So after having shared a few how-to posts and given you guys a taste for what I would like to share here on this blog, I thought I would share a more personal post for today. It's still filled will inspiration and hope, but I wanted to let you in on who I am a little bit.
For someone who has strong feelings, it seems strange that I've kind of scoffed at the idea of self-love. It seemed rather selfish really. I used to have this preconceived idea that it was a way to give yourself permission to think "my way or the highway." While thinking this, I was also not liking myself very much. My confidence had gone south and I felt like a floundering fish in a mud puddle.
After experiencing physical symptoms of stress, this past year, I started to reevaluate my way of thinking. I sought counsel from a therapist/life coach who guided me until I discovered on my own, one very important concept.
I am only responsible for my own happiness, not that of others.
This concept made me realize that I was spending a whole lot of time worrying about either what others thought of me or their own happiness. I was giving little attention, if any, to my own happiness. It made me realize what type of lie I had been telling myself all along. I should not have been feeling guilty or selfish for making sure that my happiness was found and secure.
One reason why it really isn't our responsibility to fulfill anyone else's happiness, is because it's just impossible. As human beings we are going to fail and even if we do everything "perfect" it's not always going to fit the expectations of what others think they want. We are all just trying to figure it out. So why confuse ourselves by distracting ourselves with fulfilling the happiness of others when we don't even know what we ourselves want to begin with? It's a vicious cycle.
When I was 15, training to be a lifeguard, the instructors made it very clear that you always look out for your own safety before going to rescue someone else. You don't just jump in the pool after a drowning victim without a safety tube. You bring help. Same goes for our emotional well being. We've got to find our "safety tube" and know how to "swim" before we can help anyone else out who might be in trouble.
As I've shared before, I've taken it upon myself to walk every day and eat better. I even started doing yoga! In doing so I've found more motivation for my passions and helping others in a healthy way. I've also begun setting boundaries for myself emotionally. Instead of assuming everyone's unhappy day is my fault, I can actually assess the situation and hopefully help that person in a way that is actually doable. Maybe by just giving them a hug. Not taking their feelings for my own.
Self love isn't about being selfish. A side effect of feeling responsible for the happiness of others is also feeling like everyone else is responsible for yours as well. You start blaming all over the place. Blaming is where selfishness lies, not self love.
If you struggle with this concept, I totally get it. Sometimes it's hard to change old ways. But the only way to make a change and experience true self love is to jump right in! Have any other thoughts on this topic? Needing encouragement? Drop a comment down below or send me an email at estingrace AT gmail DOT com.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. - Hebrews 4:16
But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. - Jeremiah 17:7
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13