Why self-love leads to happiness

Be brave enough to peel back your layers

Regardless of what the mainstream media tries to tell us, we will not love ourselves more if we buy that lipstick or that car or get that job. KEMI NEKVAPIL explains why self-love is the real road to happiness.

When we were born, we all loved ourselves. We were not conscious of this love, it was just there. We were born worthy.

As life starts to imprint on us through family, culture and society, we begin to become conscious of ourselves, and our worth. We pick up that some actions and ways of behaving are more lovable, more accepted, than others, and everyone wants to be loved so we try and fit in; mould ourselves to what we think is acceptable and more lovable to others.

As children, we want to be part of the gang, but this does not change when we become adults. We still want to be part of the gang, so we go to the right school, we buy a house in the right location and we go to the right restaurants.

False self-love

We construct a false self-love – one that is determined by how we think others perceive us. Over the years, we moderate, dumb down and deny parts of ourselves that we do not believe are acceptable. Anything that does not fit into the shiny, constructed version of ourselves, we begin to hide. We hide our vulnerability, our shame, our desires, our weaknesses, and even our dreams. In hiding these parts of ourselves, we start to despise them, and we begin to despise the same traits in others.

How do I know this? For many years, I dumbed down my passion and my dreams because I was told it was too much, I was too much. So I slowly smoothed my edges, curbed my passion and created the dream of being ‘nice’. I do not mean nice in a kind way, but nice in a bland way. I constructed a nice identity.

I was not fulfilled or happy. I did not love myself. But I was nice.

How we feel about ourselves, how we value ourselves, has an impact on how we value and interact with others. Self-love is not just important for the individual, it is important for everyone else too.

Become authentic

“The quality of your relationship with yourself determines the quality of your relationship with everything else,” Dr Robert Holden writes in his best-selling book Loveability.

As soon as we begin to peel back the layers of our constructed identities, through personal development and life experiences, we get closer to who we really are. We become more authentic.

Authenticity is scarier than the constructed versions of ourselves, but it is more rewarding. There is no more pretending, no more hiding and no more self-loathing. We become kinder to ourselves and others. How we speak to ourselves, how we look after our bodies, who we allow into our lives, what we let go and how we contribute to the world changes.
We begin to see the world in a brighter, more positive way.

We allow faults and flaws in others as we begin to accept flaws and faults in ourselves.

Learn to love yourself

Self-love is an ongoing journey in a world where the biggest and most-used marketing tool is telling us we are not worthy enough, yet, or not loveable, yet.

To drown out the noise, we need to want to go deeper, to gain the courage to want to know who we really are. Then we need to nurture the process of peeling back the layers to experience a way of living that honours us all as unique individuals – flaws and all.

As Margot Anand said: “Loving yourself does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honoured guest in your own heart; a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion.”

You can start nurturing your self-love right now. You just need to become interested in who you really are and be brave enough to start peeling back your layers. 

NEXT: Are you aware of your inner mean girl?

Raw Beauty by Kemi Nekvapil, 25.95, keminekvapil.com

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