We’ve all heard it. Before you love someone else, you have to love yourself. Deep down, we all know that’s true. The hard part is follow through. We all have issues that make us feel insecure, but how do we feel deep down about ourselves? I think most people who are spiritually inclined and willing to explore, try to reflect and improve themselves. So, what brought on all this reflection? Well, I’m watching the Breakfast Club, and I just can’t help but think how hard it is for many of us to really embrace who we are and love ourselves, and that is critical to the ability to have a healthy relationship with someone else.
If we don’t love ourselves, we tend to look to other people for our self-esteem. However, since most people are insecure about something, expecting someone else to supply our self-esteem is generally asking far more than most people can give. How are they going to supply our self-esteem when they can’t supply enough for themselves?
Then there comes the issues of where do you draw the line between healthy self-esteem and unhealthy narcissism? We all know there’s a big difference between the two because we’ve seen extreme examples of narcissism, those people who feel that everything revolves around them and that everything must be done their way, and we all strive for and know people who have healthy self-esteem.
When I was watching the movie, for about the zillionth time, I started thinking about the coming of Imbolc which marks the beginning of spring, and the fact that in our culture, that is immediately followed by St. Valentine’s Day, which, of course, brings up the idea of love, self-love, and the love of others. John Hughes deals with both in the movie, so how do we know when we’re doing it right.
For me the line is defined by respect for myself, and for others. If you can balance what you need with respect for other people and not take advantage and bully others in to doing things your way, you should be in good shape. I don’t profess to have any sort of degree in counseling or sociology; I can only teach what works for me, and what I think will work for you as well.
We have to respect the fact that not everyone thinks the same way, works the same way, or lives the same way. In some cases we have to learn to let go of the control that makes us feel secure. I struggle with this in many areas, but I work hard at letting people live their own lives, even if I don’t agree with it. The funny part is that I don’t generally feel the need to control their lifestyle or their religion, unless it infringes on my own freedom to pursue my life and religion, but when I see people who don’t try to improve themselves, it is very hard for me to allow them the freedom to ‘not’ accomplish anything, and ‘not’ do anything with their lives, but it’s their right, so long as they don’t hurt others with their lack of motivation or ambition.
I tend to believe we’re here to accomplish things, and improve ourselves, and evolve. To that end, I am fairly driven most of the time. I want to do so many things that I am usually trying to do much more than should be feasible, but somehow, most of it gets done. However, I have found that some things have to be put aside at times to focus on what I ‘must’ accomplish. For this reason, I tend to be less than patient with people who don’t, but that’s their right, just like it is my right not to do things the way someone else thinks I should.
Just like the kids in the Breakfast Club, that’s where we find our self-esteem, and where we begin to love ourselves. When we can allow others to be themselves and not fit our mold, we don’t have to rely on them for our own sense of self-esteem, so we can love ourselves, and then we can love someone else.