In this post, we’re going to look at the art of appreciation, self love and self respect.
It’s all too easy to focus on the negatives in life and so many of us take the good stuff for granted!
Think about how many green stop lights you notice compared to the red ones. With a red stop light, particularly if you’re late and rushing to get somewhere important, you’ll get frustrated, tense and agitated to the point you really feel that red traffic light. Meanwhile, all the green lights barely go noticed.
The same can be said for life. Think about how easily we take for granted simple functions such as being able to walk, talk, see, and drive a car. It’s all too easy to take the good stuff for granted, in that we fail to appreciate the positive stuff, until it’s taken away.
Have you ever been in a relationship with someone that you took for granted, or lived in an amazing country like Australia, but not truly appreciated what you have, until it’s taken away from you?
Today, so many people walk around with their heads down, with such negative mindsets, that the good in life passes them by. In part, this could be an issue with self love and perhaps a place for the compassion project to step-in but it all just comes down to perspective.
Consider how stressed people get about money. You’ll often hear people saying how “broke” they are, yet, in reality they are probably way up in the wealthier percentile of earth’s society. Unfortunately, we often compare ourselves to people who are wealthier, slimmer, more intelligent, more attractive and so on – meaning we suffer unnecessarily, as this perspective of negative contrast impacts our self-esteem and causes us to feel not ‘good enough’.
Whereas, when you shift your perspective to one of appreciation, you can flip that contrast around and realise that there are some people without a home, without a car, or even access to safe drinking water. This, of course, isn’t a game of one upmanship or feeling better at others expense – it’s just a matter of gaining perspective and living in a state of appreciation for what you do have rather than for what you don’t have.
When you live in a mental state of appreciation, according to Rhonda Byrne’s bestselling book “The Secret” you attract more of the good stuff into your life. There’s a saying within the book that says “what we think about we bring about” and “thoughts become things”.
Just like there’s a universal law of attraction there’s also a law of momentum. Essentially, it’s a slippery slope in that the more you focus on how bad something is the more bad stuff you attract, and things start spiralling downhill due to the domino effect. Similarly, when you focus on how good something is and really appreciate it (whether that’s falling in love with Sydney again or falling back in love with your partner) this creates an upward spiral where things get better and better.
Now that we’ve defined the importance of appreciation and being in a state of gratitude, let’s move onto a topic equally as important; self love and self acceptance.
In some ways, you could view self-love to be the same as self-esteem, however, self-esteem tends to be more about how competent we feel we are in terms of tangible output and how much we value the impact and contribution we make. Self love, on the other hand, is more about self-acceptance and loving ourselves just the way we are.
Louise Hay, who is one of the world’s leading experts in this area of self-love states: “Self love is a deep appreciation. When I talk about loving ourselves, I mean having a deep appreciation for who we are. We accept all the different parts of ourselves—our little peculiarities, the embarrassments, the things we may not do so well, and all the wonderful qualities, too.”
She goes on to explain that, many of us make self love conditional by creating unnecessary rules, such as that we will love ourselves WHEN we lose weight, get a better job, or drive a better car… meaning, it’s constantly being put off until tomorrow. We put external conditions on our internal sense of self-worth, which is what creates unhappiness, as it’s like a carrot dangling in front of a donkey’s nose… it’s always just slightly out of reach.
Self love is an unconditional sense of love and acceptance for who you are, where you’ve been, what you have and where you’re heading. It’s a sense of emotional security that allows you to recognise that you are good enough as you are!
The last principle is that of self respect.
A lot of the time, when someone treats us without respect (e.g. by cheating on you) we take it extremely personally; as if their behaviour is a direct reflection of our value. Indeed, when we are treated without value by a person close to us we can feel like we have no value. This is why so many people struggle with break-ups.
It’s understandable and normal to feel this way, but there are two points here – firstly their behavior reflects who they are, not who you are, or what you deserve… and secondly, in order for people to treat you with respect, dignity and consideration – you need to respect yourself. Unfortunately, without even meaning to, people will treat you without respect and consideration; the popular term “they’ll walk all over you if you let them” comes to mind. That’s not to say you have to be militant in the enforcement of your boundaries; it’s more that you must have a healthy level of self-respect in order for people to treat you with respect.
Remember, life has a mirror like quality to it, in that it reflects back to us what we feel on the inside. If you don’t respect yourself – expect others to reflect this back to you. Similarly, as soon as you start treating yourself with respect the people in your life will either adapt their behaviour to this or leave your life and make way for someone that can treat you with the respect, consideration and dignity you deserve.