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Take Care of Your Flame

A lot of people talk about the importance of loving yourself, but HOW do we love ourselves? What's step one? Do we have to fall in love with ourselves?

For me, the big thing to notice is self-esteem vs. self-respect. Self-esteem is what others think of us, self-respect is what we feel about ourselves. So many of us, me included, focus on choices to make others like us, more than we focus on making us like ourselves. "What will people think?" becomes more important than "How does this make me feel?"

This twist in priorities is amplified by social media, where you're literally given a score for how much people like you. I don't blame anyone, or myself for caring about what others think about us; but we all have to remember that isn't nearly as important as what we feel about ourselves.

Self-esteem comes from getting validation from others, and that comes from doing what we think others want us to do. Self-respect comes from feeling better about ourselves, and that comes from doing HARD things.

Those hard things may be waking up earlier, a cold shower, 100 pushups a day, skipping desert, or saying NO more often. Those hard things will definitely include disappointing others by prioritizing yourself.

This requires us to realize that it's not our job to make others happy, it's our job to make ourselves happy, and then we can share that happiness with others. So focusing on our own flame, as "selfish" as that may appear to others, needs to be the priority; that's one way to love ourselves.

Let's be our own best friends, honour our boundaries, and focus things that feed self respect over self esteem. These, to me, are a few practical ways to begin growing the love we have for ourselves. Trying to make everyone else happy will eventually burn us out.

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