The Only Thing You Ever Need to Know about Self-Love

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“I only accept the love I think I deserve.”

 

“I didn’t know it was possible to love so much until I had my child.” I’ve heard it all the time and now I say it all the time. In fact, it’s probably one of the most cliche things I’ve ever heard and now that I have my little prince, I know it’s also one of the most true things I’ve ever heard. It’s nothing short of amazing, and beautiful. But the more I thought about it, I realized the sentiment is equally beautiful as it is  sad. Why is the birth of my child the only time I’ve realized a love so strong? More importantly why have I never felt a love so strong in myself? Why is something as important as self-love foreign to so many people?

When my little prince was born, I loved him so much it hurt. I still do.  I could spend hours on end gazing into his wide-innocent eyes, stroking that soft hair adorned on his head, admiring the wrinkle in his nose and kissing his little toes. I loved that one thigh roll and the way his eye squinted when he laughed. Yet, I never looked at myself that way. And I sure as hell never smiled in admiration at my rolls. Isn’t it funny that those things we call imperfections in babies are found to be so lovable but yet scrutinized in ourselves constantly? Imagine how silly we’d sound if we criticized infants for having thigh rolls or for smiling too widely?

The truth is, I don’t hate myself or my body. And since having little prince I’ve grown to love my body even more after seeing what it’s capable of. But it’s nowhere near the overwhelming, over the moon type of love I have for my son.

Why can’t we ever feel that love for ourselves? Why can’t we ever talk about the love we have for ourselves out loud and why do the imperfections in ourselves make for the best love story in our children?

I don’t know about you, but I find it awkward. I also find it annoying and just wrong. And I didn’t realize why until recently. I think my problem and the problem of many others is I associate self-love with being selfish, conceited, and boastful. However, I’ve since learned the most important thing you ever need to know about self-love is that it’s not selfish. Self-love is not a dirty word and shouldn’t be treated as such. Loving yourself and being able to admit it doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you someone who recognizes self-worth and all you are capable of. It makes you a person who can look at your imperfections and admire every one of them because they are the little quirks that contributed to the person you’ve become.

On June 22nd I realized the dictionary had it all wrong. when it came to love. I learned what love is the moment I held you in my arms.

 

I know I’ve said I’ve never had a best friend in the past, but I know the friends and family I do have love me. I’m so very fortunate to have that love from other people. But I think having that love from others allowed me to justify that I didn’t need have a love so strong for myself. They were filling a void that I could only fill myself.  I figured, “well, my parents and husband love me so that’s all I need.” Yes, the love from others is great, but no one can treat you better or love you better than you can love yourself.

You ever notice, when people are in abusive relationships they often think its painful because they deserve it? Meanwhile, if you are in an amazing relationship you often say, “How did I get this lucky?” or “you are so amazing I don’t deserve you.” I know it’s corny, but it all goes back to loving yourself first. The truth is, you aren’t lucky. You truly deserve that great love.  You only receive the love you think you deserve. And no one can treat you better than you treat yourself.

We often forget that loving ourselves first often means we lift ourselves higher and build our strength so we can lift others around us as well. When you learn to love yourself better, you love those important to you better as well.

I don’t know if I can ever find the ability to share the same overwhelming love I have for my son in myself. But I can say, that I can and will love myself in a way that no other person can. I hope you can say the same.

Be honest. Do you truly love yourself or do you subconsciously associate self-love with being selfish?

 

TERRIfic Quip: Don’t forget to love yourself first.

 

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17 Comments

  1. September 8, 2017 / 8:52 am

    This was such a great post! You’re right we do think self love is being vain or conceited but it’s not. We do deserve genuine love from others as well.

  2. Kita
    September 8, 2017 / 9:33 am

    I really didn’t understand self-love until my husband passed away. I’ve slowly worked on loving myself and teaching my children to love themselves and not look for love from other people. Such an important lesson that I didn’t understand until now.

    • Terri
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:25 am

      This response hit home to me! While I know my husband loves me, it’s important I don’t depend on his love alone as anything can happen. I’ve definitely been working on loving myself more and hope I instill that same value in my son.

  3. September 8, 2017 / 8:49 pm

    I love myself, I’ve learned to enjoy my own company. I’m cute, funny and smart. I love that about me. I love my kids but I love me too.

  4. September 8, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    I agree. I think a lot of people struggle with self love because they were taught that self love equates to being selfish. Self love to me just means appreciating who you really are and being grateful for those unique qualities.

  5. September 10, 2017 / 2:48 pm

    Self love is something that I’ve been embracing more of as I have gotten older. I think it’s harder as moms to not feel guilty about practicing self love, but it’s so important that we do.

  6. September 10, 2017 / 2:54 pm

    Well said. How can you uplift others if you don’t uplift and like yourself. So many people have this facade of loving themselves and you see it time and time again on social media but then the things that folks do, reflect self hate. Self love to me is loving and accepting everything, including your flaws and being fine with all of it.

    • Terri
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:24 am

      Good point! Social media can be so deceiving!

  7. September 10, 2017 / 2:58 pm

    There was a time when I would feel guilty about doing things for myself afraid of what people would think. After realizing what it was doing to my emotional state, I do for myself, take more time for myself, etc because I know it is better for me and for my family.

  8. September 10, 2017 / 5:53 pm

    Very important post!!! Self love is a hard one and something that I think I constantly work at…but once you know this “I only accept the love I think I deserve” to me that is half the battle! I am learning to take more time for myself and really do for myself.

  9. September 10, 2017 / 11:52 pm

    Over the years I have had to learn to myself. For me, self-love is a revolutionary act of bravery. I know I can’t love my family until I first take care and love me.

    • Terri
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:23 am

      In a way, it’s definitely an act of bravery to love yourself first. Even with my baby boy, I’m learning that I can’t even begin to take care of him until I love myself and take care of myself first.

  10. September 11, 2017 / 12:25 pm

    I think its a struggle because we are taught to love everybody. Love your spouse, kids, parents etc. The topic of loving yourself rarely gets addressed so when it comes to loving ourselves we are super clueless. We say we love other people but can we truly love them if we don’t love ourselves? Hmm I don’t really know.

    • Terri
      Author
      September 13, 2017 / 6:22 am

      I never thought about it from this aspect before, but you are right. We are taught to love everybody. Maybe the problem is that we love everybody else so much that we forget to apply that same love to ourselves.

  11. September 12, 2017 / 11:21 am

    I never understood why it is seen as selfishness when you love on yourself. My motto is “If I don’t love me, then who will?”

    It saddens me that people don’t really know how or what it is like to really have self love.

  12. September 12, 2017 / 11:18 pm

    Great article! You are absolutely right we should love ourselves first and without restrictions. I agree with you we are all taught that self love is arrogant and selfish. But it’s actually a very good thing.