If you think you can love other people without loving yourself then you need to read this!
I've been working with quite a few clients recently with a view to helping them be more caring and compassionate...towards themselves!
Why is this important?
Well, because it's a core component of individual health and happiness; but just as, if not more importantly, it's a core component of loving others. Because you can't really love and care for others if you don't, firstly, love and care for yourself.
Not loving yourself fully and believing it wont affect those nearest and dearest to you is like puffing away on cigarettes and not believing you'll damage those around you with passive smoke!
You see there are two important psychological constructs playing a role here:
social and emotional contagion tell us that the way we feel affects the way others, around us feel (and, of course, vice versa)
and social modelling tells us that what we do influences what those around us do
So this all leads to a simple but profound conclusion...if you really want to care for others you need first of all to care for yourself. If you want your family and friends and colleagues to enjoy happiness and success then you need to create happiness and success in and for yourself.
The best strategy for raising happy children is to be a happy parent; the best way to help your kids live a healthy life is to live a healthy life yourself.
And "loving yourself" does not mean you need to be vain or egotistical. In fact that's probably not the best phrase for what I'm trying to advocate here. Rather, the message I'd like to convey is that we all need to accept ourselves for all of who we are...good and bad; weak and strong; caring and selfish.
The more we can learn to live with and love our imperfections AND recognise and utilise our strengths the more we'll enjoy real and meaningful happiness and, therefore, help those around us to enjoy happiness and success also!
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