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Many of us know that we need to be loving to ourselves, but what does this actually mean?

A lot of us have never encountered educational curriculum when we were growing up regarding how to love ourselves. It's often challenging to know what loving ourselves looks like.

Sarah asks:

"All I know about "loving oneself" is to not let anyone (anymore) abuse me in any way, including yelling, criticizing me, etc. As I write this, it sounds like I just described "protecting myself", so maybe I don't know what loving myself REALLY means. I would love to hear your definition." 

Loving yourself doesn't mean:

  • I'm just going to take care of me. Too bad if others don't like it.

  • I will ignore my feelings.

  • I am going to numb my feelings with addictions.
  • I'm not responsible for how my behavior affects people.

  • I will be hard on myself to make myself better.
  • If someone loves me, they will do what I want (whatever that is).
  • I'll put my full attention on others and sacrifice myself for them, only so that they will put their full attention on me and sacrifice themselves for me.
  • When I'm hurting it's not my fault, it's up to someone else to fix it.
  • Since I need attention and approval to feel good about myself, it's okay for me to do whatever I can to get what I need – such as being sly, angry, or withdrawing my love from others.
  • I don’t need to worry about how I feel physically and health wise.

  Man wearing a hat that says "love your neighbour"

Loving yourself does mean:

  • I am responsible for learning to manage and regulate my own feelings.
  • I define my own worth and give myself the attention I need, so that I am not in need of getting this from others.

  • I will do activities that I enjoy, and be proud of my achievements.
  • I am responsible for managing my time, my space and my finances in ways that make me feel safe and don't place an unnecessary burden on anyone else.
  • I can learn how to access a spiritual source of love so that I can share love with others.
  • I am responsible for taking care of my physical well-being – eating healthy foods, getting exercise and getting enough sleep.
  • I will take time for myself, to be alone and connected to my reality.
  • There are times when it is loving to me to put myself aside for others.

It took me many years of inner work to discover what loving myself looks like for me, and it may be different for you, since each of us has different things that make us feel loved and important. What makes you feel loved and important?


Margaret PaulAbout Margaret Paul
Dr. Margaret Paul is a bestselling author, popular Huffington Post and MindBodyGreen writer and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, and the related SelfQuest® self-healing software program - recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. She has appeared on numerous radio and television shows (including Oprah). Her book titles include "Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved By You" (and subsequent titles "Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved By God," and "...By My Kids"), "Healing Your Aloneness" and "Inner Bonding." Margaret holds a PhD in psychology, is a relationship expert, public speaker, consultant and artist. She has successfully worked with thousands and taught classes and seminars for over 48 years. Margaret lives in Colorado. She has three children and three grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves to play with her grandchildren, paint, read, make pottery and kayak.
Website: http://www.innerbonding.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/innerbondinghttp://www.facebook.com/SelfQuest
Twitter: http://twitter.com/innerBonding
Originally posted on: http://www.innerbonding.com/show-article/3472/what-does-it-mean-to-love-yourself.html