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Loving Yourself Means Warts and All

Loving Yourself Means Warts and All

Did you ever think or say to yourself: “I’m worthless, I’ll never amount to anything.” We’re easily obsessed with with who we and how we appear to others, if we are even lovable; we constantly confront situations that test our sense of self worth and beset us with doubts. Then the thought creeps in: “How can anyone love me when I’m such a loser, when I don’t love or even appreciate myself?”

Just to be clear: loving ourselves is not done as an expression of the ego where we centralize only on ourselves, but as a genuine appreciation of our humanness in a world that is constantly changing.

When Ed first met Deb he felt hopelessly unlovable. Possibly because his mother died five days after he was born, possibly because he grew up with yelling and arguments as the norm and he was constantly fearful of getting punished or smacked. His stepmother would even mark the milk bottle so she knew how much milk he’d drunk. When he was about six he first became aware of family happiness at a cousins house where they were playing around a Christmas tree. So, no surprise that Ed suffered from feeling unlovable. Yet here was this woman saying she cared?

Now we’re coming up to our 28th anniversary. Most people tend to marry someone who is either just like themselves or is just the opposite, which is what we did. In England they would say we’re as different as chalk and cheese! This difference can be great — a welcome balance to our own neuroses — or it can be maddening. We haven’t gotten through the last 28 years without many moments of exasperation, or times when we’re saying the same thing but in a different way, such as: “The ceiling is flat.” “No, the ceiling is white!”

Loving ourselves can appear impossible; it seems far easier to love someone else. But if we don’t start with ourselves then we can’t truly care about anyone else: we only love another if he or she loves us, as this is the love we’re not giving to ourselves.

Don’t get us wrong. Loving ourselves isn’t airy-fairy; it’s very grounded and real, a process of accepting ourselves just as we are, including shadow issues, past hurts, traumas, hidden rage or deep feelings of grief, so that we feel comfortable in our own skin. We can take a long look and slowly bring each piece into awareness and compassion. Meditation can help here as it enables us see ourselves clearly, it gives us a spaciousness to step back from the dramas and to make friends with our demons.

Such self-acceptance means we’re no longer embarrassed by ourselves. There’s no need to defend the ego, which keeps us thinking we’re unworthy. We can even surrender the desire to be right in an argument. We can also say no to what is unacceptable, without thinking we have to please everyone.

Loving ourselves is a journey of accepting more and more deeply until it becomes transformed into joy as we realize we are all lovable and we’re all held in love. This love arises from within, spontaneously and completely.

image via Flickr

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Award-Winning Authors Ed and Deb of Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World, are mindfulness, meditation and yoga experts. Deb’s new novel is: Merging: Women in Love — what happens when you fall in love with the least likely person of the least likely gender? – and she’s the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. They have three meditation CDs. See more at EdandDebShapiro.com

Read more: Blogs, Ed and Deb, Guidance, Inspiration, Peace, Self-Help, Spirit, , , , , , ,

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Ed and Deb Shapiro

You can learn more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie and others. Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: EdandDebShapiro.com

53 comments

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11:58AM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

Thanks for sharing

7:03AM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

We're our own worst critic!

7:38AM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

The comments on here are lovely

7:37AM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

It is much harder to love yourself than it is to love and accept other people. I think I'm just growing to accept myself after a while of hating myself! Wonderful news for Ed and Deb, hopefully Ed will be able to put his past behind him and start over. Thanks for sharing.

4:38AM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

Thanks for sharing

5:18AM PDT on Jul 14, 2014

The start of love

3:50PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

I'm glad Ed and Deb are happy together and I hope Ed will eventually be able to put the losses of his childhood behind him. I echo Deborah W's and Lee R's comments--sometimes the warts are there for growth and we need to deal with them. Worry less about the love of others and concentrate on being the best person you can be. (Some of the suggestions that were posted--keeping track of what you're thankful for and resolving to do one or two good things each day--can help to shift focus in a more positive direction.) (So can avoiding toxic people.)

7:44AM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

I can understand why people don't love themselves. Society has taught us that we have to be a certain way, be it tall, thin, beautiful, feminine, masculine, pretty etc. If anyone is outside these realms, they are going to feel unloved. I know I did. I am fat but it took me a long long time to accept myself that, that is who I am.

4:10PM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

Sometimes the warts are just necessary for growth ... in either a positive or negative direction ... depends on your attitude. If you're stuck in place, take yourself to a quiet setting for review ... what went wrong, what went right and what needs "adjusting" before trying again, then try again.

Point is, never give up or settle for anything less than you know you can be. Sometimes the work towards such a goal is hard, with many knockdowns along the way, but if you get up one more time than you fall down you can do it.

Good news is that each day is brand new and full of endless possibilities ... all you need is THE ONE and tomorrow may be THE DAY. Get a good night's sleep now and give it a try, OK?



2:53PM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

ty

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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