Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat


What Self-Love Is and Isn’t

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for HowDoILoveMeCover.jpgToday is the last day of Self-Love Month. But, that doesn’t mean self-love should stop, or even slow down! My pledge to take the 31 Days of Self-Love Challenge will be up all year, along with my free book. And, next January I’ll celebrate again with another 31 Days of Self-Love posts. I’ll continue to have posts on this very important topic all year long to remind you to keep it coming. Please continue to post what you do to show yourself love on http://howdoiloveme.com.

Self-love isn’t an annual event. It really isn’t an event at all. Loving yourself could, and should, become a lifestyle that improves the quality of your life and increases your joy. That’s why you should celebrate it all year round! The more you do, the more love you’ll attract and the better you’ll feel.

Many people have a distorted view about what self-love is. They equate self-love with:

•    Spending money on material stuff: Possessions don’t make you happy if you’re not already happy inside. Self-love won’t grow because you bought an expensive tech toy or jewelry or designer clothing.

I heard from a woman who read my book, How Do I Love Me,, She said she’s a self-made millionaire and has always dressed herself in fine jewelry and other expensive items. When she wants something, she buys it. She wrote to say that at 66 years young, she always just assumed she loved herself since she gives herself so much. But reading my book she understood she didn’t. When I was a DoorMat I needed possessions to feel good. I’d buy myself something to make up for my lack of self-love. Now I don’t really care about that stuff much. I still buy things that make me happy but not for as a substitute for self-love.

Buying things to compensate for not loving yourself is like putting a BandAid on a wound instead of an act of self-love. I’ve had clients who tell me they spend and spend to find happiness and wonder why they still don’t feel happy. A BandAid covers a wound but doesn’t heal it. Spending money diverts your attention from not loving yourself, but doesn’t build self-love. Buying something to consciously be loving to you says, “I love me!”

•    Giving a lot to others: Often people pleasers justify what they do by saying being kind is being loving. Being kind is being loving but not when you neglect your own needs and happiness to make others happy.

Self-love is not being too cheap with yourself, especially if you spend on others. You don’t need to spend a lot to say, “I love me!” It’s more the thought, or pleasure that can make you feel good. Buying a small treat or any other teeny but special splurge, like I advised in Buy a Brand Name Product is loving. While I walk to most places in NYC because I enjoy it, it was recently 6 degrees–VERY unusual for us. In my DoorMat days I’d have plodded on with major discomfort. Suffering seemed normal. But as I walked home and felt terribly cold, I grabbed a cab to be more comfortable. I rarely do that but when necessary, I love me enough to spend the money. You are worth kindness!

•    Striving to look perfect: Many people spend many thousands of dollars trying to get rid of fat, wrinkles, bones in their faces, and any other imperfections they identify. Others practically live in the gym to try to get a perfect body. People abuse their bodies with eating disorders. This reinforces a lack of self-acceptance, which is the antithesis of self-love.

You can’t love yourself if you’re focused on flaws, like I was in my DoorMat days. I believed I couldn’t love myself until I lost weight, got prettier and handled life better. Now I know that perfection is a big self-love killer because it’s unattainable. Many people are unhappy their entire lives because they were taught as kids they must be perfect and won’t stop trying to be. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE! We all make mistakes. Celebrities on the red carpet  use many expensive products to cover their imperfections, but still have them. When you accept yourself in your imperfect skin, self-love begins.

•    Having a romantic partner: Too many people look for a romantic partner in order to feel complete and then love themselves. They believe that until someone loves them, they won’t be able to love themselves. So they make themselves more unhappy trying to find someone to love them when they already have what they need–the ability to love themselves! Yet they keep working hard to please a potential mate in order to find and keep love.

That’s backwards! When you love yourself, it’s much easier to attract love. Self-love is being complete on your own, having autonomy, and not seeking happiness from others. It’s focusing on being happy as a whole person. When that happens, you’ll attract a lot more love into your life from outside sources. But, it must begin with you!

•    Being successful: Many people work their tails off in their careers to prove their worth and get ahead. They think that the more successful they are, the more they’ll love themselves. But like with buying lots of material stuff, it doesn’t work that way. Being successful may increase your confidence and even your self-esteem in relation to career situations. But it doesn’t build self-love.

Focusing on being kinder to yourself, even cutting back super long work hours to make time for family, friends and fun in general is the real self-love act. Otherwise, success becomes a substitute for self-love. It may bring a lot of good perks, but if you don’t feel a lot of joy, self-love is missing. I know too many people who have tons of money and are considered at the top of the game who are depressed and just driven to get more instead of enjoying the success they have.

If you’re serious about building and maintaining self-love, focus on YOU and what would make YOU happy, not impress others or buy friendship. Treat yourself with kindness. While January is Self-Love Month, make 2011 the year of Self-Love, the year you pay attention to how you treat you, the year you commit to being kinder to yourself, and the year you actually pay attention and build self-love. I’ll keep posting reminders so stay tuned here. I’ll do my best to continue to offer you suggestions and motivation for loving yourself more.

Take the self-love challenge and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. And you can post your loving acts HERE to reinforce your intenti
on to love yourself.

Please leave comments under my posts so we can stay connected.



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