The Guilt of "Self Love"
Over the years I have heard so many times "You have to learn to love yourself!" But I have a confession to make: just hearing that made me feel guilty.
the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime
So, for years I stayed trapped in the prison of "put others first." On the surface, this sounds really noble. In fact, our culture glorifies people who "sacrifice themselves" for the sake of others. What I know now that I didn't know then is this: that all out "love others" life is full of trap doors!
Let me explain.
I do believe that loving others requires sacrifice. It may be inconvenient and downright uncomfortable at times. But what love NEVER DOES is require you to give up on your own value! This is one of the key differences between love that heals and love that hurts.
Simply put: If you have to dishonor yourself to "love others," it is NOT love!
I discovered that my guilt was coming from my failure to honor myself. My feelings. My values. My beliefs. I was not honoring myself and it was this self-dishonor that was leading to those feelings of guilt. I was "offending" myself by giving up who I was created to be.
I don't want you to be stuck like I was for so many years. I want you to understand WHO you are so that you can honor your own unique creation. When you learn how to honor yourself, you can break free from the "guilt-love" trap. You can extend yourself in an authentic way and show up in the world as "YOU."
When you show up as the Unique "YOU" that you were created to be, you will begin attracting people who find you loveable.
Here are the trap doors that you need to avoid on your journey along with some simple strategies to break free.
Trap Door #1
"If I don't do it, they won't like me."
Most of us want people to like us. It helps us to feel accepted and gives us a sense of belonging. But "adjusting" what you think, how you feel, and what you believe to accommodate others is NOT the way out. Doing this will only leave you feeling frustrated and like an imposter.
Strategy #1: Learn to like yourself. Take some time to sit down and write out all of the positive qualities about yourself. What do others praise in you? What do you do well? What activities make you feel energized and leave you peaceful? Love and appreciate yourself before seeking it from others. Learn more about this in my post "Learning to Love Your Unique."
Trap Door #2
"If I don't do it, they will leave me."
This trap door is closely related to the first one. We want to "belong" or have that connection to a person. So, we give up on being authentic to embrace their idea of who we should be. Our thought process goes something like "If I just do this, they will accept me and stay." Can I tell you a secret? Some people are not worth your company. If they can't love your UNIQUE, you will be in a forever loop of changing to meet other people's expectations. And in that process you will lose yourself.
Strategy #2: Learn to enjoy your own company. Adopt a "spirit of adventure" approach to your life. Go to different places with no intention other than to "hang out" with yourself. Read a good book. Meditate. Pray. Go for a walk. Go "window shopping." Visit your local museum or library. Find a nice spot in nature to sit and absorb your surroundings. Developing patterns of "alone" time will help you avoid panic when someone exits your life. Check out this post on "5 Ways to Break Free from Loneliness."
Trap Door #3
"If I do it, they will love me more."
Selling yourself out is not the way to get love. Sometimes, we have to face the uncomfortable truth that some people have reached their "love out" capacity. They simply cannot give any more because they do not have it to give. You giving your heart, soul, and whatever else will NOT create a capacity for them to love you more. The only thing it will create is resentment of the person for not giving you what you feel like you deserve.
Strategy #3: The first question you need to ask is "Will this dishonor me in any way?" If the answer to that question is "Yes," then doing it will only make you feel more guilty which can lead to deep-seated resentment and anger. Exercise your "No" as I explain in this post on .
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