Love is the master key ...
Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness.
"Boy, is that song true" I heard him say,"'cause I really feel like a
nobody." He was, I thought, the lady-killer of the hotel lounge where we
both worked. I would never have imagined this guy being without a date, and
there were plenty of times I went home wishing I could be as successful as
he surely was with the women. It still stuns me today that this guy with
the model-quality looks could feel so lonely and think so poorly of
himself. That night really drove home how important self-love was--more so
than any other quality we could have. It wasn't just us "average" people
who needed it. It was potentially anybody.
Being loving starts with loving yourself. We must find ourselves worthy of
our own love exactly as we are at this moment if we are to truly love
others. For most of my life, this has been impossible for me: I couldn't
even imagine myself as lovable if others didn't love me first. I cheated
myself out of a lot of love in the process.
Psychologically speaking, whatever we believe, we attempt to affirm. We
will try to categorize all sensory input by these schemas, using it as
evidence for or against our beliefs. Unfortunately, being somewhat
subjective when it comes to beliefs, we'll usually try to put new
information into the "evidence for" category. Therefore, if I believe that
I'm unlovable, I'll process things that happen to me in terms of whether or
not they say I'm lovable. Believing myself to be unlovable, however, I'll
look as hard as I can to find reason this is true. I'll scrutinize
everything that doesn't fit this belief and try to discount it. I'll
rationalize away until I've found the technicality that allows me to use it
to confirm my unlovability. Just as a scientist tries to sweep under the
carpet evidence from his experiments that counters his hypothesis, I'll try
to discount the signs that I actually could be lovable, too, if I believe
strongly that I'm not. Therein lies the reason that we can't be loved by
someone else until we love ourselves: if someone else expresses love for us
in some form, we won't see it as an expression of love. A real-life
example: a friend of mine tried and tried one night to "pick me up" at a
dance, but because I didn't believe there was any way she would really find
me desirable, I figured she was just being silly. I didn't respond to her
advances, and only later did I discover she really was interested in me and
felt hurt and rejected by my unresponsiveness that night. I didn't believe
I was lovable, so I couldn't see the love meant for me.
Conclusion: if I don't love myself, I'll miss the "I love you" signals sent
by others. Fortunately, the reverse is also true: if I do love myself,
I'll miss signals of contempt sent by others, instead picking up on more of
the little loving gestures sent my way.
People are uneasy with the concept of self-love. Contrary to what some
people would have you believe, loving yourself does not mean that you can't
have feelings about the losses and gains you experience in life... merely
that they should not dictate your ability to love yourself. Even a big
corporation like Amway says it's so: you first have to like yourself where
you are, or you'll never like yourself where they can take you. If you
gain, that makes love a little easier. If you lose, that doesn't mean you
aren't lovable. Self-love also does not mean narcissism, to which it is
often equated. Narcissistic people feel they are better than everyone else
and flaunt it whenever they feel it necessary. People who love themselves
aren't concerned with comparing themselves to anyone else. They recognize
that they, like everyone else, deserve love regardless of status or
People who love themselves treat themselves nicely and do healthy things
for themselves. They don't indulge in behaviors they know are destructive.
People who love themselves radiate a magical self-confidence that draws
others to them, yet they don't feel the need to win the adoration of the
world. People who love themselves know how to give away that love to
others; they help them feel loved and show them how to love themselves.
People who love themselves can include you. Try, and a beautiful world will
slowly unfold in front of you as you grow.
[ Oliver Wendell Holmes -- from 'Love Quotes' (LoveQuotesfirstname.lastname@example.org) ]
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