Love Yourself and Others More -- "If you would be loved, love, and be loveable."   Benjamin Franklin

Love Yourself

and

Others More

This article was originally published Feb. 12th, 2011,  by William C. Smith

Love Yourself and Others More
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"If you would be loved, love, and be loveable."
Benjamin Franklin 
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February 14th, is the day we celebrate as Valentine’s Day – the day we send cards to wives, husbands, spouses, significant others, boyfriends, girlfriends, Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents, children, teachers, friends, etc. Some people even get Valentine’s cards for their pets. No, I’m not one of them.
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Now when I was younger, it generally stopped with cards. Now it’s way more commercialized – like other holidays! Not only do we send cards, but we’re expected to send flowers, chocolates, maybe even jewelry – gold and diamonds of course! Maybe buy special gifts like trips to the spa, or romantic getaways.
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This is great for retail sells – even boosts the economy – so I’m sure not going to advocate NOT doing this.
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But let me ask you a question. Why do we celebrate this showing of love so profusely on only one day?
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Shouldn’t we show our love, affection, and appreciation for others EVERY day? Of course we should!.
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Let’s look at some ways we can accomplish that.  First there’s something very important I think we should address before we get into the techniques.
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There’s one person in your life who really, really needs this love, affection, and appreciation every day. Do you know who it is?
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Now, I know there are some selfish type personalities out there who think the world revolves around them and they’re all about what’s in it for them and the world owes them everything. You’re not one of those people! That type of person wouldn’t be reading this, now would they?
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I have so many people who come into my office telling me they don’t have good self esteem or they don’t feel worthy of love, or they feel inferior to others. Way more common than maybe you would expect. I’ll have to acknowledge, it surprised me for a long time. And still saddens me to think a person would feel this way about themselves.
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"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your
love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere.
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection."
the Buddha
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How do people learn NOT to love and respect themselves? From negative imprints from family, teachers, and friends, and then they reinforce it themselves over and over and over.
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Now sometimes it’s due to an intentionally abusive person directing their own lack of self respect and lack of love onto someone younger, smaller, and weaker than themselves. And why do they do that? The usual excuse is “that’s how I was treated. Now it’s someone else’s turn.”
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That’s garbage – an excuse! The cycle should be and CAN be broken – by choice and training!
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Saddam Hussein was abused by his father. So what did he do? He had such shallow self esteem and lack of love for himself that he took it out on others. He was ruthless! Was it right? NO! Could it have been different? Yes! He could have chosen a different path.
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This reminds me of a story I heard a long time ago. I’ll shorten it as much as I can.
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Two brothers were raised by an abusive, alcoholic mother and father. The father beat the mother and the boys. The mother beat the boys. They seldom had enough to eat – not enough money for food for the boys and booze too. So the boys sometimes went without. They had to wear dirty, ragged clothes to school. Other kids made fun of them.
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One of them got married, had a couple of children, became an alcoholic and beat his wife and children. Later he got involved in drugs and crime. And eventually he was put in prison.
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The other got married had some children and had a rewarding job as a fire fighter – helping others, even saving lives. He decided never to drink, and his wife and children were treated with love and respect.
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Each was asked why they thought their life turned out the way it did.
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Each answered – “Look at how I was raised. How could I have not chosen the path I did.”
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Yes, they each had choices.
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OK – back to loving yourself.
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It’s great to love others, but you need to love yourself as well.
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Remember I told you a lot of my clients seem to be bothered by a lack of healthy self esteem?
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Well, now I know none of you do, but just in case you know someone else that would benefit from some help in this area, let’s do a little quick technique here that will be of help. Feel free to share this with those you think will find it useful. If you have a professional practice where you get the benefit of helping others, you may want to incorporate it into your toolbox.
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We need two things to do this.
* Your imagination
*A ONE dollar bill
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Now you may have to go find a one dollar bill, but I’m not buying any excuses if you say you don’t have an imagination. If you don’t, then pretend you do (same words I use with my clients when they tell me they don’t have an imagination).
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OK – now here’s what I’m going to ask you to do. Pretend and imagine that ONE dollar bill is not really a ONE dollar bill; instead, it’s a ONE HUNDRED dollar bill!
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Hey, this sounds like fun already, doesn’t it?
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Pretend I’m sitting across from you and I notice you’ve got something in your hands.
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I say, “I see you’ve got something in your hands. What is it?”
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And of course you say “Will, I’ve got a ONE HUNDRED dollar bill in my hands.” – be sure and say the words 'ONE HUNDRED' with some energy! Don’t just mumble.
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OK, now I tell you to fold the ONE HUNDRED dollar bill in half. And you do. Then I ask, “OK, you folded it in half, how much is it worth now?
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You probably look at me a little surprised and reply, “It’s still worth ONE HUNDRED dollars!” – remember, put emphasis on the ONE HUNDRED.
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I look at you funny and say “Are you sure?” You look at the bill in your hand and say “Yeah, of course I’m sure.”.
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OK, now I tell you, “Wad it up. Make it as small as you can. Really wad it up tight.” And then I ask, “How much is it worth now?”
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Again, you reply “It’s still worth ONE HUNDRED dollars!” maybe this time with a slight irritation in your voice.
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OK, now listen very carefully (or read since you’re not here in my office with me). “I’m going to ask you to remember that little voice you hear sometime in your head.”  (Uh oh, this guy’s getting a little weird on me here – that’s what you just thought, didn’t you?).
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I continue “That little voice you hear in your head after you went to bed and went to sleep. That little voice that you don’t hear every night (I know some of you do), but once in a while. And it’s coming from the kitchen. Maybe it’s coming from the milk, or brownies, or the left over dinner. And it’s saying – ‘come into the kitchen, let’s visit."
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Now, you know what I’m talking about. You’ve heard that voice before haven’t you? You’re probably smiling a little bit.
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So I continue, “You get up, put your slippers on, go into the kitchen and turn on the light. Now what happens sometimes when you turn on that light in the kitchen? A little bug – probably a roach – RUNS across the floor to get out of the light. And if you’re fast enough, you step on it, just out of instinct. Don’t you?”
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OK – I know some of you would NEVER have a roach in your kitchen and some of you wouldn’t dare step on the little critter, but just go along with the concept here
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“Now what I’m going to ask you to do, is take that ONE HUNDRED dollar bill you told me you’ve got in your hand, place it on the floor about six or seven inches in front of you and STOMP on it, just like you would if it were a roach running to get out of the light.”
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Go ahead – do it! Put it on the floor and step on it.
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After you’ve done that, I say “Pick it up. NOW how much is it worth?” Of course you tell me again, “It’s still worth ONE HUNDRED dollars.”
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OK – one last try at this. “Now watch me (you see that I’ve made my fingers look like little scissors), pretend that your fingers are pretend scissors and pretend with your pretend scissors that you cut that ONE HUNDRED dollar bill in half.”
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Go ahead – pretend you do it! You know my next question – “How much is it worth NOW?”
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Sometimes a person will tell me it’s not worth anything, but most of the time my clients tell me it’s still worth ONE HUNDRED dollars. I ask them “Why is it still worth ONE HUNDRED dollars?” And they tell me they can tape it together.
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And they’re right – they can tape it together and it’s still worth ONE HUNDRED dollars. Some stores won’t take it, but the banks will and they’ll give you another hundred dollar bill for it, or maybe five twenties if you ask them to. Of course, they’ll take it out of circulation, but you still got your money.
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Now, here’s the MOST important part:
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Our conversation continues.
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Then I say, “Have you ever felt like you got folded over in life? Maybe something happened that knocked the wind out of your sails, but you were still able to get back up?
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You say “Yes” – I’ve never had anyone say no to this.
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I continue, “And have you ever felt like you got wadded up, and felt smaller, or maybe even got stepped on by others?”
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Again, you say “YES” – you’re probably remembering particular times this happened to you, maybe even recently
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Next, I ask, “Have you ever felt like your life got torn in half, ripped apart?”
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Nearly everyone has experienced this – a divorce, getting fired, loss of a loved one, etc.
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And again you say “Yes, I’ve felt like that before” – maybe more than once for those of us who have been around a few years.  And sometimes, there will be a few tears shed at this point.  That's why I have tissues handy.
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Get ready, here it comes – “OK, but you SURVIVED. You (hopefully) learned something from it, and you GREW and got STRONGER! Now it didn’t feel good at the time, but YOU DID GET UP and YOU KEPT ON LIVING!” So whatever the negative thought, action, imprint – whatever you want to call it, that has been holding you back, realize – you survived, you got up, you learned, you got STRONGER!
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Now love yourself enough to forgive yourself for carrying around that heavy burden. And realize you are STRONG. You CAN survive and because you LEARNED from it, you’re better equipped to deal with ANY problem that may be facing you – no matter how large it is – YOU CAN handle it and be proud
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And forgive other people who might have been responsible for those things. Do it for yourself. Holding in the hurt, resentment, and even anger hurts you more than them in the long run.
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“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
Malachy McCourt
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Now, I'm going to ask you to do something else. That dollar bill - take it and tape it some where that you'll see it on a regular basis. Maybe your bathroom or dresser mirror, your closet door, the cabinet door where you get your coffee mug in the morning.
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And from now on, EVERY time you see it – no—not just that dollar bill – but every dollar bill – every bill of any denomination – a five, ten, fifteen (just checking to see if you were paying attention), fifty, hundred, or when you write a check, or use a credit card –REMINDS YOU – you’ve survived, grown stronger, and have learned from those things and people who tried to bring you down!
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"Love yourself! Dance like nobody’s watching;
love like you’ve never been hurt.
Sing like nobody’s listening;
live like it’s heaven on earth.”
 Mark Twain.
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How are some ways to LOVE YOURSELF every day?
Start by letting go of the past! Break any bad habits, or replace them with good ones. Give yourself a break – don’t expect yourself to be perfect because you’re not! Learn (and practice) some stress reduction techniques. Reward yourself with some good, positive, healthy rewards (not ice cream!!!) – maybe a massage, a new pair of shoes, a walk in the park, a new CD, a new book – something you’ll actually get some pleasure from without regrets!
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And back to the original thought process we started with – how can you show love, affection, and appreciation for others?
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If you’re in a relationship – then every day, yes every day – tell that person you love them, and don’t give me that garbage that she already knows you do – Yes, I used the word “she’, because it’s usually the guys who are guilty of this, but there are a few women who are guilty as well – so if it applies whether you’re a man or a woman – DO IT!
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Do you HAVE to use the word LOVE? You don’t HAVE to, but why not use it? OK – maybe if you’re not comfortable getting all warm and mushy, at least tell the other person something you appreciate about them. Maybe their smile, how they help you feel better about yourself, they make a great cheese sandwich, they have pretty (nice) hair, they smell good, they work hard to provide for the family (men and women), you like how they massage your shoulders or feet, they …. OK this could go on a long time – you think of that person and take stock here – what do you LOVE and APPRECIATE about them?
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Now, don’t forget Valentine’s Day itself, but realize, that’s not the only day you can give them a card, or simply write a note – leave a sticky note on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator, call and tell them you thought of them – you can do it ANY day – more often than you have. Do IT! Show that person you care, really care! And don’t take it for granted they know you love them! Do you like to be taken for granted?
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OK – I think some of you just said that you don’t like being taken for granted, but you feel like you are. Well, maybe, just maybe it’s because that other person feels the same way.
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You make the first move. And pretty soon, you’ll find that it becomes a two way street with both of you expressing your love! Now won’t that be great!!
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Take time to listen – really listen to that person. Participate in the conversation! I’ve had so many clients tell me their relationship would be so much better if their husband or wife just listened once in a while. Of course, I always ask “Do you listen?” Show by example what you want!
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Make eye contact. Tell them how lucky you are to have someone so wonderful in your life.
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OK – what about employees or bosses? . That just reminded me of one of my very first bosses – Mr. JT Sadler. Every day – from the first to the last day I worked for that man, when I left, he always told me he appreciated me. Made me feel good. I was only 18, but I learned a lot from that man about how to treat others.
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Now you might not want to use the word LOVE with your boss, but you can still express respect, courtesy, and appreciation! Use your imagination, you’ll find a way – maybe by doing a good job.
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And since we were talking a little about Valentine’s Day – I know I sort of got sidetracked, didn’t I?
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I was going to give you a brief history, but instead, I think it would be more fun and educational for you to do a search for Valentine’s Day and do your own research.
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"Feeling the oneness of yourself with all things is true love."
Eckhart Tolle
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Now, here’s something I’m going to ask you to consider
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There are a lot of people out there who are alone – not just on holidays, but every day. They may be living alone or in a nursing home, or hospital – away from others they loved and were loved by at one time.
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How about remembering those who may not receive Valentine cards / flowers – and make someone happy – better yet, do it anonymously. Distribute flowers and cards at a nursing home! Send a Valentine to a charity of your choice – with a check for a contribution. Do this to help others, but think of how good you will feel by doing it as well!
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This is another way to learn to love yourself more by the wonderful feeling you get when you help others. It causes you to smile and when you smile more, people just automatically seem to like and even love you more! DO IT!
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And that’s my story and I’m sticking with it!
 

Copyright 2011 All rights reserved.

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