Did you know that low self-esteem is at epidemic levels? A recent worldwide study conducted by the American Board of Psychiatry states that low self-esteem is the root cause in over 75% of the patients that receive clinical psychotherapy.
Low self-esteem affects almost every aspect of your life, from how you think about yourself to the way you think about or react to life situations. And when negative influences and thoughts are prevalent — generated either from within yourself or through others — it adversely affects the way you feel about yourself, and the way you view the experiences you encounter on a daily basis.
The remedy of course is learning how to love yourself unconditionally. The truth is this – unless you truly learn to love and accept yourself, how can you truly love and accept others? This means that learning to love yourself first is the number one key to living a happy and fulfilled life.
“I find that when we really love and accept and approve of ourselves exactly as we are, then everything in life works.” Says bestselling author and founder of Hay House Publishing Louise Hay.
But learning to love and accept yourself, and knowing its importance is one thing, but quite another thing to effectively put the art of self-love into practice. Many people come from cultures and societies that do not promote, or even support, self-love, and we often feel judged and are criticized if we love, value ourselves, or put ourselves first.
Below, are 4 common myths about loving yourself which people seem to take as truths, and which will prevent you from living your life fearlessly from a place of love:
Myth #1: Loving yourself is selfish. To dispel this myth, just look at its opposite: what would it look like if you did not love or value yourself? You would feel unworthy, undeserving, and unlovable, and the person you become is one who is needy with a void that you believe needs to be filled by some one else, because you were taught that it’s selfish to fill it yourself.
Doesn’t make sense does it? When you truly love and accept yourself you don’t need the approval of others in order to be who you are. Instead, you are able to bring your fully-realized, joyful self into the world — someone who others want to be around — instead of a self that is needy, with a hole that needs to be filled from the outside.
Myth #2: Loving yourself means needing constant self-care, which could make me high maintenance. Many people have the misconception that loving and honoring themselves simply means making the time in their busy schedules to take care of themselves — for example, taking the time to meditate, smell the flowers, get a manicure, get our hair done, or get a massage – or to basically, spend money on themselves in order to feel good. People tell me “I must already really love myself, because I do that type of stuff for myself all the time. But my life still doesn’t work!”
Of course I believe that it’s important to take the time to do those things if it brings you pleasure, but here is what self-love means to me: It means loving myself even when I fail. Even when I’m feeling down, and feel as though I have nothing left. Even when I feel that everyone on the planet is against me and doesn’t understand me. I need to be able to look myself in the eyes, and say, “No matter what anyone else thinks, I will not let myself down, or forsake myself. I will stay true to what I believe is right for me!”
Myth #3: Loving yourself means being in denial of your weaknesses. Many people believe that loving yourself means that you are in denial about your seeming failures, and talking yourself out of those weakness with positive affirmations. This of course just isn’t the case. Because it’s not just about constantly praising yourself, or talking yourself up with affirmations and telling yourself how awesome you are. Instead it’s about loving the REAL you with all of your fears, phobias and foibles! It’s about making a commitment to yourself that you will stick by “you,” even if no one else does! That’s what loving yourself means!
Myth #4: It’s important to always stay positive, regardless of external circumstances. Of course it’s not a bad thing to have a positive attitude in life. But many times the people who read books and take courses that advocate positive thinking, and how your thoughts create our reality, begin to become fearful of having negative thoughts! How silly is that? The truth is that your negative thoughts and emotions are gifts waiting to be unwrapped. Suppressing the negative thoughts and emotions that you have will only continue to perpetuate them. I once heard a very wise proverb that said, “A fear named is a fear tamed.”
What is important to realize is that it’s not only your thoughts that create you reality; but it’s also the emotions that you have towards yourself. Which means that the more you love myself, the more the circumstances around you begin to improve. And the more you love and value yourself, the more you are able to allow positive things to come into your life.
Loving yourself is primary to living a fulfilled and happy life. You are the creator of your world, the captain of your own ship, and the master navigator of life. Don’t allow anyone else to steal your peace, your joy, and your confidence that comes from loving yourself unconditionally. True love begins within.
© 2015 by Dar Payment for Heal Your Life Workshops Worldwide, www.HealYourLifeWorkshops.com. You may reprint or share this article in any form provided that you do not alter it, and that you keep the bio line intact.