“It’s not selfish to give TO yourself as much as you give OF yourself”- Suze Orman
One of the most neglected and violated calls of nature is that of self-love. We tend to give so much of ourselves to others at the detriment of ourselves. The spread of the novel coronavirus in our communities has disrupted life to some degree for all of us. Terminologies like social distancing and self-isolation have become synonymous with the COVID-19 pandemic. Where we are all getting it wrong is that social distancing and self-isolation is not only for times like this, they should actually be an integral part of living a productive and fulfilling life! If there is anything we have learned so much in this time of COVID-19, it is actually giving ourselves ample doses of self-love, as the universe is compulsorily demanding from us what we seldom give ourselves!
Someone once said, “Sometimes you don’t realize you are actually drowning when you’re trying to be everyone else’s anchor”. Have you ever heard of the age-long maxim that you can’t give what you don’t have? Remember to take care of yourself first and don’t forget that you can’t pour from an empty cup! I know you, you are so selfless, and you can go the extra mile for people. You are someone who gives of yourself EVERY DAY. You give and give and you enjoy it, but you’re on the verge of burnout. Being in a ‘selflessness mode’ gives an assumption that you have already taken good care of yourself, if not, then it is not selflessness. That is self-abuse or self-foolishness, or probably self-foolhardiness. There is a thin line between being caring and being careless, don’t cross it.
King Solomon shared an ancient piece of wisdom and caution a long time ago when he said, “They made me the keeper of the vineyards, but mine own vineyard have I neglected”. In which area of your life are you neglecting yourself? Are you a pastor that impact the congregation but have neglected your own family? Are you a teacher that inspires your students, but you seldom take time to impact your own children? Are you a leader that can sacrifice anything for your company, but your family is begging for attention? Are you a doctor that always arrive on time for emergencies, but your family life is in a coma? Are you a caregiver that cares for others, but you are careless with your own health?
Until you become the most important person in your own life, you will be useless to every other person. Are you the most important person in your life? How often do you make time for yourself? If you are burned out, stressed out or overloaded, what’s left to give to others? When you take time to replenish yourself, it allows you to serve others. Stop short-circuiting yourself to grow others.
You can’t excite others while you are exhausted. Don’t ever violate your time to rest in order to take care of others. Your mind, body, soul, and spirit need rest. Learn how to give yourself a break from the drama in the world. If you continually discharge to bless others then you surely need time to recharge. Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel!
Don’t ever lose yourself in a bid to find someone else and don’t wander away from yourself to get close to somebody else. Contrary to popular belief, one of the greatest signs of maturity is making yourself a priority. Selflessness is not neglect of self! Mandy Hale said, “It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary”. Most times, in a bid to find others, we neglect the most important thing in life – finding ourselves. The ultimate search in life is not for things, money, job or power. Life’s ultimate search is in finding and discovering ourselves. Helen Keller said, “What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me”. Don’t ignore the love you DO have in your life by focusing on the love you DON’T. When you stand confidently in your own worth, respect follows.
You cannot discover yourself while building your whole life around someone else. Don’t make someone a priority when all you are to them is just an option. You are a priority! When you are your own best friend, you don’t endlessly seek out relationships, friendships, and validation from the wrong sources because you realize that the only approval and validation you need is your own.
Michel de Montaigne, Lord of Montaigne and one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance said, “The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself”. The most important decision of your life, the one that will affect every other decision you make, is the commitment to loving and accepting yourself. It directly affects the quality of your relationships, your work, your free time, your faith, and your future. Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind.
You can NEVER be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with, which is you. Love yourself first, because that’s who you’ll be spending the rest of your life with. Until you get comfortable with being alone, you’ll never know if you’re choosing someone out of love or loneliness. Be your own first love! To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance. It has been ascertained that almost 80% of self-esteem and self-abuse issues are a result of people not learning to enjoy their own company. He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away. You cannot get from people what you are meant to get through self-love.
Mandy Hale once said, “Learn to be alone and to LIKE it. There is nothing more freeing and empowering than learning to like your own company”. Enjoy your own company. Be your own best friend. Learn to stay alone sometimes and relish in your own company. Learn to give yourself what you are asking for from others – you will never be lonely again. The degree to which you fall in love with yourself is the degree to which you can love others. You need time to Reflect, Review, Reconnect, Refresh and Refire. Marilyn Monroe said, “I restore myself when I’m alone”.
We all need our moments of solitude, and the more we deprive ourselves of this inner adventure, the more our souls go bankrupt. Begin your day with self-love and not technology. Remind yourself of your worthiness before getting out of bed. You owe yourself the love that you freely give to others. Your self-talk is incredibly important. When you wake up early in the morning, before having any conversation with others, speak empowering words into your own life. You start your day full when you start it with positive vibes.
I have observed that the lack of self-love attracts the wrong people into our lives. When we don’t love ourselves deeply, we will always end up demanding from others the love we’re are not giving to ourselves. This is actually the origin of unhealthy expectations; it ultimately opens us up to abusive relationships. Once you start practicing self-love and self-acceptance, you’ll create the right conditions for love to find you.
Your needs matter, your goals matter, your dreams matter, your life matters, and your happiness matters. Make yourself a priority; you are worth it. It is a fundamental truth of life that no man will value you more than you value yourself. Don’t ‘PAUSE’ your life while you help others ‘PLAY’ theirs. Don’t put your life on hold while waiting for others. What we are waiting for is not as important as what happens to us while we are waiting. Self-love is not an option; it is a critical necessity of life. An internal security will always produce an outward stability.
Be intentional about self-crush. Acknowledge that you are important and worthy of your time. Say “I love you” to yourself. Someone said, “I fell in love with me and the whole world joined in”. Love yourself enough to take actions required for your own happiness. Love yourself enough to cut-off yourself from people that continually bring you pain. Love yourself enough to move on.
Self-crush check yourself daily. Make self-love a priority. Many times, we may often doubt the love we give to others, but you are always worthy of the love you give to yourself. You can never ‘over-love’ yourself because you deserve all the love you give to yourself. Give yourself an over-dose of love, you can never out love yourself!
“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself”- Mark Twain
Originally published on Linkedin and reprinted with the author’s permission.