There’s a quandary I hear people talk about a lot in the self-improvement world which goes something like this: “Should I keep trying to change, or should I just learn to love myself?”
The people posing this question almost invariably feel terrible about themselves, and further, they assume that’s par for the course. It isn’t. In fact this whole “self-love vs self-improvement” thing is a false dilemma, one that badly misunderstands the role of self-love.
This equates loving yourself with thinking you’re just fine the way you are. It treats self-love as a reward for being the person you want to be. It assumes that your self-regard should be based, in some sense, on you being objectively “good.” And conversely, it equates wanting to change with disliking yourself. But ask yourself- is this true of your love for other people?
If you love someone else, surely that means you want the best for them? You want them to be healthy, happy and successful. If you have children, you want them to do well in school. If a friend is unhappy with their life, you want their life to change so they’ll be happy.
Apply the same standards to yourself that you do to others- love yourself the way you love your friends and family. Decide to be better because you deserve better; because you love yourself and want to enable yourself to live your ideal life.
Here is a poem I wrote last about self love.
The Silent Language of Love
Poem by Linda Connors
I do not know how what love really means.
So I asked the moon and the moon
said to give light in the darkest days.
I asked the sun and she replied
Love is to nurture each other
in the warmth of the light.
I turned to the ancient tree and
asked tree can you tell me what love is
The tree laughed and he shared love
is to provide each other with shelter
from the storms of life
As I danced with the waves
and the sea roared love is to give fluidity
of your gifts and dreams
The breeze whispered yes
and to trust in your heart.
The next morning the morning bird
sang her wisdom to me love is to sing
the praise of the morning awakening
I then asked my heart
heart do you know what love means?
My heart sang an ancient song
that danced with the tempo of my soul
“love is the breath of all that you do
meet each other and meet yourself
with this unconditional breath
Love is the fabric of your being
There are no words for love
for it is a sacred silent language
but it is the most precious gift
you will ever give and receive”