In my last article, I asked you a question: do you love yourself? And I told you, it’s okay if the answer is « not yet ». Because I don’t expect a definite answer, at least not yet.
Loving ME is a journey that takes time, and for most of us, it’s a foreign concept that introduces new feelings, experiences, beliefs, and proclamations. So, it makes sense that the road to finding self-love looks a little murky.
In this article, will see what can guide you to start the process. But first of all, there is something I need you to keep in mind when you are reflecting to find out where you are on your journey to loving yourself.
Remember, it is not a linear process that you mark with numbers, percentages, or grades. It is much more about noticing when and how you compromise your true self, and then asking steps to know and express her instead.
Am I happy?
One way to measure how well we’re doing on our journey to love ME is to take pause, reflect on our relationships or life situations, and ask “Am I happy?” this question works well in large part because it is about no one else but you and how happy you feel.
Most of us can easily tell if we are happy or not. But unfortunately, most of us never stop running through life long enough to ask, “am I really happy?” and in the rare instances when we do reflect, the reply is likely anything but honest, mainly. Because we don’t like the true answer.
How many times have you been unwilling to admit your unhappiness to anyone else, or even to yourself? Have you ever lied about being unhappy or simply avoided the question altogether because you couldn’t deal with the reality? We have all done it, probably too many times to count. And the truth is, we can’t do that anymore if we ever hope to create the lives we really want.
One always comes with the other
Whether it’s your life or your relationship, having what you truly desire requires a commitment to both self-love and happiness. One always comes with the other. Without self-love, we put our happiness in the hands of others, and we will bend and shift according to their whims, needs, and influences. Without a commitment to our own happiness, we sacrifice and compromise ourselves, and while we may win the approval of others or even satisfy their desires, our happiness gets left out in the cold.
Choosing your own happiness inevitably requires some difficult decisions and a fair amount of work to shift old patterns, beliefs, and behaviors.
We often have been trained to settle for less, considered putting others first without regard for ourselves a quality, act out of obligations, and be overly modest- and, by the way, doing all of these with no balance is the antithesis of loving ME.
Choosing your happiness also requires you to honor the commitment you made to maintain unwavering and uncompromising honesty with yourself. I know from experience that it is way too easy to lie to yourself when a difficult choice or a tantalizing distraction shows up, or when the truth seems too hard to deal with.
I have watched many accept the challenge to fall in love with themselves with every intention of following through, but then, within weeks, they attract a situation, many times a relationship, that is not about loving themselves. I will ask:” how ‘s your adventure of loving yourself going?” almost always, the reply, regardless of the truth, is:” Great. I am doing great.” Or “Well, it is not the right time now, I have to hold on that.”
Just because they entered into another relationship that disregards their self-respect or accepted a family obligation that they have nothing to do with or taken a job that is totally unaligned with what they want, and they truly are.
The gauge of happiness
It is way too easy to fool ourselves when we don’t want to see the truth. That’s where the happiness question comes in. It is an instant truth detector, a gauge for happiness. When I ask someone enmeshed in a situation in which he or she is not loving themselves, “are you really happy?” And “do your actions and beliefs reflect that” they may muster up a “yes”, but never with confidence. The truth always surfaces, and while the situation may not immediately resolve itself, she becomes a lot clearer about what loving yourself is and is not.
I encourage you to use the question “am I happy?’ as a barometer, and then to ask the question “do my actions and beliefs really support my answer?” especially when we’re just starting out, the concept of self-love can seem nebulous. But happiness- we really know what does or doesn’t feel like.
What is happiness?
I know there are hundreds of books written on the pursuit of happiness, spiritual traditions founded on it and gurus around the world teaching it. I am not referring to the philosophic discussion about life and happiness. I just want you to think about happiness as a state of being, not an emotion.
Think about how you feel when you are happy. Go beyond the feeling of having a smile on your face, to that deep tingling sensation in your heart and soul. And then remember what is like when that happiness is gone or some other feeling, like anger, anxiety, or despair, is present. It’s hard to mistake one of those for happiness.
The simplest way I can put this: True happiness starts with the realization that I am responsible for my unhappiness, and that there is a kind of happiness and fulfillment beyond the emotion. Being free of whatever toxic, unfulfilling relationships or habits you are surrounded with.
A key to reaching the state of happiness is the practice self-love.
Many spend their lives looking for true happiness in all the wrong places- outside themselves, ignoring the strong center of connecting to ourselves. It is knowing that, although we may love our designer purse and BMWs, your partner, your friends, … they don’t determine our happiness. Our joy and love come from knowing what’s really important to ME and then living a life that reflects it. They come from the connection to self, both body and spirit, and to the freedom to fully, without holding back, express our truest selves. How we each discover this, and how we each experience it, will differ; but if we want happiness, we each have to find self-love.
Let me know how is your self-love journey going and stay tuned for upcoming posts. Love ME.