Self-love sounds like a topic that might be best suited for readers of Oprah magazine. Do we dare even broach the topic on a man site?! Who really cares about all that touchy-feely stuff anyway, right?
Well, let’s set the record straight. Guys care. Real men are concerned about others and the world in which we all live in. We definitely falter at times and we’re admittedly more apt to screw up than our significant others, but we recognize the value of living in a world where love is the dominant emotion.
Loving ourselves? It almost sounds selfish. Not sure why that’s the case. Maybe it’s because we grow up in a world where men are encouraged to subdue their emotions. Humility is supposed to be the name of the game. Loving one’s self carries a stigma of anything but humility.
But the opposite is true. Learning to love yourself is the key to loving others more.
You’ve heard the oft-repeated bible verse to “love your neighbor as yourself”? Why do we lose sight of the importance of self love? It’s right there in the bible. We’re supposed to do it. It’s an equally important part of the love equation.
Perhaps we don’t teach self love as much because children have a tough time drawing the distinction between loving themselves and just being plain ol’ cocky. But truth be told, this is yet another important reason to teach our children about self love – explaining how it works, how to do it and why it’s a critical life skill.
The Evolution of the Ego
As a teen, I started developing ego issues – judging others. This problem was perpetuated with age. As I grew into a young man, everything became a challenge. Lifting weights.. getting the girl.. my looks and appearance – I started comparing everything about myself to others. I wanted to be the best at it all – but I wasn’t and never would be.
Thank God for an aging body that quickly saw the decline of everything I felt was so important in life.
“You’re thankful for what?!”
It was no time at all before the thirties arrived. Injuries caught up with my body so being the strongest guy in the gym could no longer be a goal. I became the older guy who preaches, “I’m just trying to stay fit and stay injury free”. I watched as the gauntlet was handed down to the young kids who gleamed with pride after knocking out 315 for a few reps.
And the forties?
What the hell is this? I’m getting nose hairs? Ear hairs?! Why is my skin starting to wrinkle? Is my vision starting to blur? Why am I not jumping as high I used to? Why am I getting love handles now? You mean I can’t eat anything I want now? I’ve always done that!
Year after year, you’re reminded that youth is fleeting.
It’s time to let go of ego. It’s time to start looking inward for happiness because continued comparisons to everyone else can only lead to being one miserable old man.
The Value of Loving Yourself
Loving yourself is the key to creating a better world and a better you. But how does one accomplish this? What does it mean?
It starts by accepting yourself – and no longer comparing yourself to others.
Think about it – the only reason we find fault with ourselves is because we’re holding our self to a standard set by others. We’re comparing ourselves to others. The root of the problem is that we hold a bit (or a lot) of admiration for the accomplishments we see others achieve and we also want this perceived success. We envy.
If a cataclysmic world event happened tomorrow and you were the only guy left on earth, would you care about nose hairs? Would you care if you carried a bit of extra body fat? Why not? What’s changed in how you view yourself?
With no one left to judge us, we quit judging ourselves.
But let’s not wait for the apocalypse. Let’s consider how this epiphany can better serve us today.
When I stop comparing myself to others, I no longer judge myself – and now, I have no need to judge you.
I’m happier for the achievements of others. I understand the joy that another feels in accomplishment of a goal. I celebrate this with him instead of being envious.
When I make mistakes, I’m able to forgive myself and this makes it a cinch to forgive you of your mistakes. I don’t think twice about it. There’s true joy in loving yourself.
If we disagree in our religious or political beliefs, I understand and appreciate that you feel differently about the issue than do I. I listen more and preach less.
I love myself. I don’t need to believe in the illusion of being right every time. I don’t need to waste so much energy comparing myself to others. I’m pretty darned remarkable in just being me – faults and all.
A funny thing happens when you start loving yourself. You create a better, fuller life for yourself and you positively affect the world around you. You create a snowball effect of change – some of which is easily visible and much of which you can’t even see. You feel better about yourself in every waking moment.
By loving yourself, you change the world. There’s unmistakable joy found in accepting and loving yourself – just as you are.