Just recently a 36-year old woman from North Dakota found herself on Anderson Cooper's chat TV show to talk about why she married herself. Nadine Schweigert explained that it was a way to recognize that only she herself could provide the happiness she had been seeking from others.
Although this is an extreme example, it does illustrate an important reality that determines the quality of life that we lead: we need to learn how to love ourselves. Although we do not spend too much time thinking about it, many of the social ills that our society suffers from are signs and symptoms of the lack of self love.
Mediocrity, hopelessness, desperation, cynicism, depression, loneliness and so many other negative feelings are all stemming from the core issue of loss of unconditional love. It makes it difficult for us to relate to others and live out the shining, shimmering splendid lives that are on offer.
I can imagine you must be rolling your eyes and thinking, "That's ridiculous! Of course I love myself!" But do you, really? To be able to say that you are capable of loving, you must understand what love is. And that is where the heart of the problem lies. There is an incredibly interesting and insightful essay published in 2012 titled "˜What is Love?' that explains biologically what love is.
But many people mistake love for the feeling of infatuation that they get when they are excited about being with that special someone. But feelings are fleeting. You can feel happy one moment, then something happens to change your mood. If love were a mere feeling then the next adversity that comes along will be enough to sway that feeling into something else. That would be the perfect recipe for disaster.
Love cannot be a fleeting, changeable feeling. It has got to be something firmer. Love should be a commitment to stand firm with the relationship no matter what comes and threatens to dismantle that relationship. In the same way, loving yourself means standing firmly committed to your growth, to your excellence, to your success and fulfillment.
Here are three ways you can learn to love yourself.
Accept who you are. Accept your limitations. Accept your weaknesses. Accept that you are not as blonde as you want to be. Accept that you are a bit on the chubby side. Accept that you have terrible mood swings. Accept your uniqueness. There is no other you on this planet, and that's the way nature made it. You are your own unique blend of talents, strengths, abilities, thoughts and emotions, and that is a wonderful thing. You do not need to be anyone other than yourself.
2. Get Out Of The Downward Spiral.
This is one of the main reasons you tend to not accept yourself, in the first place. You have a constant conversation with yourself that takes place inside your head. Often that conversation is negative, and it forces you to view the world, and yourself, through a lens of negativity, sarcasm, cynicism and hopelessness. You need to understand that this negative view of yourself and of the world is not a statement of reality — it is an expression of attitude. You can settle to see a half empty glass, or you can choose to see it as half full. You are talking about the same glass of water, you just choose to see it positively.
3. Pursue Your Dreams.
Live a remarkable life. There will always be disappointments; the killjoys and naysayers will be out in full force to challenge you and pull you down. But if you accept these things, embrace the challenges, refuse to see failure as anything else but opportunities brilliantly disguised as disappointments, you will have the power to pick yourself up and move on.