Self-love is the basis of any true fulfillment in terms of having and being. When we do the opposite of self-love which, in extreme terms, is self-hatred, the effect is to deny ourselves the feelings and material things we truly want. I believe that self-love is a conscious decision that we must choose for ourselves.
What prevents us from giving ourselves love and acceptance? In my opinion, it is when we hold ourselves up to a particular rigid standard for how we are “supposed” to be.
Instead of letting ourselves be as we are and giving ourselves acceptance through self-love, we chastise and punish ourselves for not measuring up to the standard we have set.
Why create this standard? I think it’s because we believe that only by meeting this imagined standard for ourselves can we find happiness, peace, and finally, acceptance of ourselves.
We project and create an idealized, imagined future, and use that as our standard for being. Unfortunately, in the meantime, we deny and starve ourselves of those feelings of positivity now.
In fact, by withholding positive feelings from ourselves, we are creating additional suffering and making it even more unlikely that we will reach our idealized future.
Sure, the suffering may act as a great motivator at times, but if not dealt with, it will infect and contaminate our spirit.
Moving beyond our projected future can be a tough habit to break, especially if we demand a very high standard for ourselves or are perfectionists. Developing a sense of our own mortality – the fragility of your own life – can help to shake loose the compulsion to only think about the future.
When we embrace and truly feel the reality of this moment, we can begin to feel how valuable this moment really is. Compared to that, we may decide it’s better to start loving ourselves now than focus on a future that does not really exist.
When we embrace the ephemeral nature of this moment, we can find celebration there. We can also come to realize that by denying our self acceptance and love, we are denying ourselves life. Because through ignoring or denying this moment we also deny ourselves.
Self-love is a choice to honor ourselves now, to recognize the sacredness of this moment and of our time on earth. Anything less is a denial of our own reality and will translate to the events and relationships in our lives because if we cannot accept ourselves, by nature we will not be able to accept anyone else – or any thing -fully.
Self-acceptance is an act of love, love that you give yourself. It is an act of forgiveness, choosing to honor who you are instead of an image of who you think you should be. One is real, one is fantasy.
Practice honoring and accepting what you feel at any given moment. Learn to appreciate the fleetingness of life. Your time is limited. Let yourself move with the flow of life instead of resisting it. This acceptance will expand into your whole world.