SELF LOVE- There is no love story greater, deeper, or richer than the one we have with ourselves…

SELF LOVE- There is no love story greater, deeper, or richer than the one we have with ourselves…

People sometimes ask me who is my most favorite person? Who is it that inspires me? Who would I like to be with, if you were deserted on an uninhabited island. Who would I like to go on a date with? They are quite taken aback when I say “myself”!

I am not embarrassed to say that I love myself. Perhaps more than I love anybody else. I have abundant love for my child, my dogs and my family. But above all — I love and respect myself. As I am the creator of my own destiny I can’t go where I want to go — till the very end , without completely utterly and undoubtedly loving myself… not just my strengths, but my weaknesses and every one of my flaws.

But I was not always like this. I grew up in an environment where I was taught to be smart and ambitious, but I was also taught to put others before me. I was taught that girls need to be a certain way — not too fat or too thin, not too loud nor too meek. I was taught to fit into other people’s expectations of my body, my behavior and perhaps even my mind. What should a typically upper middle class Indian girl / woman be like? I was told to try and “fit into” that image. Be the woman that people get to love, respect and accept.

I don’t blame my parents. They gave me far more education, courage and ambition than most girls get in this country. However, they also lived in a society where girls were expected to be a “certain way” to gain social acceptance.

It was much later in life — perhaps in my 30’s that I began to realize that I was becoming a “people pleaser”. I would ask myself what will make everyone else happy? In the process of pleasing others I had lost myself.

When I got the chance to live outside India and be exposed to a broader world, I started slowly discovering what I like and what I want. I was forced to take an 18 month break from work. All my life I had done one thing after the other — like most people. School, college, post grad and then work. Every morning I woke up with purpose to go out and “deliver”. It was a journey of experiments to actually find out what is it that I really like to do –for myself. What makes me happy? What sparks’s joy? What really feeds my soul?

It was over that course of 18 months that my journey of self-love started and there has been no looking back. I know it sounds cheesy — but I am my most favorite person in the world. There is no love story greater, deeper or richer than the one we have with ourselves. Self-love, self-esteem and confidence is also the foundation of all our relationships. We cannot be successful in any of our relationships unless we learn to love ourselves first. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship in the world. And let no one tell you otherwise. This is particularly important for women.

From childhood we are taught the importance of taking care of our bodies — our physical health, but rarely is the discussion focused on the mind and the art of self-love, self-esteem and emotional hygiene. How do you deal with failure, rejection and loneliness?

Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows by actions. When we act in ways that expand self-love, we learn to accept and embrace our weaknesses and not just our strengths.

So how can we work on self-love?

· Take good care of yourself –Not just physical but mental health. Learn to talk to yourself. Words of encouragement and pep talk.

· Mindfulness and being intentional in the way you live. Being present in the moment and living that moment with full awareness

· Learn to discover what sparks joy — and work on accumulating those moments

· Do what you need and not what you want. There is a difference. Learn to do thing that are good for you and learn to say No to things that don’t add value or joy.

· Protect yourself — always. Protect yourself physically and mentally. Walk away from situations, people and work which is abusive. Don’t wait for that proverbial last straw to break on the camel’s back. Press the self-eject button.

· Quit! — Yes you don’t hear that often. Cut out negative people from your life. This is easier said than done. We can have 100’s of friends — but there are some people who are special. Learn to focus your energies to go deeper and richer in those relationships and cut out people who bring negativity in your life.

· Forgive yourself. Learn to forgive yourself for the mistakes that you have committed in the past. Bad relationships, bad decisions, bad career choices. Learn to live and appreciate each day like it is the first day of the rest of your life.

· Gratitude — That you are! Yes gratitude that you have the opportunity to breathe and live and go through this journey of life as a human being.

Always remember that the most important relationship that you will have in your life — is with yourself. Learn to treat yourself with love, respect and care.

SELF LOVE- There is no love story greater, deeper, or richer than the one we have with ourselves… was originally published in andwemet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.