What is love?
From a very young age on we learn that love is something we can give to others and it is something we receive from others. We don’t usually learn about loving ourselves so the habit of doing so is never properly formed in the first place. And then we have parents. Ideally, they take the responsibility to teach us about the world and prepare us for life. Inevitably they fall into the reward and punishment method – tending to reward us with love when we meet their expectations and punish us when we fail to do so. We learn about the concept of being a lovable person by seeking to meet other people’s expectations – making people proud and happy to be loved in return.
Selfish vs. Selfless
One of the biggest lessons our parents teach us is to not be selfish. My parents and teachers preached: “I comes last!” We always have to sacrifice our own happiness for the happiness of everyone around us if that’s for the greater good, this is what defines a good person – and this is why the world is how it is. Indeed.
If it was so good to always put ourselves last it’d make us incredibly happy, wouldn’t it? Yet so many people are constantly complaining about the sacrifices they are making for others, never having the strength or time to pay attention to themselves. Maybe it’s courage they are lacking. Courage to look in the mirror and be happy about who they are and what they do. Oh what, they aren’t happy you say? … Right. It’s hard to be happy and love yourself when all the big decisions you’ve made in life based on other people’s ideals and expectations.
It is what it is: a social standard.
But funny how, if you step back and look at it from another perspective, the constant effort of keeping a selfless image, in essence, is the most selfish thing one can ever do. Besides, being selfless never buys you the right to play the victim and cry about how you always are the one who comes short. Especially in the case of parents, where parents expect their children to make sacrifices in return – it’s not about selflessness.
You see, people don’t care about being selfless as much as about making others think and say that of them. Everyone wants to be a good person. Yet it is in our nature to be selfish. Personality tests are so popular because people want to know more about themselves. Why would that be the case if we all were truly – selfless?
So how do we love ourselves?
The only thing standing in the way towards self-love is the mental block of “allowance” or “approval” to go and explore ourselves, the world and make personal decisions based on our own likes and wishes, regardless of what other people think. What are you afraid of? Others laughing at or scolding you if you make a mistake? Mistakes are inevitable in life. Make your own and learn from them rather than regretting the mistakes others have led you into.