Self love is a buzzword these days, but it is more than that. Learning to love ourselves comes from acceptance, and can help us be more open in our other relationships too.
Like Whitney Houston says in the song, "Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all."
Self Love comes from self acceptance.
In the last few years, I have been on a journey to find inner peace. Along the way I have taken up yoga and meditation, gone to therapy for trauma and taken a mindset coaching program.
One of the big "ah-ha" moments for me happened on a fairly average day, I woke up feeling very anxious almost to the point of being in a panic. I was angry with myself. I started wondering if I was always going to feel that way. Then I decided that maybe I needed to just accept that maybe I would always feel anxious and upset over little things, or over nothing at all.
With acceptance came peace.
Self love and self acceptance are actually Buddhist principles. According to Buddhability, "The starting point of Buddhism is that each person has the ability to become happy just as they are. The type of love that actually contributes to our self-confidence and self-worth is based on realizing that we have unlimited courage, wisdom and compassion—just as we are."
Buddhism teaches us that life is suffering, and that to find peace we have to release our attachment to outcomes.
According to World History, the four noble truths of Buddhism are,
Life is suffering
The cause of suffering is craving
The end of suffering comes with an end to craving
There is a path which leads one away from craving and suffering
When we crave to be different than we are, it takes us away from our true nature, as boundless compassionate beings. The way I understand it, compassion is the deepest form of love. Compassion is the combination of love and kindness. When we have compassion for someone, we accept them as they are.
Acceptance is the beginning of love.
But what is acceptance? You may think that if you accept yourself, you stop trying to move forward or improve. That isn't the case. You can accept yourself and your life as they are, and still try to better yourself.
According to Better Up, many of us struggle with Self-Acceptance because,
We tend to hide, neglect, and reject the parts of ourselves we consider unacceptable. We would rather change them than accept them.
Although it might seem counterintuitive, total self-acceptance can actually help us change the aspects of ourselves that we might be less fond of. Having an awareness of our limitations is the first step on the path of personal growth and is a sign of emotional intelligence.
Self-acceptance doesn’t just mean accepting our negative qualities and giving up on changing them.
On the contrary, it means being aware of our weaknesses without having any emotional attachment to them. This self-awareness can help us improve our behavior and build better habits.
By accepting ourselves as we are, we lower our defenses. We stop trying to fight against what we are. We let go of pride, fear, shame and bravado. We stop pretending to be something else. Acceptance is lowering a mask that we put on for society. Once we take off the mask and step into who we truly are, we have become our truest selves.
It is only once we actually are ourselves, that we can love ourselves.
Often, we don't accept ourselves because we think that others won't accept us. In my case, I rejected the parts of myself that were hurt and fragile, the parts of me that were anxious and fearful, because I wanted to portray myself as being strong and capable. It was only once I could accept that parts of myself were fragile that I could start caring for myself.
If we pretend that we aren't sick, we aren't going to seek out a doctor to get well. We are just putting on a face of wellness to the world. But that doesn't mean we are well. If I had been pretending not to have cancer, it wouldn't make the cancer go away. That is the same with any flaw that we perceive within ourselves. We have to acknowledge them to be able to heal them.
Acceptance is important with children too.
When we accept our children as they are, it lets them know that we truly love them. This allows us to have relationships with our kids that are based on openness and trust. It lets our children know that we will love them no matter what, even if they do something wrong, or have flaws.
Acceptance doesn't mean we condone bad behavior. It just means that we love them in spite of any bad behavior.
The more we love our children from a place of compassion, the more we are able to forgive. The more we forgive, the more it allows our children to be open with us, because they know that they aren't going to be judged. This can help us to inspire our children to be their best selves, because they will be living from a place of acceptance themselves, instead of from fear.
When we accept our children as they are, it allows them to be stronger people and gives them a foundation that they can grow from.
Learning to love and accept ourselves fully helps us to be more compassionate people. Attitudes of compassion help us to be more kind to ourselves, and our children. When we act with compassion, it helps us to be more open and trusting. A foundation of openness and trust allows us to grow and become our best selves.
When we are compassionate with our children, it allows them to feel safe and to trust us. This makes our relationship with our children from which they are able to grow and become their best selves too.
If you find this article helpful, and would like to be kept in the loop with announcements from Millenial Mom, sign up for my mailing list! When you sign up, you will also receive my FREE Resource Toolkit which contains:
Over 30 Pages worth of FREE Resources! Self Care Checklist Morning Routine Checklist Study Skills Checklist Health and Wellness Checklist Affirmations Goal Planning Worksheets Some for you, and some to use for the kids.
If this article resonates with you, let me know what you think in the comments. How do you apply self love and self acceptance?
As always, please also let me know in the comments if there are other topics you would like me to write about in the future. Please feel free to give this a share on your socials too.