“Love yourself first because that’s who you’ll be spending the rest of your life with.”
Tough guys don’t talk about feelings. Right? WRONG. Today I’m getting real with all of you on a topic that is typically not blogged about with business owners and men.
I want to talk this week about something in most people’s minds, but people like me rarely discuss it: Self-love.
In the past, I have been very harsh with myself. I have beat myself up for not being successful enough or a good enough father, husband, friend, etc. Despite hearing how important it is to love oneself, I don’t know if I could have shouted from the rooftop, “I LOVE MYSELF!”. In 2012, my wife Jenny and I went to “Unleash the Power Within,” an Anthony Robbins event. During the intense three days, we learned so much about self-love, forgiveness, and being enough.I don’t think I consciously said to myself, “Hey Aaron, you’re not good enough, man!”. It just happened. An inner feeling that I was a failure. An inner sense that I was wasting away and not giving myself the love I deserve. Social media adds pressure to this already serious issue. We expect each other to post all the great things going on in our lives, how wonderful our marriage is, how much money we have, and the vast circle of friends and popularity surrounding us. The highlight reel doesn’t leave room for REAL. In the life and business, and all the chaos that comes with being an entrepreneur, business owner, husband, father, friend, I would forget to show myself love and enjoy all of the quirky, cool things that make me ME. “Falling in love with yourself first doesn’t make you vain or selfish – it makes you indestructible.” There was a time when I would subconsciously be criticizing myself as I drove to Rudy’s BBQ or Taco Bell. I stayed at the office late because I didn’t want to face my home failures. It wasn’t doom and gloom, but more just like groundhog day where I wasn’t practicing self-love as I should have. Contrary to what people may believe, I had this voice on my shoulder, whispering that I wasn’t making a difference, and I wasn’t doing work that mattered. I was battling with my voice, my expectations, my standards. Standard #1 should be to love yourself, no matter what! There will be times when you beat yourself up and then realize how harsh or ridiculous you are acting. Your job is to do this as little as possible, and when it does happen, to acknowledge it and re-focus on positive self-love and self-respect. What can you focus on to remember how awesome you are? Sometimes, I read kind text messages from friends or family that I save on my phone. It reminds me that despite my flaws and imperfections, people love me! And if others love me, I must love myself. I remind myself that I am good enough because I don’t let something that happened to me define me. I would associate being sued or divorced or broke with strong feelings. Feelings of resentment and even hate for the events that shaped these. But then I realized it had all made me who I am. It has brought me to my new business, my wife, and my new and unexpected happiness.
Self-love can often start with self-awareness. Be mindful of the things you say to yourself. Here is another way to remind yourself you ARE good enough: Talk to yourself in the mirror. It might seem silly or weird at first, but it will work. Say things like: I am smart! I am handsome/beautiful! I am funny. I am a great friend. I am…. fill in the blank. Do this every day, and watch your confidence and self-love grow. When you are more aware of how you talk to yourself, you will be better at talking to yourself in a more loving, positive way. If you hear yourself say something that isn’t loving or supportive to yourself, don’t beat yourself up for it, but make a note, say something positive and move on. You aren’t perfect.
I hope this blog post helps you look at the way you love yourself. I know that sometimes it takes intentional effort. I challenge you to look at how you love yourself and try to treat yourself more lovingly. Especially if you don’t like to talk about your feelings, I hope this helps you get a little more comfortable.
Unconditional love for yourself: You deserve it, and you are good enough!