By Dr. Lisa Love
As a counselor I have often told people that they need to learn to love themselves. Yet, while saying this to others, I have at times taken pause to reflect and ask myself, “What does that really mean? How do we know the difference between a self-love and a selfish love? And, what can we do practically to love ourselves in the right way?”
I believe true self love fills us with enough joy, peace, and love that our desire to be loving human beings grows. Because of this we want to express more empathy, compassion, and understanding towards others. Selfish love does the contrary. It increases our sense of self-loathing or our disdain and anger towards others. It causes us to act increasingly in our own best interests without considering the interests of others. It causes us to want to sacrifice others needs and desires in service to our own, instead of the other way around. Or, it causes us to self-destruct through a number of behaviors that may feel good temporarily, but ultimately they lead to the shutting down of our hearts and spiral us downward into increased self-loathing and self-reproach.
How then do we love ourselves in the right way?
By first and foremost learning what love is. Then, by insisting that we feed ourselves with that love. This is best done by finding people who know how to love. From them we learn how to adopt loving mindsets, feelings, and behaviors. And, it is done by setting boundaries on people who don’t know how to encourage the greatest level of love in us. Because when we truly have that kind of love in our lives we are increasingly a blessing to others. Which is why real love requires that we love ourselves in the right way, so we can have the strength to love, the wisdom to love, and the energy to love those who need our love the most.
Dr. Lisa Love is the founder of LoveMovies! and also the best-selling author of BEYOND THE SECRET: Spiritual Power and the Law of Attraction; ATTRACTING REAL LOVE: 4 Steps for Finding the Love You Want; and SOUL SUCCESS: How to Create Joy & Prosperity in Good Times or Bad; MEDITATION: The Path to Peace. Contact her at www.drlisalove.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.