I remember when I was growing up that if you were ever caught looking at yourself in the mirror, you’d be criticised for “loving yourself”.
I can also recall adults saying it about other adults. If someone displayed too much confidence they’d be dismissed as “just loving themselves too much”.
Unfortunately, the thought or suggestion of loving yourself can have negative connotations, particularly in a country where the 'tall poppy' syndrome is alive and well.
How can you expect others to love you if you don't love yourself?
Around the time we start going to school we soon learn that the world doesn’t centre around us. Our ego settles and the long process of developing our self-esteem begins. The words spoken to us, our experiences and the way we’re treated and told to behave then influence the direction our self-esteem will take.
Low self-esteem is actually a thinking disorder in which an individual views themselves as inadequate, unworthy, unlovable and/or incompetent. Once formed, this negative view of self permeates every thought, producing faulty assumptions and ongoing self-defeating behaviour.
There’s a difference between loving yourself and loving your self image. To love yourself is self acceptance just as you are. So love yourself in the present and accept who you are now, with the intention of improving yourself in the future.