Premise – “No one is going to truly love you if you don’t love yourself”
When I was at one of the deepest darkest low-self esteem filled points in my life, the above statement is what my best friend told me. She was frank. She was brutal, but most of all she was very honest to me. I had just gone through a major break up and I had the usual ‘I can’t live without him’ feelings and almost let myself fall to pieces over this dude. The sad thing was that he’d already moved on and was looking fantastic. He obviously wasn’t losing any sleep over breaking up with me and that is what my girl was trying to open my eyes to. It took me a minute, but then when I realised what I’d done to myself, I got very angry; you see I’d become insecure about stupid things that I felt mattered to him, to the point that I didn’t even care about me. All my hopes, dreams and ambitions in life were being lived through him and by what he deemed acceptable to do. I hit the wall hard when I realised that I didn’t really love myself. Thank God that this happened years ago and I’ve changed a lot since then.
Self-love is not easy and can be borderline selfish at times, but it is necessary. If the other party in your relationship knows that you have standards for yourself, I think that they will be more inclined to treat you with respect. It is far too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the other person loves you as much as you love them. Being in love is an uncontrollable rollercoaster of feelings and nobody really knows how to figure it out. The purpose of the blog for the most part is just to give you a few pointers on how to navigate some aspects of it.
Now it’s easy for all of y’all reading this to say ‘yeah I love myself’, but do you really? I’m not talking about narcissism or just telling yourself 'I am fabulous' in the mirror. I’m talking about the choices that one makes in life irrespective of being in a relationship with another human being or not. It’s the little things like making sure that you have a plan for your future or asking yourself if your mate is looking out for your interests as well as their own. If it seems as if they have already planned their life and can go ahead with or without you, then you need to put things into perspective. What do you want to be doing ten years down the line? Does your mate really care about what you wanna be…are they even supportive of you? This is especially important for women. I think that whether we like it or not, it is in the nature of a woman to follow a man’s lead. When you are in love this can be detrimental if you’re not careful; see you can give your heart and soul to a man, but he won’t think twice about leaving you if he thinks he has found ‘the one’. Ladies, I urge to have a back up plan no matter how head over heels in love you are with a man. Love can make people do some crazy things and to be honest it’s not always rational; I’ve heard stories from women in my family that gave their life savings to their men willingly after being promised the money back at some point later. As you have probably guessed, they never saw the money again and it ultimately led to a break up.
Self-love and self-respect kind of go hand in hand. Similarly, if you don’t respect yourself, then nobody will truly respect you. It’s funny because when I was younger (teens) I wanted to be liked more than I wanted to be respected and that caused me to do stupid things in the name of being popular. I would never say no to requests made of me by my friends and family and I ended up being treated like a chump. Then I learned about being respected. I looked around and saw that people that were respected had limits on what people could demand of them or ask them to do. They were almost feared to some level and for such women; the men approaching them definitely didn’t call them ‘bitch’ or ‘ho’. In time, I learned how to say no and how to stand up for myself more…and that’s where the trouble started. That is when I found out my true friends from the freeloaders and opportunists. Some people even got mad at me for refusing to inconvenience myself for their own gain and that’s when my eyes really opened. If I had loved myself all along, I wouldn’t have allowed myself to be treated like a doormat. I hope that I am making sense with this. This why I say that self-love can be difficult; you might have to even lay down the law to friends that have taken advantage of you for years at the risk of losing them. I promise you that you will feel better about yourself at the end of the day and you’ll finally have the time/money to do things for yourself that you have been putting off for years.
I think that to an extent, men find this concept easier to embrace then women because they are taught to accept themselves they way they are more than we ladies are. I mean how many times have to seen a man with a huge beer belly walking around topless once the sun is out? Women are not so forgiving of themselves or each other; it is more difficult for us to do things for ourselves and not give a damn what anyone else thinks. This is not in the context of your responsibilities (like feeding your kids or paying the rent) but rather the image you have of yourself. If you can love yourself enough, then you can accept what hand you’ve been dealt; the rest of it is to make the best of your situation to your advantage. I feel bad for saying that, but it’s true. The bottom line is that, no matter how much you can love a person, we are born alone and we will leave the world alone. Those are two facts of life that will never ever change.
If you are not currently in a relationship at time of reading this, then I urge you take the time to get to know yourself. Know what you like and what you don’t like. Know what you’ll accept and what you won’t. Know what you can compromise on etc. Don’t put the basis of your existence on the whims of another person, because if it all falls apart tomorrow you’ll be left picking up the pieces and wondering what to do next. No matter what anybody tells you, self-love is important to your body and soul. It might even help you do that diet that you’ve been promising yourself that you would do, or in my case, write that novel that you’ve been wanting to write for the longest. After reading this today, I urge you to go and think about your life and all the sacrifices that you’ve made for the sake of others. Think about the good sacrifices and the bad ones too; think about why you made them. Then think about the sacrifices that you are prepared to make for your own mental health and wellbeing. Loving one’s self usually comes with putting in the work to get that sense of achievement at the end of the road. You can’t really complain about your situation in life if you don’t take the initiative to do everything that is within your power to improve it. If that means taking a short course or even speaking more clearly and to be understood (i.e. cutting our the slang and being well spoken), then do it. They may be small steps, but they make all the difference. If you are trying to make your life better (as an act of self-love) and your significant other isn’t comfortable with it, then you need to ask yourself if they really did love you in the first place. A person that truly loves you would want to you get better and improve yourself; someone that just wants you in their life for the sake of their own convince won’t. Loving yourself is a learned skill that will help you be able to tell the difference.
Going back to the advice that my best friend gave me back in the day; she is someone that was very much loved and encouraged by her parents as a child. I think that it helped her as an adult to be proactive in the self-love department; for the record she is one of those women that a man would never dream of taking advantage of. It’s as if they can smell the fact that she would cut them down in a minute if they even tried. At the same time she is very feminine and approachable. As you can probably tell, I learned a lot from her. The point I’m trying to make is for parents to show love to their little girls a much as possible, so that when they fall in love for that first time, they will be able (to an extent) to tell the difference between true love and fakery. Fathers especially need to love their daughters if they are in their lives; single mothers can only teach a young girl so much and only a man can truly tell his daughter how a real man should treat her (of course this is just my opinion and observation).
Finally just to nail it in; one of the most important things in life is the ability to love one’s self. If you don’t then you could probably fail in your relationship. You can be manipulated and abused if you don’t love yourself. Don’t be a victim.
Next week's law is: Law number 2 - Love thy neighbour
Please leave me some comments and discussion about today's law below