Loving Yourself FirstBy Dr. Margaret Paul
November 16, 2009
Do you believe that loving yourself first is selfish? Discover why the opposite is true!
"I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line."
--Lucile Ball, 1911-1989, Comedienne and Actress
Lucile Ball was a very smart woman!
Do you believe that if you put others first, they will love and value you and you will feel loved? Has this worked for you?
Do you believe that if you love yourself first you are being selfish? Is it selfish to attend to your own feelings and needs so that you are not needy of others attention to you? Is it selfish to learn how to fill yourself up with love so that you have plenty of love to share with others, or is it actually selfish to expect others to do this for you?
Who is really being selfish?
- People who are self-sacrificing and then expect everyone to give them attention and praise?
- People who demand that others give themselves up and do what the demanding person wants?
- People who attend to their own feelings and needs so that they are not demanding and needy of others?
In my definition of selfish, the first two examples are of people who are being selfish, and the third example is of people who are being self-responsible.
Loving yourself first is self-responsible. Loving yourself first means that:
- You learn to define your own worth so that you are not needy and dependent upon others doing it for you.
- You take care of your own painful feelings so that you are not blaming others for them.
- You take responsibility for what you need to do to feel happy and joyful so that you are not expecting another to make you happy.
- You take care of your own needs so that you are not demanding that others take care of them for you.
- You take care of your body so that you do all you can to not be dependent upon others doing it for you.
- You take care of your finances if you are physically able to do so, so that you are not dependent on others doing it for you.
- You do all you can internally to make yourself feel safe, so that you don't need others to make you feel safe.
- You have a consistent spiritual practice that fills you with love so that you have love to share with others rather than needing someone else to love you to feel okay.
It is true that everything else falls into line when you take care of yourself first. Far from being selfish, it is actually the opposite of selfish.
Why don't more people do this? If you are not doing it, why not?
- Do you believe that others loving you means more than loving yourself?
- Do you believe that you are not capable of loving yourself? That others are better at it than you?
- Do you believe that your best feelings come from others loving you, rather than loving yourself?
- Do you believe that you are not worth loving, so others have to love you to prove that you are worth it?
- Do you believe that others should love you and make up to you what you didn't receive as a child?
If you are operating from any of these false beliefs, then you are likely stuck abandoning yourself rather than loving yourself.
"Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line." This statement is absolutely true. If you are not loving yourself first, then it is likely that things are not falling into line for you. Consider changing your intent from getting love to being loving - to yourself first, so that you can then share your love with others.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
Join IBVillage to connect with others and receive compassionate help and support for learning to love yourself.
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If you are not letting yourself do what brings you joy, attend to what you fear that is stopping you. Do you fear rejection or failure? Do you fear doing well and then losing your free time, or then not living up to expectations? Not following your joy and passion indicates that your loving adult is not creating a safe space for your essence to express itself. Today notice the beliefs that are limiting you.
By Dr. Margaret Paul