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Monday, September 17, 2012

13 Reasons to Love Yourself



Love is an adventure of discovery, whether the object of your love is a person, place, idea, or even your own self. Love involves desiring to know and serve someone or something that we love, and then setting out to explore and support the beloved through all seasons. The act of loving stretches us beyond our ordinary wants and needs, to include the desires and essentials of the one we love. The process of loving reveals and creates us as surely as it weaves an unbreakable bond between us and the object of our love, even when our service is unknown to the beloved. The love we offer serves to fulfill primal needs of our beloved: to be seen and acknowledged, understood and accepted, wanted and chosen. Likewise, our essential need to be useful is also satisfied. In a mysterious way that supports rather than diminishes our individuality and autonomy, we belong to what we love, and together we belong to Love itself, to that universal force that is infinitely grander than our individual selves. Lover and beloved, then, each has cause to feel safer in being fully ourselves, to give birth to and sustain the light and shadow of our being, no matter where be-ing leads us, and when.
When a person genuinely loves her or his own self, all of us win. Authentic self-love is an essential element of any healthy relationship between two human beings or 2 billion, or between a human and the Earth. Here are 13 reasons that self-love is an awesome part of a healthy love diet:
  1. The more completely you love yourself, the more fully you can love others.
  2. When you love yourself, you are better able to identify your passions, and more likely to live out of them, resulting in greater abundance for you and others.
  3. When you love yourself, you are more likely to make authentic choices about what you do, where you go, and how you act.
  4. You'll also have greater access to qualities within you such as courage, discipline, and perseverance that are necessary for fully living your dreams.
  5. When you love yourself, you may deter, counteract, or even endure bullying. Kids and adults who consciously love themselves are less likely to bully others, more likely to intervene when they witness bullying, and less likely to take a bully's hurtful words and actions to heart.
  6. Genuine self-love unleashes creativity in work and play and in personal and professional relationships.
  7. People like being around and supporting those who treat themselves lovingly. I'm not suggesting that we should do or be anything inauthentic simply to attract companions. However, humans are social creatures, and the reality is that love-filled people attract us.
  8. Even authentic self-love doesn't always translate into good feelings. But the woman who treats herself with love, even when she doesn't feel great about herself, is more likely to offer life-giving love to other people who don't seem so worthy of it, but are in dire need of it.
  9. When you love yourself, you are more likely to treat your body in healthy ways. You'll eat better, be more active, and get sufficient rest.
  10. You are also more likely to treat your mind in healthy ways. You'll educate yourself about things you consider important and exercise your creativity to solve problems.
  11. You are more likely to treat your heart in healthy ways. You'll pay attention to your emotions and the insights they may bear.
  12. And you are more likely to treat your spirit in healthy ways. You'll look at the interdependent whole of life, of which you are but a part, and you'll look for ways to make significant contributions to us out of your giftedness.
  13. Finally, life is so much more fun when you're in love... with yourself!
No doubt there are plenty of other awesome reasons to love yourself. Take some time to consider your history of loving and being loved. Within your stories you'll find more reasons for loving yourself as well as others.
I'd love to hear about them.
Tom McLaughlin, Jr. is a writer, teacher, speaker, and integrative coach. He earned a BA in English from the University of Notre Dame. His MA from Marylhurst University focused on Spiritual Traditions and Ethics, and his thesis explored the relationship between telling personal stories and being an authentic human being. Check out the e-book and audio program of "100 Ways to Love Yourself... And Why It Matters" at
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