Self-love prompts us to explore who we are.  Taking a keen interest in our own lives, we spend time to get to know ourselves.  What is the unique experience referenced in the statement, “I am”?  As we mature, we come to recognize that the most important audience is in the inner chambers of our own being.  Loving ourselves, we strive to create an internal environment that results in the consistent, good company of uplifting thoughts, positive emotions, a good attitude, accurate perspective, good judgement, and the self-discipline that it takes to promote our greatest experience of life.

Love of self is learning how be one’s own best friend by wanting and doing the best for oneself through a life-long commitment to personal growth and development.  It requires taking personal responsibility to cultivate a lifestyle that promotes our greatest and highest good.  It also requires that we adopt helpful attitudes and behaviors that support optimal physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

One of the most important life skills to develop is self-observation, particularly in the area of our thoughts.  Where do our thoughts take us?  Are they uplifting?  Do they offer encouragement?  Do our minds pause to recognize our good qualities and deeds?  Or, conversely, do our thoughts discourage us from believing in our own abilities and our own self-worth?  

What about our habits?  How are we living our lives?  Do we put our good ideas into action?  Or, do we offer ourselves excuses to do what is pleasurable in the moment even when we know it is not in keeping with our goals?  

When we have adequate self-love, we want to not only develop ourselves, but also to protect ourselves against behaviors that can too easily turn into bad habits.  No one sets out to become the next alcoholic, but alcoholism is a widespread global epidemic.  The same is true of cigarette smoking, over-eating, gambling, and host of other activities that undermine our well-being.  So, we want to protect ourselves from avoidable burdens by keeping one eye on our present circumstances and one eye on the horizon so that we can direct our course and end up where we want to be, and like ourselves along the way.  Whatever and whenever course-corrections are required, we need to do them.  Nothing is too big to tackle, and we are never too small to take on what is ours to take on.  Sometimes what we need to do requires the assistance of others.  Wise people seek out the services of others when needed.  

Appropriate self-protection extends to our social lives as well.  Maintaining uplifting company is important because, as social beings, the company we keep heavily influences our thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and the conclusions we draw about life.  How we complete the following statement, “People are generally __________,” is likely directly related to our experiences of those around us.  If we think people are generally good, kind, and helpful, it is likely because we have been around thoughtful people.  If we think people are generally untrustworthy, it is likely because we have been around people who have behaved in selfish ways.  While we don’t have control over our childhood homes, we do have control over who we choose to befriend.  Choosing wisely helps us to like ourselves, others, and our lives in general.  

One last point on the topic of self-protection to consider, is physical safety.  While we’d prefer to think of the world as a safe place, the unfortunate reality is there are some people who are capable of extremely ugly behavior.  Proper care of ourselves takes this into consideration. 

Self-Protection:  Dealing with Aggressive Situations - with Bail Bondsman and Bounty Hunter, CJ

While there are multiple reasons why intoxication ought to be avoided, such as it is bad for our health, makes us more susceptible to accidents, and can damage relationships, another extremely important reason is that it makes us more vulnerable to criminals and other ill-intended people.    

Self-love instructs us to be both gentle and firm with ourselves so that we make good, helpful choices for ourselves and our lives. 


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Living with Purpose


kathryn england

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