I need your assistance, please.

I have been invited to write an article for a new online magazine, La belle vie Magazine, for it’s February edition. Since it’s the month of everyone’s favorite and least favorite Hallmark holiday, Valentine’s Day, my article is to be about love.

This is not meant to be another how to get it, hold onto it, reignite it article. It is actually meant to be about one of the most cliched and elusive forms of love I’ve heard of ~ self love.

I have heard it said many times in various ways, and I’m sure you have too: In order to truly love another, you must first love yourself. I want to move beyond the cliche, dig beneath the surface, and see past the obvious. I want to know what you think it means. I’m curious to see how you learned to love yourself or if it’s something you still struggle with, as I do. For those who have achieved the state of loving who you are, I am very interested in whether it was inherent in your nature or something that had to be nurtured.

My clock is ticking and I have a little over two weeks to write the article and have it ready. So, help me out and share, tweet, and most importantly leave a comment. If you don’t want to be named in the article, just include “Anonymous” or a nickname of your choice in the comment. Then I will do two things: 1) I will hide your comment from public view and 2) if I use your comment in the article, I will credit to whichever name you left. For those who leave a public comment, I will list your blog address in the credits section of my article. After all, even if I don’t quote your comment, what you offer will still contribute to my cogitation on the subject and influence what I write.

Blessings and thanks to you all.
Kina

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32 comments

  1. Hi Kina, a most worthy undertaking, and huge. Where does one start?

    One part of the question brings up the old “nature vs nurture”. I’ll jump over that because it all starts with just being here the way we are and our beginning begins with the driving force of need, it seems.

    So much of what happens is the interaction between us and our feeble attempts to get needs filled and the results from the environment we are in. This becomes a story of personal evolution and the rest of our life happens under changing conditions and inner adaptions, always driven by the same or similar need.

    Now, skip forward to my own present time. After 70 years in this world, I have been able to look back on my whole life experience which has given me quite a different view of myself and perspective on the world than what I had when I was 12, or 18, or 35, or even 60. I now understand love to be more of a choice, a verb, and action of giving of myself in some way to the world I am in. I understand that I came from love of the universe which accounts for my being here ultimately. God made all that is out of His own love because it was His nature to love and give of Himself so this brought all things into being including me. I was wanted, so I was made.

    The act of loving myself has come from understanding that I was and am part of the same creative passion, and learning to appreciate being a part of all that is. I am no less worthy of that love than anything or anyone else. I get a sense of it when I see and appreciate the beauty I see in other things of the world like trees, fishes, insects, a mountain, the ocean, the stars at night and so on forever. I can now see and begin to appreciate myself as being no less beautiful and worthy of the same appreciation as all these other things to an infinite degree.

    Now this story tells me that what has changed most is inside of me in the form of what I have come to believe, or chose to believe to be the truth of everything. My inner self, my soul, hungers for the
    TRUTH. So that is what I now value the most.

    The River

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  2. Hi Kina, you and your readers have inspired me so much. I find that I cannot answer your reply to my comment simply, because it is such a complex matter. As I am sure you are finding out. So I am going to reply in a post on my website as this is a subject very close to my heart. I feel it is in fact, the answer to most of today’s so called social problems. I am off to write it now and will be back with the link. Take care
    Athena x

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  3. You rock, girl!

    Reading your post I have to ask, “Do I love myself?” I like me a lot. If I were someone else, I’d really want to hang out with me (we have a lot in common, after all). But love is something I’ve always wondered about. My instinct is to say yes, the same way you might when asked if you love your children, instantly, reflexively. I just don’t know if that’s the truth. I’ve always felt like I wasn’t good enough, and I’m hyper-aware of my faults. That doesn’t mean I have no perspective, and I can’t see what’s good about me. I just seem to focus on the bad.

    I think real self-love and self-esteem come when you stop listening to the messages you get from society and other people, and are comfortable with yourself. You want to be in your own company. Which brings me back to my opening comment. I guess that means I love myself.

    Can’t wait to read the finished article.

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  4. That’s awesome that you were given this opportunity! It’s not surprising; you’re a great writer.

    Self love? This is definitely something I have struggled with all my life. I was never a fan of who I was, mentally or physically, most of my life. I attribute most of my issues to the environment I was raised in. I have been overweight my whole life. Back in middle school and high school, whenever I would try to wear something cute, my grandmother would tell me that I was too fat to wear that, I needed a bigger size, or that I should change my clothes. It really does a lot to someone’s self esteem to hear that on a daily basis.

    I’ve also struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life. I was constantly told that my way of thinking was wrong, that I should just be quiet, and that my opinions didn’t matter.

    It’s taken me a long time to realize that I can fix this and learn to love myself. I’ve been working on the mental and physical aspects for a while now. The physical party I’m still really struggling with. I’ve lost a bit off weight, try to focus on my good qualities, and am just generally trying to lose the rest of the weight by nurturing my body instead of hating the fat away.

    Fixing the mental aspect was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I surrounded myself with kind, loving people who brought out the best in me and showed me that I was worthwhile. My best friend, Megan, has been a huge part of this. She’s taught me to embrace my weirdness and how to make laugh at myself.

    Good luck with your article. I realize I really didn’t answer your questions… but I just wrote what came to mind.

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    1. Pam,
      Thank you so much for offering your perspective. Being able identify the things that get in the way of loving ourselves and where they originate from is important to the process of learning how to love yourself.

      Two things you shared are very interesting: First – learning to appreciate what is good about you and nurturing yourself instead of hating the fat away. Second – the idea of surrounding yourself with positive people who acknowledge and bring out your personal best.

      These are definitely components of loving yourself and I thank you for mentioning them.

      Be well,
      Kina

      Like

  5. Of all the times in my life, I have recently been going through the roughest patch of “self love” I’ve experienced. I only just last month started to blog about my experiences, feeling that it may be a means to an end in accepting what I have denied for years; I am a disabled veteran and I’ve had Fibromyalgia for 15 years and been trying to still be active, productive and hard-charging as I have always felt that I am, continuously to a fault. With the combination of widespread body pain, depression and the worst chronic anxiety I have ever had, I am beginning to face the idea of permanent disability. This includes putting in for SSDI and accepting that I may never work again, in the classic sense of the word. The conflict that arises inside my head from that is overwhelming and I am daily questioning my value as a human, my worth, my self-esteem (whatever that is) and what joy my life could possibly hold as a result. I reach out as often as I feel is necessary to run ideas by the best of friends and try to validate my existance. I have found that whatever my new “normal” will be, I must focus on myself – care about myself, take care of myself and I must remember (somehow) that I am worth it; I am worth taking care of and I am worthy of my best. I have experiences and knowledge that may help someone else somewhere down the line, so I must not give up on myself and in so doing – I will be there for others as well.

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    1. Adaftlifer,
      That is amazing and such a challenge. Shifting and adjusting the ideas of what makes us worth loving. Thank you so much for sharing. I think that remembering we always have something that we could use and share to benefit others is a critical tool in combatting depression and negative self perception.

      Blessings,
      Kina

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  6. What a great question, and tricky to answer so I think your article will help a lot of people to start being conscious of self-love. For me, it’s a conscious choice especially when that annoying critical voice starts up in my head. It’s taken years of practice and sometimes it’s harder than others, but I can now listen to the critic, weigh up what it’s saying and decide if it’s valid or not – that process usually just takes a second by the way. Then I use the releasing technique to let go of any old feelings that it brings up, and I state “and anything else connected to it” – cos digging around in the old experiences is just too exhausting I find 🙂 I think what makes all of this easier too, is a daily meditation practice – I just do about 15 – 20 mins, overall when I’m more calm I can more easily deal with that critical voice! Hope that helps 🙂

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    1. Sandra,
      Thank you so very much! I appreciate the practical tools you explained to use as part of the practice.

      The inner critic isn’t always easy to escape or subdue. Listening to what it’s saying and measuring its validity is good advice.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,
      Kina

      Like

  7. Well done Kina, you deserve it. This has been a hard one for me, self love, because I always put others before myself, in the past. It is about being your own best friend, cutting yourself a bit of slack. listening and respecting the opinions of others (if they are given respectfully) but not putting them before your own. it is about recognising your own talents and not just those of others. It is about loving yourself as much as you love others. it is about boundaries being put down respectfully to others. it is about eventually, looking in the mirror and saying to yourself I am a good person, I am worth alot, I matter. You can fake it till you make it, replacing your negitive thought patterns with more postive ones. it is about realising you do not have to do anything to be worthy, you were born worthy. In conclusion, it is about raising yourself up alongside others and not below them. Hope this helps.

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    1. Athena,
      Thank you so much my friend. I value your feedback and input so much. What would you say was your catalyst to realizing you needed to learn to love you and what were the tools or examples you identified and used to make that transition in your life?

      Blessings,
      Kina

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  8. I love what the Apostle Paul wrote in a letter to his friends, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (bondage to sin.)” (Galatians 5:1) Knowing that the blood of Christ has covered my sins in order to free me (paying the penalty I deserve) is a love that I cannot replicate but am obliged to honor. I am ever grateful for the changes He has made in me and in knowing that He is not done! “For God so loved the world that He gave . . . ” Praise Him! ( :

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  9. Kina, Well, this was timely. I was searching for something to blog about when your e-mail came in. Instant inspiration! Rather than leave a comment, as my response is rather long, I’m attaching it here. If you can use, great; if not, no biggie. Hope it’s helpful.

    thanks, Melissa

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  10. Loving your self is something that I think you learn to do as you become an adult. I say this statement for adults that were not treated the way should have been when they were children. I had a very abusive childhood and I don’t think that I truly learned to love myself until my late 20’s. I am in my early 30’s now and I still struggle with it. I know now that I am worth it, I am one of God’s children and God loves me, therefore, I should love myself and believe in myself. Once I learned to love myself and believe that I was worthy a wonderful man came into my life and into my children’s lives. I believe that this happened because I was ready mentally and emotionally to be loved just the way God intended me to be. I am very happy with my life now and not only in love with myself but also in love with life!

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    1. Beth,
      Thank you so much for responding.

      You speak of God’s love and state “Once I learned to love myself.” Can you offer some specific things that spoke to the abused child you were that helped you realize you were loved and were worth love? What things did you practice or tools did you use in learning to love you?

      Blessings,
      Kina

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    1. El Guapo,
      No pressure and no worries. I wonder if the most amazing woman in the universe might have any ideas? You obviously had to have something going on and see something in her, right?

      Thanks for your encouragement.

      Be well,
      Kina

      Like

  11. I’m fine with being quoted and so forth.

    I have struggled with the whole “self-love” thing myself. I think most people with a history of anxiety or some other mood disorder probably are in the same boat. What helps me is to try and see how God loves me as an individual. I can imagine God loving all of humanity as a group, but I also have to remember that God loves each and every individual who is a part of humanity, including you and me.

    What does God love about me? It’s certainly not my “perfect” lifestyle, because it isn’t. It’s not that He made me better looking or more talented than a lot of other people, because He didn’t. I have to conclude that He loves me like a parent loves a child, not because of what the child does but because of who he or she is. God loves me and all of us as unique individuals just because we need love and we are designed by God to require love in order to live.

    In the darkest pit of my life, in order to rise, I have had to believe that if it’s OK for God to love me, it must be OK for me to love me, too.

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    1. James,
      Thank you for that thoughtful and clear answer. Are there specific teachings, verses, or articles that led you to that understanding of God’s love? Were there certain people you encountered who helped you reach that point: teachers, spiritual leaders, loved ones?

      At what point in your life did you realize self-love wasn’t there and how long did you journey before you decided and acted on the decision to love yourself?

      Sorry to bombard you.

      Blessings,
      Kina

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      1. I wish I could answer all of those questions, but I can’t point to a “smoking gun” as far as my realization goes. I never really articulated it before until I made the above comment on your blog a little while ago.

        The closest thing I can think of in terms of an “origin” was what a friend of mine said one night during a Bible study class. I can’t quote her exactly (this was a few years back), but she was explaining how she thought of God’s love by way of example.

        Imagine God is talking to you and showing you different people on earth. God might say something like, “See that person down there? That’s Joe. I particularly love Joe.”

        (At this point, you might get the idea that God’s love for Joe is special out of all the rest of humanity, but wait)

        Then God points to another person and says, “See that person? That’s Sheila. I particularly love Sheila. What about that person over there? She him? That’s Hiro. I particularly love Hiro. And that person down there. That’s Rosa. I particularly love Rosa.”

        All that’s meant to demonstrate how my friend imagines God’s love. It’s not as if He loves humanity as a mass. It is true that He loves all human beings, but there is an individual connection and a very specific love that God has for each and every one of us.

        That’s about the best I can say by way of explanation. Hope it helps.

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