It may seem very strange to claim that you can make the world better by loving yourself. After all, it seems like a lot of people who do terrible things in the world do them precisely because they love themselves too much or think too highly of themselves.
This, it seems, leads them to do all sorts of violent and reprehensible things to other people.
When people’s view of themselves leads them to harm others, this is not true love. It is actually a type of selfishness or self-hate. (You can read more about this in the links at the end of this post)
So what is the kind of self-love I am talking about, and how does it help us make the world a better place?
Authentic self-love honors and cherishes the light in ourselves and everyone else. If you believe in God, you can think about this light as the image of God in you that is the most real thing about you. It connects you with God and her/his wisdom, love, creativity, compassion, etc.
If you don’t believe in God, think of this light as your childlike nature of innocence, joy, and playfulness, and love. It is something you can never completely lose, although you can forget or cover it up.
Self-love helps us to realize that this light is the truest thing about us. The more we nourish the light in ourselves, the more it increases our love, wisdom, creativity, and compassion.
This heals our anxiety, depression, loneliness, anger, violence, addictions, and self-sabotaging behavior.
The more we love ourselves and honor our light, the more we also know how to love other people and honor their light and nurture their love, wisdom, creativity, and compassion.
Our light is both unique to us because it expresses itself through our unique personality. It is also universal in that it is a light we share with every other human being.
Here are five ways that loving ourselves authentically makes the world a better place:
One: It soothes the pain that causes self-destructive behavior.
One of the primary causes of self-destructive behavior is the pain that comes from feeling unloved and unworthy. Our self-destructive behavior not only hurts us; it hurts the people around us.
We are the closest person to us, so when we learn to love ourselves, we provide ourselves with a constant source of unconditional love, and this greatly helps to heal the pain that causes our self-destructive behavior.
Two: It helps mends our relationships.
When we do not love ourselves, it is really hard to love other people in a healthy manner. When we do not love ourselves, we often end up trying to control, bully, or boss other people around us in an unconscious attempt to make us feel better about ourselves or to feel more in control of our world that feels chaotic and loveless.
An inability to love ourselves can also lead us to have really poor boundaries. We might allow other people to treat us badly and use us. We might do this in an attempt to get love or we might do it because we are afraid we will lose what little love we do have from others if we stand up to them.
When we learn to love ourselves, it helps us know how to treat others better, and it helps us see clearly how other people should treat us. This improves our relationships.
Photo by Nick Fewings, courtesy of Unsplash
Three: It helps us see more clearly and make wise decisions.
When we feel cut off from love, we feel anxious, depressed, and fearful. This colors our perception of the world and makes it difficult for us to think clearly. When we shower ourselves with love, this changes our perception of the world, and we no longer see it through a lens of scarcity and fear.
We no longer are just trying to survive. We begin looking at the world through the lens of abundance (i.e. abundant love). This helps us to see more opportunities, think more creatively, and make wiser decisions.
This brings more goodness into our lives and the lives of everyone around us.
Four: It helps us show more compassion.
When we love ourselves and feel full of abundant love, it helps us to show more compassion to others when they are feeling pain. Showing compassion to others in the mist of their pain is one of the primary ways we help other people feel loved and know they are not alone.
The more we feel connected as a human species and loved by others, the stronger we are as a society. Compassion builds strong, resilient communities.
Five: It helps us come up with creative solutions.
When we love ourselves, we calm a great deal of our pain, fear, anxiety, and depression. It helps us to connect with others. Loving ourselves in this way enlarges our world, opens up our view of life, and helps to make a wider range of possibilities open to us. This helps us be more creative and brave and allows us to come up with wise solutions to our problems.
Dear Friend: You deserve unconditional love. Everyone does. You deserve the kind of love that heals your heart, strengthens you, and connects you with others. You can start giving yourself this kind of love today, and if you do so, you will make he world a better place.
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You might like to read this book about making the world a better place through love: bell hooks: All about Love
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