Throughout life itself, from cradle to grave — and especially often in the world of self-help and (confidence) coaching — we’re often told to love ourselves. And yes, we totally should.
Questioning this principle seems counter-intuitive. Why wouldn’t loving yourself be a means to an end?
It’s not that it isn’t beneficial. On the contrary, loving yourself is awesome, and we should all do it. Confident people love themselves. So if you want to get confidence, you’d better.
However… Some people might find the very idea indisputable, and unexaggerable. (That’s a word now.) But I never did.
While loving oneself is definitely associated with confidence, the premise is actually questionable.
Because none of us are fixed, static beings. We grow. We behave and think in accordance with what goes on in our lives and surroundings. Where we want our lives to go — and go away from.
Who you are tomorrow might be slightly different from who you are today. And even more so in a year. Hell, we change all of the cells in our bodies over a seven-year period. Who you are today is literally not the same as you were seven years ago.
Personally, while I’d still hang out with myself seven years ago, it actually wouldn’t apply much further back than that. Before I started my education, I was a mess. My life went nowhere; I was depressed and on social welfare; numbing myself with stimulants galore.
That person, I simply don’t love. And that doesn’t mean I love myself any less today. On the contrary, it’s only because I’ve evolved so much and gained so much confidence since then, that I do. If I hadn’t, I’d still be in that same pitiful position.
Another thing is that everything, as they say, should be done in moderation. And while that also includes moderation itself, it goes for loving oneself, too.
Think about it. Is it really impossible to imagine how one might be able to love oneself too much??
I can mention several examples, both now and through history, of people who would’ve benefited tremendously from having a little less narcissism and a little more realism.
I’m sure several serial killers, and, indeed, several powerful leaders/dictators around the world love themselves. — Just imagine how much better the world would be if those people could take some of their megalomania and replace it with a little empathy, compassion, and generosity. (Yes, I’m totally writing this with someone particular in mind.)
We need to put things into perspective. Yes, you should love yourself if you want confidence. There’s not one genuinely confident person on Earth who doesn’t love themselves. But these two things make them really, truly confident:
A) They’re aware that they constantly learn and grow, and they make sure to evolve towards even more strength and love, and not away from it.
B) Their confidence and love for themselves is complemented and supported by the ability to encompass a greater good. Including the lives and needs of the people around them.
And then, of course, there’s ability, determination, focus, dedication, mindfulness, assertiveness, resourcefulness, self-evaluation, self-discipline, exercise, physical well-being… And all the other great things that go hand in hand with being confident.
So, in summary: