“You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy.”
I often witness others (and have been guilty of this myself) giving so much of themselves (in the name of serving or loving others), that they have nothing left to give to themselves. Does this sound familiar to any of you?
Here's the truth: There will ALWAYS be people who are in need, people that you can give to. If you don't set a boundary there will never be a point to your giving, because people will always take. Many of us were raised with the message that the most selfless thing we can do is to give unconditionally. I feel like I'm continuously fighting against this idea with my clients.
Let me explain: I think that we all need to be serving others and giving to others. Being selfish is not healthy. But being a little selfish is. If we don't take care of ourselves, we won't be able to take care of others effectively. Let me say that again: If you don't take care of and love yourself, you will NOT be able to take care of others for very long. Sure, you will be able to for awhile. But fairly quickly, you will burn out. And, if you are at a point of burn out, you will have absolutely nothing to give to others. It's through being a little selfish (actually, healthy!) and loving ourselves FIRST, that we then have something to give to others. It is through loving ourselves that we can really love another person.
To Love ourselves we need to respect ourselves, and have good self-esteem and confidence. We need to be in healthy relationships, accepting love from others. We need to set healthy boundaries, decrease cognitive distortions, and increase overall health and wellness in our lives. This is an active and intentional process.
So, my question to you is this: What do you love about yourself? How do you love (take care of) yourself?