Do you value yourself? I mean, do you honestly know and appreciate your worth? Do you see yourself as important, or do you consider everyone else to be more important than you are? Do you love others more than you love yourself?
Many of us are so focused on cherishing and treating others with dignity that we forget to do the same for ourselves. We treat ourselves with less respect than we do other people and put their needs before our own. We extend compassion and support to friends, particularly when they are feeling low, yet will rarely do the same for ourselves. Instead, we judge and berate ourselves for the smallest mistakes; we lack self-appreciation.
The failure to love ourselves does us more harm than we realise. When we treat ourselves badly, regardless of whether we verbalise it or not, we invite the same energy into our lives and attract other people who will be more than willing to dish out similar treatment.
Think about the last time you took on extra tasks even though you were already working yourself to the bone. Instead of speaking up, you allowed your boss to delegate other people’s responsibilities to you, because you were afraid to look lazy or un-cooperative. You put your boss’ feelings and opinion of you before your own; and hoped that by suffering in silence, in time, you would be duly rewarded.
Yet when reward time came, you were over-looked. Your colleagues that had been taking better care of themselves, leaving the office on time and making time for fun, got more favourable reviews. So you became bitter and blamed your company for failing to appreciate you, when the truth is, you didn’t appreciate yourself. You projected an energy that you deserved to be put last; and so people simply treated you the way they saw you treating yourself.
If you wish other people to be kinder to you, start realizing your value. Don’t abuse yourself in a way that you wouldn’t other people, for example, by attempting to attend multiple funerals, weddings and baby showers all on the same day. Find other ways to show support and caring for friends that will allow you to be compassionate with yourself.
Similarly, don’t allow yourself to become somebody’s ‘small house,’ or bit on the side, then be surprised when they treat you badly. If you make someone a priority in your life when you’re clearly not a priority in theirs, you’re sending the message that you are not valuable enough to be anything other than second best. That same message will begin to attract circumstances and people into your life who will also treat you as worthless.
Often, we are afraid to stand up for ourselves and be honest about our feelings because we don’t want to disappoint other people. We would rather disappoint ourselves instead. We agree to help our friends with endless chores when we know that what we truly need is down time; and when they fail to do the same for us, we feel used. We blame them for not reciprocating when we should really be blaming ourselves for failing to honour ourselves.
We all want to be loved, and so many of us become incorrigible people-pleasers. We become so used to searching for external approval that we no longer have any real idea of what truly makes us happy.
Yet any time we take action to try to affect other people’s opinions of us, we are in a less than healthy position. Our self-confidence becomes eroded and we feel driven to do more and more to gain other people’s favour. We look for love in all the wrong places.
The most reliable place to seek love is within ourselves. Don’t depend on other people for your emotional upliftment; find ways to love and appreciate yourself.
For many of us, appreciating ourselves can be a challenge. We are so busy giving love and encouragement to others that taking the time to do it for ourselves can appear to be a luxury. So start with something easier – learn to appreciate aspects of the world around you. Soon, that energy shift will ensure that you start attracting more positive responses from the people around you.
You’ve probably heard of the story of holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl. While many of Frankl’s friends perished in Auschwitz because they realised they could not change their situation, Frankl survived and went on to become a world famous psychiatrist.
Despite living under the most treacherous conditions, he ascribes his survival to the choice he made to find purpose and meaning in his experience. In the midst of gruelling manual labour, he would picture his wife smiling lovingly at him and dwell on that image instead. He also visualized himself speaking about his experience after it was over.
Frankl lived to write one of the most famous books of all time, Man’s Search for Meaning, in which he writes that “when we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
What would you like to change about your current life ÔÇô being abused or taken advantage of; or failing to gain recognition for your efforts? Instead of becoming bitter; or trying to change people in some way, work on changing your own perceptions of yourself.
Notice the positive aspects in yourself and the world around you – it is the quickest way to move from bad to better feeling thoughts; and to change the treatment we receive from others into that which is more positive. Learning to appreciate ourselves also impacts the decisions we make ÔÇô it makes us less likely to pursue actions that demean or make us unhappy.
You deserve to be treated with respect and consideration at all times but in order for that to happen, the choices you make in your life have to reflect that. Honour, love and appreciate yourself and the world cannot help but respond in kind.