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Are You Positive You Know What Loving Yourself Really Means?

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Inner Bonding

Are You Positive You Know What Loving Yourself Really Means?

Many of us know that loving yourself is important, but what does this actually mean?

Since most of us had little or no role modeling regarding loving ourselves when we were growing up, it’s often challenging to know what loving ourselves looks like. It’s through my work with my inner child and my spiritual Guidance that I’ve discovered what loving myself really means for me.

Sarah asks:

“All I know about “loving oneself” is to not let anyone (anymore) abuse me in any way, including yelling, criticizing me, etc. As I write this, it sounds like I just described “protecting myself”, so maybe I don’t know what loving myself REALLY means. I would love to hear your definition.”

Let’s look at what loving yourself means and what it doesn’t mean.

Loving yourself doesn’t mean:

  • “I’m just going to take care of me and screw you.”
  • “I’m not responsible for how my behavior affects you. That’s your problem.”
  • “If you love me, you will do what I want (whatever that is).”
  • “I’m only trying to help you and support you in what I believe is good for you –- even though you haven’t asked for my help or my opinion.”
  • “I’ll put my full attention on you and sacrifice myself for you so you will put your full attention on me and sacrifice yourself for me.”
  • “When I’m hurting it’s your fault, and it’s up to you to fix it.”
  • “Since I need your attention and approval to feel good about myself, it’s okay for me to do whatever I can to get what I need –- such as being overly nice, being angry, blaming you or withdrawing my love from you.”
  • “If you love me, and I end up disabled or dying as a result of not taking care of myself physically, that’s your problem, not mine.”

Loving yourself does mean:

  • “I am responsible for learning to manage and regulate my own feelings so that I don’t dump my anger, neediness and pain on you.”
  • “I am responsible for defining my own worth and giving myself the attention I need, so that I am not in need of getting this from you, and so I can share my love with you, including supporting you in doing what brings you joy.”
  • “I am responsible for managing my time, my space and my finances in ways that make me feel safe and don’t place an unnecessary burden on you.”
  • “I am responsible for learning how to access a spiritual source of love so that I can share love with you, rather than trying to get love from you.”
  • “I am responsible for taking care of my physical wellbeing – eating healthy foods, getting exercise and getting enough sleep, so that you don’t eventually have to take physical care of me, unnecessarily.”
  • “I am responsible for the effect my behavior has on you when I have acted out in ways that are hurtful to you.”
  • “I am responsible for taking loving care of you when you are my responsibility — because you are my child, or you are old, sick or disabled and I have agreed to take care of you. There are times when it is loving to me to put myself aside for you, like when you are an infant or toddler and you need me, or when you cannot take care of yourself.”

It took me many years of inner work to discover what loving myself looks like for me, and it may be different for you, since each of us has different things that make us feel loved and important. What makes you feel loved and important?

[Margaret Paul Relationship Toolbox]

CO-CREATOR OF INNER BONDING

Dr. Paul is the author/co-author of several best-selling books, including Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?, Inner Bonding, Healing Your Aloneness, The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook, Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids?, and Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into eleven languages.

Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, workshop leader, educator, chaplain, consultant and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars since 1967.

Margaret continues to work with individuals and couples throughout the world — mostly on the phone. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Her current passion is working on and developing content for this Website, as well as distributing SelfQuest®, the software program that teaches Inner Bonding® and is donated to prisons and schools, as well as sold to the general public.

Margaret is passionate about helping people rapidly heal the root cause of their pain and learn the path to joy and loving relationships.

In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride horses, and spend time with her grandchildren.

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