The best quality of life comes from one simple but powerful ingredient: self-love. This one element has a knock-on effect on so many other things like happiness, contentment, positivity, and achievement, to begin with. When we love ourselves, we give permission for others to love us too, to appreciate our strengths and weaknesses, and to enhance that sense of worth and significance we all seek.
Self-love is crucial because it leads to a love of our bodies and talents. It also frees us to stop focusing upon what we lack, while we accept ourselves as the beautiful and wondrous beings we are. When we love ourselves we are likely to nurture our bodies, to be proud of who we are and to nurture others, too, for who they are.
How much do you value and appreciate yourself?
BEFORE YOU GO…..
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This is a very common question because our greatest wish is to be ACCEPTED, especially for who we are, and our greatest fear is tone REJECTED and excluded because our innate feeling of belonging, and wanting to be included, is very powerful. Some people do have genuine difficulty getting others to like them, while others find it almost effortless. If you are worried about whether people like you or not, or whether you are lovable or not, you have low self-esteem and place people’s approval of you above your own self-value. Not appreciating yourself, you hope people will like you to compensate for your own lack of self-love. But the best way to get people to like you is to start with loving YOU.
How do you feel about yourself at this moment? Do you really like what you see in the mirror?
We all have the potential to be well liked right there within ourselves. It is just a matter of finding it and acting upon it, which is not that easy to do, because there is no magic way to make them like us. When you love yourself, that self-comfort is obvious to everyone else, which is likely to make them feel more comfortable around you, too. You are able to take people or leave them. You also do not depend on them for your approval, because you feel confident in who you are, regardless of who likes you.
In fact, there are four sure ways of getting others to like and appreciate us more, and they start with the key one, self-love.
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Sensitivity is such a powerful concept because it can make such a difference to anither person’s experience. When we care we are sensitive to the desires and concerns of those who matter to us, in particular, and of strangers in our world who might feel lost and at sea. We care how they feel; we give them our best and they would do all that in return, too. Mutual giving and respect make up reciprocity which is the greatest source of happiness between a couple.
Thinking for our partners, being sensitive to their moods and being empathetic to their anxieties all help to make a relationship truly pleasurable. When we are thoughtful we value the things that matter to our dates/partners; we give them space to develop their unique selves; we accept them completely as they are without conditions and allow them to be human without judging or criticising them. When we are sensitive to, and thoughtful about, others we give them room to breathe, we value them daily and celebrate their presence. Thoughtfulness allows couples to treat one another as special and to put each other first at every opportunity.
BEFORE YOU GO…..
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People tend to fall in love, become starry eyed at the prospect, ignore the warning signs of incompatibility at the beginning of the friendship, then slowly repent their choice when things begin to go pear-shaped later on. Emotional infidelity often becomes a substitute for what is missing in a partnership but, given the right opportunity and circumstances, it can be physically realised.
Emotional infidelity begins with neglect, which itself stems from a lack of appreciation and value. In short, it arises from a deep emotional need when our feelings are unfulfilled and when our emotional health is low, especially from a lack of ATTENTION.
In any relationship, everyone wants to be treated with love and respect, to be valued and desired. When that does not happen, a feeling of isolation and rejection takes its place. For some reason, perhaps because of the need for security, once people become settled with each other, they tend to take each other for granted. The little things they used to do for one another, the loving acts they delighted in during dating, the obvious value they placed on each other, tend to take a back seat while partners become weighed down with domestic and career responsibilities. It is not too long before one or both parties begin to feel lonely, left out or unappreciated. In such a case, affection and sex are usually the main things that gradually disappear. If not addressed, it eventually turns into neglect and acute loneliness – and the worst form of loneliness is one which is shared with a partner.
Warm Feelings and Attention
When someone feels neglected it leads to unfulfilled yearnings, particularly around what is absent from their lives. It isn’t long before the person begins to yearn for what is possible. It might start from admiring a celebrity in an appreciative way, then switches to more realistic targets like a neighbour, a work colleague, someone online, a friend or a complete stranger. For people closer to home, it might begin with just talking, bantering, making jokes or sharing life circumstance. It is not long before they will also be sharing the problems in their lives and offering emotional support to each other.
Sooner or later, there is likely to be either quiet or expressed desires around that person, wishing to be with them, to be loved by them and to be close to them. The main difference with emotional infidelity and physical infidelity is that most times the party doesn’t want to leave their spouse, to cause any hurt to them or to break up their family for the object of their affections. They just love the warm feelings, the attention, in particular, and the feeling of appreciation and value they get from that friend or stranger.
One might never physically meet the object of that desire, but the mere thought of dreaming about what is possible with them, affectionately and sexually, and imagining warm thoughts of value around them begin the emotional infidelity process. This can often lead to the real thing if what is lacking in that person’s life is not admitted, discussed or addressed at all.
There is a mistaken belief that emotional infidelity is ‘harmless’ and doesn’t really matter in the life of a couple; that it is mainly fantasy and only occurs in one’s head. It’s nothing like the real thing. However, that is not true. Emotional infidelity is usually the beginning of the physical reality, the precursor to it. It simply needs the feelings to get worse, the object of desire to be accessible, and the opportunity to bring it to life. The rest is often inevitable.
It is always an exciting, and also a fearful, time when we are seeking a new date or partner. We are excited by the feeling it gives us, by the possibilities that can reveal themselves and by the potential for finding a true soulmate. However, that is the time to have the feet firmly planted on the ground so that the heartache is reduced to a minimum by taking some simple preventative steps first.
Having that special chemistry in all its forms (which is explained below) is crucial to any relationship, and the best way to test its strength is to ask yourself four questions, while your new relationship kicks off. The answers to them will give you a clear indication of where you are both heading, if anywhere!
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Question. Being only 16 years old, I just wanted to know what is love is. If I felt I was in love with someone, I would have to know what love is in order to be certain, and truthfully, I have no idea what it is.
A. Being a romantic ideal, Love can mean all kinds of things to different people. But on the most basic level, Love is simply the care, value and appreciation for another. That person becomes precious to us for whatever reason we feel – like the love for our family and relatives, those who are significant to us; the platonic love for our friends and those whose company we enjoy, and the intimate love we share with our dates and partners. Thus Love appears on various levels, but the one that seems to occupy most people is the intimate romantic, emotional or sexual love.
Romantic love can be difficult to explain, or even be defined, because people have their own individual reactions to it. However, falling in love appears to be triggered by four major factors: attraction (physical, emotional and intellectual), a feeling of comfort (which encourages security, trust and happiness), a feeling of value (that the person respects and cares for you; that you really matter to them) and a feeling of excitement (that triggers the sexual and affection part of a relationship). It follows that if any of those aspects are missing there really isn’t any ‘love’ per se, it would mainly be just a crush or infatuation – a phase that would soon pass.
For example, if you meet someone and there is no feeling of value (perhaps because he/she is mean in appreciating you, or they even abuse you) there is no love there at all. Or if you do not feel completely comfortable and happy in their presence, that’s not love either. If you cannot communicate together, or feel any emotional bond, it is really difficult to love in those situations. Furthermore, if you really don’t feel any excitement when you think of that person or share their company, it’s likely that you would be just platonic friends, not lovers, because the sexual attraction would be missing.
Someone also has to love her/himself first before they can love another. That takes maturity and understanding which a younger person usually doesn’t have. That is why relationships among teenagers rarely last a long time.
How do you Know you’re ‘in Love’?
Love is always determined by feelings and emotions, and early attachment. The feeling of love might be difficult to describe but it is an overwhelming one. You think about the person a lot, you want to be with them as often as possible, you tend to think only pleasant things about them, you feel both passion and fulfilment when you are in their presence and you feel joyful most of the time. You just want to smile when you are in their presence or when you think of them. That’s how love makes us feel, totally light headed and very happy. If you don’t feel happy when you think of that person, you are not in love with them. You might love them like a relative etc., without much passion, but being in love is a different happy feeling.
Love is also totally unconditional. It does not need to be proved in any shape or form, nor does it need to be validated by anything else. True love stands on its own, always. We either feel it or we don’t. We might do little things to express it openly, but they are not necessary. They are just forms of expression that demonstrate how we feel. For example, when we love our children, they do not have to be good to get that love, neither do we have to prove it to them that we love them. That love simply stands on its own. It just is. In a nutshell, when we truly love, we really value the presence of that person and they become very significant to our lives.
People who desire proof of love tend to be very insecure in themselves for whatever reasons. Love is probably something they don’t quite understand or appreciate, which perhaps make them feel uncomfortable. Depending on their upbringing, they probably know how to care for someone and value him/her as a partner, but to actually ‘love’ them, in the actual sense of the word, might be another matter. That person might not have been loved in a demonstrative way before and does not know how to deal with it, or she/he might doubt their own love for their partner, and thus put their guilt on to them.
One way of dealing with such insecurity is this: when someone asks you to ‘prove’ your love to them, ask him/her if he really loves you. If they say ‘yes’, ask them how they prove it to you? What does love mean for them? You could both be interpreting ‘love’ differently. The responses should give you a measure of how they see love and what they expect from someone who loves them. People are obviously, different so perhaps you have to learn about each other, and how you both perceive love, before you can fully understand and appreciate one other.
Respect is not something we can demand. Respect is given freely once it is earned. Hence you cannot have respect if you give none to others. But respect starts with the self.
We cannot earn the respect of others if we have no respect for ourselves. We cannot expect others to love what we reject if we have no love for ourselves, and we cannot expect value from others if we give ourselves no value. Self-love is the key to personal value, feelings of worth, inclusion, significance and ultimately respect. If you love yourself, you will learn to recognise when people respect and value you, rather than just tolerating you. But you have to value yourself first before that can happen. the feeling that a person respects and cares for you; and you really matter to them.
One way to ensure respect for your values and person is to start appreciating others more. Reduce the judgement and criticism and increase the kindness and support. Be a FRIEND to others and they will want to be friends to you, too, and to respect and affirm you.