“A healthy self-love means we have no compulsion to justify to ourselves or others why we take vacations, why we sleep late, why we buy new shoes, why we spoil ourselves from time to time. We feel comfortable doing things which add quality and beauty to life.” Andrew Matthews
Have you ever noticed how everything we do for ourselves has to be validated? “I took a nap today because I’ve had such a crazy week at work.” “We’re going on vacation to Europe. Luckily we had enough miles.” We feel guilty or undeserving so we have to justify doing anything that seems even slightly lavish. Even when we don’t share our justifications with those around us, we still have the dialog running through our brain. We don’t dare give ourselves permission to do things for ourselves unless we can see that we’ve earned it in some way. Maybe we learned this behavior from our parents, maybe we believe that anyone who spends time or money on themselves is selfish. Whatever the source of our beliefs, the truth is that most of us don’t love ourselves enough to be ok with spoiling ourselves just because. Even if we’ve done our work around the importance of self-care, built up our self-esteem and strengthened our confidence, the kind of deep and nourishing, self love that allows us to be comfortable doing things that improve the quality of our life comes from radically accepting that we are enough. Period. No rationalizations or justifications necessary. Our compulsion to explain our indulgences comes from our insecurity and the more we can let go of the need to justify ourselves, the more we can even enjoy life’s treats. Imagine if we are constantly worrying about whether we’ve earned our massage or new purchase or whatever – are you really able to be present to fully breathe in the beauty of what you’ve set out to enjoy? Of course not, because every time we decide to explain our actions, we take away from our ability to be fully comfortable with what we are doing. Indeed, our constant need to justify might be why so many of us don’t even feel fulfilled even when we do take steps toward self-care. So, if we want to find more beauty and joy in our lives, we need to begin with learning how to allow healthy self-love flow through our lives.
Weekly Path to Peace: Take steps toward healthy self love.
- Our rationalizations and explanations for self-loving acts have likely become habit for most of us. Begin this week by simply noticing all the ways you seek to validate doing things for yourself. Keep a notebook or journal nearby and simply write down every time you look to justify your self-care actions – whether to yourself or to another person. Try not to judge yourself, but simply notice how often and where you tend to do this.
- Spend the rest of the week radically working toward healthy self-love. Instead of explaining your actions, pick three things you can do this week that would bring you joy without having to earn them first. For each action, share with at least one person what you are doing, but resist the compulsion to give a reason.
As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change