a friend to yourself first

something i have always been fascinated by is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  while many modern day scholars regard this theory as underdeveloped, i believe there to be great merit in it.  the hierarchy outlines our most basic of needs like food and leads to more abstract concepts such as self actualization.  according to maslow, once one level is fulfilled we are able to then fill the next.  an interesting concept is that the tier involving our sense of love and belonging comes before esteem.  i want to make the argument that esteem should come before love and belonging.

i learned a long time ago, that in order to accept love from others, i had to accept love from myself first.  how is it possible to truly let others love and care for you if you cannot love and care for yourself?  i have found that you can’t.

so what does it mean to be a friend for ourselves?  i think this begins with basic self care.  do you cherish your body?  our bodies are incredibly dynamic and precious things.  there are hundreds of systems working in harmony with one another at any given moment.  our body gives us the power to to run marathons, give a kiss to our loved ones, and create new life.  this vessel which holds our soul is constantly nourishing us.  we need to give nourishment back to it.  nourishment can take so many forms: a day at the beach, a glass of wine after a long day at work, a bubble bath, or even going to bed 30 minutes early.  we must give back to our bodies to show respect for what they continually give back to us.

then there comes nourishment of our soul.  we must do things that make us feel alive, things that empower us, things that inspire ourselves and those around us to be the people we dream of being.  we nourish our soul through chasing our dreams.  this could be using our savings from waiting tables to travel through Asia or going back to school for our second degree.  it is the things we do to create our own destiny.

in my own personal experience, i have found that i let the opinion of others deeply influence the opinion i have of myself.  the truth is, we should all be our own number one fans.  we should be cheering for ourselves as we cross the finish line in achieving our goals and discovering who we are.  so while it is important that as human beings, we receive love and belonging from others, the most important person we need to receive love and belonging from is ourselves.

so far gone should the days be where we look outside ourselves from validation.  we do not need the mean girl’s approval anymore.  she only feels the need to exert power because she feels threatened by your ability to love yourself.  don’t let her or anyone else take away your ability to treat yourself like a divine god or goddess.

our country was founded on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  so why do we let the opinion of others stop ourselves from achieving that happiness if it is our right?  it is you who determines your opinion of yourself.  holding yourself in high regard enables others to see you in the same light.  so tell the mean girl to take a backseat, because she doesn’t determine your self worth.  every moment you spend loving yourself, is a moment you spend standing in the light of your own future.

after all this, we can finally answer the age old existentialist question which plagues us in college applications, job interviews, and day to day life as a whole: who am i?  you can answer: someone who treats their body as a temple, their soul as their greatest treasure, and has the upmost respect and love for the two when they are combined.

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