Frequently, when I start to work with a new client, they believe that loving their self is selfish. Nothing could be further from the truth. A more accurate definition of "selfish" is expecting others to give themselves up and do for you what you can and need to be doing for yourself.
Letting Others Off the Hook
How are others let off the hook when you love yourself? Let us count the ways!
- Others don't need to read your mind when you are meeting many of your own needs, and asking outright when there is something you need help with.
Others don't need to hold back, be careful or walk on eggshells when you are taking care of your own feelings. Others can receive great joy in giving to you when they don't feel obligated. Others can speak their truth when they know that you are open to learning and wanting to grow. They can be honest when they know that you will deal with your own feelings rather than blame them. Others are free to take loving care of themselves when they know you are doing the same, and that you support them in their highest good as part of being loving to yourself. Others can be spontaneous with you, knowing that if they "make a mistake" you will take responsibility for your own feelings about it. Others feel free to be with you because they want to, not because they feel they have to. In a primary relationship, your partner will likely feel attracted to you when you are coming from your power rather than from your fear. If your partner feels obligated to have sex with you because you have made him or her responsible for your happiness and sense of worth, your partner is likely to feel resistant to sex with you. Laughter, fun and play flow spontaneously when neither person feels responsible for the other's feelings, or feels obligated to spend time, give approval or have sex.Each person feels free to pursue their passion and purpose, knowing that their partner is taking care of themselves and not waiting for the other person to make them happy.
Loving partnerships are about learning, growing and sharing love and companionship. They are not about taking responsibility for making the other person feel happy, safe, secure or validated. Paradoxically, when you fully take on the responsibility of making yourself feel happy, safe, secure and validated, a loving relationship supports and enhances these wonderful feelings. But when you expect your partner to do this for you, then your self-abandonment creates your misery, insecurity and lack of self-worth. As long as you are abandoning yourself and expecting your partner to do for you what only you can do for yourself, your partner's love will never be enough to give you the happiness, safety, security and sense of worth that you seek.
- Attending, moment by moment, to your own feelings, so that you know immediately when you are abandoning yourself with self-judgment, addictions, staying in your head or making someone else responsible for you.
Compassionately opening to learning about your own fears and beliefs that may be causing your self-abandonment, and open to learning about what it means to be present and loving to yourself in the face of life's challenges. Exploring your limiting beliefs and resulting behavior that may be causing your painful feelings. Opening to your higher self for information about the truth regarding your beliefs, and the loving action toward yourself. Taking loving action in your own behalf, based on truth rather than on false, limiting beliefs.Evaluating how you feel as a result of taking loving care of yourself.
This is a brief outline of the Six Steps of Inner Bonding, which is a powerful process for learning how to love yourself!
For more by Margaret Paul, Ph.D., click here.
For more on mindfulness, click here.