I asked this question to several women all around the world over the last week. I was interested to hear what situations or circumstances inspired them to love themselves. Sometimes I was met with silence, other times with baffled looks, so I rephrased the question and asked again. What one quality or circumstance makes you love yourself? Then, “Finish this sentence: I love my self the most when…” Crickets. I wasn’t sure if no one understood what I meant or if loving themselves hadn’t occurred to them.
Enough answers eventually trickled in that I was able to finish my article, but the lack of response led me to ask yet another question. Why don’t we love ourselves? Do we need someone else to think we are special to feel good inside? Compliments are nice and all, but wouldn’t it be nicer to have a well of love and happiness to tap into when outside validation is not available? Maybe we don’t feel that we are worthy of our own love, or that loving ourselves is selfish.
Flex your self-love muscle
I’ve said before, and it has been said by many others, you make your own happiness. It comes from within. No outside source will give you the kind of joy your own heart can give you. You just need to cultivate the ability to create that happiness and believe you’re worth it! It’s pretty hard to go through this happiness manufacturing process without finding love for yourself. In fact, some amount of self-love is a requirement for happiness.
Having self-love isn’t being selfish. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. You need to cultivate a sense of worthiness inside yourself that drives you to fulfill your purpose. In order to contribute to others’ lives in a meaningful way, a person needs to have a solid foundation. You can’t give what you don’t have, after all.
Think about when you felt the best about yourself. What were the circumstances? Were you rocking your favorite outfit? Did you accomplish a big goal? Did that super handsome guy down the hall give you a compliment?
I love myself the most when I am in nature. This usually means hiking with my dog, soaking in the forest on some mini adventure. My heart swells and I just feel great. I’m usually doing something relatively physically strenuous during these times, so there’s a big endorphin rush, but it’s more than that. I practice mindfulness in everything, so when I’m hiking I notice the trees, the smell, the ground under my feet, every step up or down that makes my thighs burn, the birds, the sun on my shoulders, and just the feeling of being in the outdoors. I am under my own power and fully reliant on myself to get to where I’m going and back to the car in one piece. It’s grounding and liberating at the same time. Not to mention humbling and inspiring. I love myself the most when I am outside, in the forest, hiking.
The other answers
The answers I received to my questions can be categorized into three main groups. These are: I love myself most when I look great, when I am successful, or when I receive love from others. You may fall into more than one group or not fall into any of them. I would love to hear your answer! Give it some thought and tell me about it in the comments below.
I’m going to try something new this week and break down these three categories in the coming days. Yes! We’re going to try a daily blog again! This time around a general theme that could be taken in as one long read or several short reads depending on how much time you have and your interest level. Feel free to comment here with your own answer to the self-love question. It will be interesting to see if regular readers come up with new answers or if the three categories I mentioned above are fairly universal.
I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with self-love because there are piles of books on the subject, motivational speakers thrive on it, and when I asked what women love most about themselves I was met with blank looks. It’s time to get in there and flex your self-love muscle! You have a purpose to fill in the world and you are the only one who can fill that niche. You are important and lovable and worthy of as much love as you give to others. Tell me what you love most about yourself in the comments below. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for I Love Myself the Most When…I Look Great.
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