Small Step - Love Yourself

What is self-love?

We hear a lot about self-love, but what is self-love really? That is an interesting question to ponder. In our overachieving society many people believe that self-love means getting everything we want, being completely successful, and achieving all our goals. This definition is focused on external rewards and acknowledgement, but that is not what self-love really is and it can never leave us feeling satisfied because of it’s very reliance on factors outside of ourselves, beyond our control.

Real self-love is loving ourselves whether we are doing well, or not so well in life. It's loving ourselves right where we are in any given situation, even if we're not where we want to be. In my life one of the things I've struggled with since I was a teenager is my weight. I've been overweight since I was 17 years old and I've spent the better part of my life trying to fix that. I can be really hard on myself and judge myself relentlessly. At times I feel weak, stupid, lazy, unmotivated, fat, hopeless, and anything else that I can think of to describe a worthless person. I've believed that everyone else has this amazing will power, but not me. I've had a continuous underlying feeling of shame. When I think about self-love in this context I can see that it's something I've always wanted, but it's something I've not been willing to give myself until I achieve this goal of losing weight. Since I've never achieved this, I haven’t allowed myself to really love myself for most of my life.

Over the past several years with the help of RTT, I am discovering what it means to really love myself. I now know that I can finally stop beating myself up for not being perfect. I still judge myself because as a certified RTT therapist I believe I'm supposed to be perfect in order to help others, but I now understand that nobody is perfect and that sometimes this eternal quest for perfection is the source of our pain, it is the very thing that keeps us stuck in self-hatred. By not being perfect I open the space to allow my clients to not be perfect; to realize, understand and feel that they are enough right now. This knowing is the foundation of self-love.

Marisa Peer, the founder of RTT, says that the one thing that is most needed in our society is believing that we are enough. I couldn't agree more, and the fact that we are enough does not come when we get the perfect body, the perfect house, the perfect job, the first million, the loving relationship, or anything else for that matter. The truth that we are enough is not dependent on the outside, it is here now, it is who we are, it is who we have always been, and it is who we always will be.

What if we decided that the purpose of our lives is to be curious, to learn, to explore, and to grow rather than the elusive quest for perfection? If we can shift our focus to this new purpose we open up the opportunity to love ourselves just the way we are, with all our imperfections. If we can give this gift to ourselves then we have so much more to offer others. We can rediscover the joy and passion of a child, let go of self-judgement, love ourselves, and transform the world.