Self Love Is Not What You Need to Be Happier
Self-love is essential. However, if we seek to be happy, self-love is not the answer. Find out more about what we need to do to become truly happy.
Self-love is not a foreign phrase to anyone. We have seen it popularised over the years by our favourite celebrities and famous figures. Not to mention, we hear uplifting stories of how people overcame tough times by learning to love themselves.
In a world where everyone seems to be living perfect lives, self-love may be tough to achieve. With so many things wrong with us, how do we learn to love ourselves? Especially when everyone else seems better off than we are.
When we appear to be in tough positions, we tend to believe we struggle to love ourselves. Whether that be failing an exam or being overweight, we internalise these situations as blockers to our ability to love who we are.
Coming from a single-parent household, I used to envy the children with two parents. They always used to get the best clothes and had the best birthday parties. Unfortunately for me, I was broke and hated myself for it.
I spent most of my time growing up trying to find a love I should have for myself. I believed that this love would release me from the anger I had built up inside. Well, as you can guess from the title of this article, it did not work.
Upon close consideration, I learned that self-love is not the solution to me becoming any happier. And it is not what I needed to feel the joy I wanted to experience.
I learned that no amount of self-love could change my happiness. So, if you seek to be happier, self-love is not what you need. In this article, I seek to show you that the capacity to love others is what is necessary.
We All Love Ourselves, Yet Hate Our Circumstances
The first thing we have to make clear is that love and happiness are two different things. We probably all know someone who has loved something or someone negative.
Humans, since the beginning of time, have always sought their desires and loved themselves. Yes, we live in a world that is collaborative and open, but we are no different. Many of the motivations behind our actions are selfish and to please us.
We all love ourselves, and we love ourselves more than enough. We are born with a tendency to treat ourselves with higher regard and to seek our best interests. And in a world with so many options, we are spoilt for choice with how we do that.
Self-love is not a problem for humanity because we all naturally do it. Now you may ask about the people in extreme cases. You could argue that people who commit suicide do not love themselves.
In these cases, the person does not hate themselves, but they hate their circumstances. For many, they are going through times that causes them to express their love for themselves in terrible ways. The person who commits suicide seeks to end the pain and suffering. Their love for themselves drives them to do so.
These are sad situations, and I hope none of us gets here. Yet still, it is our response to our circumstances that make us feel like we hate ourselves. I did love myself when I was younger, but I could not find joy in my circumstances.
For many of us, this is the case. We love ourselves and hate our circumstances. It is often our circumstances that define how we feel about ourselves and others around us. When we get told we are beautiful, we tend to have a positive response. That is because our circumstances are delightful.
What is difficult is being able to find happiness in negative circumstances. In most cases, this is impossible, and therefore, we turn to ourselves as the problem. We believe that our circumstances are because of us, and therefore, believe we hate ourselves.
However, if our reality was to change, our response to ourselves would change too. Therefore, it is not that we do not love ourselves, it is that we hate our circumstances.
Learning to Not Root Happiness in Your Circumstance
Humans are circumstantial creatures. We can not help ourselves. When our circumstances are problematic, we are upset and feel alone. When they are positive, we are full of energy and happy.
The problem with being circumstantial is that our happiness is never truly dependent on us. Instead, it comes and goes like the wind as our circumstances changes.
When we live life in this way, we take happiness out of our hands and give it to others. We let events and others govern our emotions for us. So, how do we stop rooting our happiness in our circumstances?
We do this by having the capacity to place our happiness in our response. Instead of responding to terrible circumstances negatively, we should seek to respond positively.
By no means is this easy, and it causes us to act in a way outside of our tendencies. However, if we seek control of our happiness, we must base our happiness on our response.
Learning to Appreciate Yourself More
When we talk about self-love, what we mean is self-appreciation. It is the ability to be thankful for who you are and where you are going. It can be hard to do this when it is so easy to envy others lives.
We now live in a world where comparison is all we do. Thanks to our infinite number of choices, we spend most of our days comparing. Unfortunately, we compare ourselves more regularly than we should. That is thanks to things like social media putting all of our lives in the open.
However, if you seek to appreciate yourself more, you must learn to be thankful for others. Instead of being envious of their goods and possessions, be happy and excited for them.
Our self-appreciation is not found in our circumstances, nor is it within. It is found in the capacity we have to appreciate others. It is here we place our self-appreciation back in our hands and not in the hands of others. And it is also here that we learn to be happy despite our circumstances.
I am a Visionary and Writer who seeks to enrich society by challenging how we do business today to lead to a world of better leaders and opportunities tomorrow.