Do You Love You?
Who do you love?
You likely have a quick answer – your kids, family, partner, dog, new car. There are so many things to feel affection for!
Rarely (ever?) is the answer: “I adore myself.”
That would sound pretty self-centered and creepy, wouldn’t it.
But is it?
Much of what we stress about, and get sick about, comes from ignoring our own needs. We bury our innermost ‘wants,’ put the interests of others before us. How marvellously unselfish!
Except that we may wake up one day feeling pissed off, invalidated, and enraged. Why? Because suddenly we realize: OMG, I’ve lost my entire personhood, where did it go? And then we may ask: “Who AM I, anyway?”
But thinking of ourselves, first? So selfish. How could you! (Guilt is an effective barrier for most women.)
Epiphany I’ve had in the last decade: Healthy love has to start with oneself!
Think of it this way: if the baby doesn’t scream for nourishment, or wail for a change of poopy diaper, and instead puts Mommy first, the baby does not survive!
As adults, we somehow think that these primal urges (and needs) are no longer relevant?
This is not to suggest that any of us would fare well in a society that doesn’t nurture and caretake. Like the baby, we all need to be cared for. And we all need to care!
But, as adults, we need to revisit the concept of selflessness. We need to understand (or in my case be introduced to) the concept of self-compassion. If we don’t, we willingly sit in the path of stress, ill health, steaming resentment, chaos. And then we blame others because we’re so unfulfilled, angry, and unfocused. Ah, but it’s not their fault! It’s yours!
So. Do you love you?
Why not find out?
An excellent self-compassion test, found at http://www.self-compassion.org/test-your-self-compassion-level.html will probably answer that question.
This test comes courtesy of Dr. Kristin Neff, an Associate Professor in Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin. Kristin’s work on self-compassion has changed my life. I’ll offer more of her wisdom in future posts.
Turns out that women must look after themselves to stay healthy! Women must learn to say ‘no’ without guilt! Women must sometimes, yes, be selfish! Wow… really?
Look around you, and you’ll notice: healthy, centred, balanced people protect and care for themselves! And they don’t apologize for it!