidence in your ability to do and be anything.’
Self- respect and self-honor is defined as ‘The unwavering commitment to making only choices that respect and honor the sacred soul that you are.’
Self-pleasure is defined as ‘Choosing to consistently create, receive and experience joy, ensuring that your soul is fully fed and nourished.’
Why is Self-Love important?
The issue that I have interpreted as a result of a lack of self love is alarming and devastating across the spectrum of young girls through to women not only in Australia but throughout the world. I believe this is as a result of the belief held that to love one’s self is wrong or conceited.
Children are increasingly being diagnosed as anxious and depressed, developing eating disorders and addictions, labelled with behavioural problems, suffering bullying and isolation, developing low self-esteem and a poor body image and experiencing a chronic lack of self-esteem and confidence.
The flow on effect of these childhood issues leads to more severe issues during adulthood if left unaddressed such as unhealthy intimate relationships, drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, self-harm, mental health issues and physical health issues and suicide.
This is the core reason why I embarked on the creation of Petite Soul Sanctuary to inspire young girls and women to nurture, love and honour the extraordinary within themselves and others.
It is time to dispel the self-love myth. If you feel moved or curious please share this article with others to raise awareness.
Thankyou for your time,
Love from me
Karen Ormston is a Professional Life Coach, Intuitive Guide and ThetaHealing Practitioner who is the owner-director of Petite Soul Sanctuary. www.petitesoulsanctuary.com.au