This is an amazingly complex topic. It is in fact, essential to love yourself to lead a fulfil life, yet there is a delicate balance of how much. Too much loving yourself can become self-egoism, ‘I am the centre of the universe’ to all the way of being narcissistic, then there is selfless love as a conscious choice all the way to ‘I am not worthy of love, not even from myself’. And somewhere in the middle is that perilous tight rope of ‘just about the ‘right’ amount of love’.
It is a bit like picking the petals off the daisy one by one and saying – ‘I love me, I love me not, I love me, I love me not’.
To the right of you yawns the enormous chasm of ‘I love me not’, this is where many find themselves and it is where you always put yourself down or last and have a very low self-concept. To the left of you, gapes the great gulf of ‘I love me’ and although this is what you want, too much is not a good thing as you head towards being egotistical. You may feel you teeter perilously on the tight rope in between so here are some statements for you to help you decide:
1. I put others first
2. I buy the most expensive clothes
3. I do what I want first
4. I eat from a menu by price not choice
5. I finish up the left overs
6. I watch TV even if there are things to be done
7. I use the best body care products
8. I make ‘me-time’ the last thing to do
9. I consider others before I act
10. I talk more than listen
Where do you perch on the tight rope of self-love between putting yourself last or first? Rank yourself on the above ten statements as Never, Sometimes or Always.
Saying ‘always’ to questions 1,4,5,8,9 indicates you put yourself last and saying ‘always’ to questions 2,3,6,7,10 indicates you put yourself first, ‘sometimes’ may be the perfect answers here.
Is this a gender differentiated topic? Maybe not as much as in the days gone by, but still it seems that women are more likely to be the ‘put me last’ and the men, ‘put me first’. Please do contact us and let us know if you agree or not.
Let’s explore the chasm of ‘I love me not’ and the gulf of ‘I love me’. Whether you, or someone close to you are in one of the pits, or you are trying to maintain this difficult balance, these following ideas may help.
The chasm of ‘I love me not’
Where does this mind set come from?
Is it from a feeling of duty? Was a parental edict, value or model to ‘Always put others first’?
Or is it from a lack of self-concept and self-worth ‘I do not deserve it’?
Were you punished for any self-acts as, ‘You are too self-centred’?
Or do you choose to put other’s needs before yours?
When considering where these thoughts may have come from, ask yourself; are these thoughts valid and appropriate for who you are today.
A friend and I were talking about this and she said, ‘We need to remember that they say to put your own oxygen mask on first, before you help others’, brilliant! And what a perfect metaphor.
If you think this is where you fit, just for today, do one small act where you put yourself before or at least on the same plane as another. A simple example is when there is some fresh bread and a bit left over, which do you eat? Just for today, eat the fresh bread, you deserve it just as much!
And I can hear you say the voice in your head is saying ‘But that is greedy, selfish (and in the example above, may be wasteful) behaviour’, hence the tight rope analogy. Finding the perfect balance is not easy!
The gulf of ‘I love me – too much’
Where does egotistical and narcissistic behaviour come from?
Were you overly pampered when you were young?
Do you feel grandiose and infallible?
Do you believe that you are the best and deserve the best?
Do you feel rules are not for you?
If you have self-centred, narcissistic tendencies, you may not be aware. The first thing to do is to ask someone close to you. They may say that you are – a bit! Well, if you are just self-centred you will probably be upset and may I suggest that you ask those close to you, to show you how to consider others a bit more. If you are truly narcissistic, you won’t care or bother.
Finding the ‘self-love’ balance
How to balance on the tight rope of enough self-love? Here are some useful actions to take:
1. Having answered the questions above, what was your score? Maybe try moving one of the ‘always’ responses to at least a ‘sometimes’ as a way to try to balance a little better.
2. Check your BEAT! This is taken from the 8-steps of Mind Chi where you check your Body, Emotions, Actions and Thoughts in the moment, allowing you to make any changes you feel necessary. An example would be: Body – you let people push in front of you; Emotions – you are happy to let a few in, but some were really aggressive and demanding; Actions – you pull back and give in; Thoughts – I am not deserving of it anyway. However; by taking hold of your balance pole you: Body – put your shoulders back and stand firm; Emotions – you will be cooperative, but not a pushover; Actions – you make sure that you get your fair turn; Thoughts – I have made an equal effort to be here, I deserve it.
Use your BEAT as a quick check to see if you are loving yourself appropriately.
3. Whatever you scored, take a little ‘you’ time and maybe start a journal or notebook. It can be ten minutes with a cup of tea, just to assess where you are on the self-love tight rope and if it is where you wish to be, both for your own well-being and that of those close to you.
Please let us know if this provides you with that all-important balance pole to traverse the tight rope of self-love.
The link for the 8-steps of Mind Chi is here: http://www.mindchi.com/mind-chi-basic-8-steps/
The Holistic Life Coach
Holistic & Natural Solutions for Health and Wellbeing