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What does it mean to "love yourself"?

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This is a discussion on What does it mean to "love yourself"? within the INFP Forum - The Idealists forums, part of the NF's Temperament Forum- The Dreamers category; I never understood it before either until a few years ago, here's how I see it: Having little inclination to ...

  1. #51

    I never understood it before either until a few years ago, here's how I see it:

    Having little inclination to follow the crowd and instead doing what I thought made most sense or what I thought was most conducive to achieving my objectives in life, I already lived the ideals around being myself. Then it registered that how we do this has as much impact as the overall idea itself; that was when I noticed it was always while speaking to myself more critically than I would tolerate from someone else. I did not have self-esteem issues, I did have issues with allowing myself to feel the full range of emotions that were just out of reach however; and that is a part of me.

    My relationship with feelings was not great on the whole - not mine and certainly not the feelings of others. They were to be controlled; people had to get over their feelings; the parts of me I didn't think conducive to what I want or life how I see it was to be overcome; I was to be overcome. In truth, this comes part and parcel with a mentality that is absorbed in wanting to figure everything out on an 'objective' and 'progressive' level - you find yourself quite irrelevant to it all until you opt into something. I could see how one's views on life and matters thereof were shaped by the individual but it was to be railed against because I wanted everything to make sense - even myself.

    Realising that I was dismissing myself in the process and harshly at that, often-times with a backlash that set me back rather propelled me forward, obviously gave me a different perspective on what I understood 'love yourself' to mean. No longer was it simply about staying true to myself and what I hope to achieve but now it incorporated supporting myself emotionally and allowing those struggles and mistakes that I wanted to write-off and cut away. Everyone is human, we're going to experience all of this even if we tell ourselves that we're not allowed to or it's not acceptable. I still struggle with it very much but I've changed the voice I speak to myself in.

    Now the tone I use is an understanding and supportive one, which comes in two parts: accepting my feelings and still remaining true to my overall nature of overcoming and progressing. I don't feel right if I'm not working towards goals I've set but where this need to improve originates from is of most importance and I've spend a long time pondering over both the negative and positive influences. Without elaborating, I'm far more self-aware regarding this. I accept that it's just part of me and have changed my method for longer sustainable benefits. Loving yourself also helps you love others better.

    You seem to want an example, this is a recent challenge* I'm having

    Before: 'Get over it, you feel sad but what exactly is this helping here? You made your choices, you've already made your plans and there is no time to wallow.'

    Now: 'Is that what you're really feeling - sad? Why do you feel that way? It's all right; everyone feels sad and some situations certainly warrant feeling so. Do you want to do anything about it? Is there anything you can do about it? No? That's fine too, you'll be all right, maybe schedule in something to make you feel a bit better.'

    * Haha I'm re-framing again. This is something else I've been implementing for a while now, using words that are more neutral or positive to me. Being prone to problem-fixing, I see everything as problems to solve and not necessarily in a bad light but certainly re-framing helps. Challenges are a lot more positive and fun to me, it's still being true to myself since I enjoy figuring things/people out.
    OrangeAppled thanked this post.

  2. #52
    INFP - The Idealists

    To have confidence in success reaching self... goals

  3. #53

    The more I think about it, the more I think loving yourself is being open to exploring yourself.

    Your relationship with yourself can be akin to beginning a healthy relationship with others; you have your expectations and what you want but you also keep yourself open to what else this person may bring.

    You don't know everything about yourself; even in a given moment if the world was at a stand-still, you're never going to be able to convey everything about yourself because what you are is both your history and the potential you hold. Identifying with the latter takes a life-time and even then, not everyone fulfils their potential in every area and is aware of exactly what they can do without stimulus.

    Loving yourself is allowing all those aspects of your self to manifest in an accepting environment you build in your mind. You may opt in favour of parts, we have to in order to function for specific causes, but that is different to rejecting parts of yourself.
    OrangeAppled and Little Red Riding Hood thanked this post.

  4. #54

    There's lot of interesting stuff here I'll try to dig deeper into later. But I want to share how I look at this: it is illogical not to accept yourself. Okay that must sound like utter NT drivel, and it is. But they have a point here. We are given this one body, one mind; put in certain locations and experiences. None of it was in your control. And even if it was, wasn't your decision only based on the sum of all experiences. The past is like a sunk cost; didn't know then what you know now. But then, what did you individually take from the experience? What do we have the capacity for? What are we born knowing? Isn't the mind itself awfully subjective? We're given these personalities, likes, feelings. And then they are moulded by the world around. Can we have free reign really when everything is so interconnected? Even those out to make their own destinies, fighting against what has been bestowed upon them. Will we ever know that that wasn't their great destiny all along? I do not speak this way to sound disempowering. I say it because you can't blame yourself. Or at least you must keep going. All we can do is strive to do our best with what we have to work with. Regrets stem from hindsight knowledge, mistakes from testing the waters. Nobody else may have yours but they're all caught up in something similar. Or heck, it could all be a hologram. Maybe I'm wrong and we're all just floating around and nothing matters. But either way, it is what it is. All of it. And to me, it makes no sense to not at least be kind of alright with it. And if you're gonna be alright with it, well, you might as well try to make it real good. I have no other choice but to try in this body with this brain. As the depths of the universe spiral out of control, I do find solace in the occasional detachment: I accept myself because there is nothing else here for me to do.

  5. #55
    INFP - The Idealists

    Quote Originally Posted by MissAl View Post
    There's lot of interesting stuff here I'll try to dig deeper into later. But I want to share how I look at this: it is illogical not to accept yourself. Okay that must sound like utter NT drivel, and it is. But they have a point here. We are given this one body, one mind; put in certain locations and experiences. None of it was in your control. And even if it was, wasn't your decision only based on the sum of all experiences. The past is like a sunk cost; didn't know then what you know now. But then, what did you individually take from the experience? What do we have the capacity for? What are we born knowing? Isn't the mind itself awfully subjective? We're given these personalities, likes, feelings. And then they are moulded by the world around. Can we have free reign really when everything is so interconnected? Even those out to make their own destinies, fighting against what has been bestowed upon them. Will we ever know that that wasn't their great destiny all along? I do not speak this way to sound disempowering. I say it because you can't blame yourself. Or at least you must keep going. All we can do is strive to do our best with what we have to work with. Regrets stem from hindsight knowledge, mistakes from testing the waters. Nobody else may have yours but they're all caught up in something similar. Or heck, it could all be a hologram. Maybe I'm wrong and we're all just floating around and nothing matters. But either way, it is what it is. All of it. And to me, it makes no sense to not at least be kind of alright with it. And if you're gonna be alright with it, well, you might as well try to make it real good. I have no other choice but to try in this body with this brain. As the depths of the universe spiral out of control, I do find solace in the occasional detachment: I accept myself because there is nothing else here for me to do.
    I am as far removed from "NTness" as one could be, and find your thoughts well organized, and just the truth. Considering the "benefits" (consequences) of self-hate, self-acceptance and self-love is "the only way" (in my view). One CAN live a life of misery quite "successfully", always finding hard to accept one's (usually perceived) flaws, and somehow moving along in life, but is it worth the pain-especially if all it takes is a conscious choice to love yourself and "walk the love"?

    (On the other hand, it's GOOD to realize when we have areas to improve, as it helps us to work at it and eventually become the best "self" we can be. However, it's important to differentiate between self-improvement and just finding oneself "lacking" in the eyes of society, as the latter is usually out of our control, and often quite unfairly.)
    Miss Thevious thanked this post.

  6. #56

    Quote Originally Posted by IcarusDreams View Post
    I am as far removed from "NTness" as one could be, and find your thoughts well organized, and just the truth. Considering the "benefits" (consequences) of self-hate, self-acceptance and self-love is "the only way" (in my view). One CAN live a life of misery quite "successfully", always finding hard to accept one's (usually perceived) flaws, and somehow moving along in life, but is it worth the pain-especially if all it takes is a conscious choice to love yourself and "walk the love"?

    (On the other hand, it's GOOD to realize when we have areas to improve, as it helps us to work at it and eventually become the best "self" we can be. However, it's important to differentiate between self-improvement and just finding oneself "lacking" in the eyes of society, as the latter is usually out of our control, and often quite unfairly.)
    I completely agree. Sometimes that inescapable misery can creep up regardless, but whenever it is not looming I try to wire my brain in the opposite direction. And then when it comes back the pain seems unable to sink in so deep. I read once when I was a teenager that acceptance should come prior to critique. I think that order makes the most sense. For me it has always been about building that foundation of "I am here and I am me" before I can move on to anything else. It's easier to fix your problems when you have the right tools. And then in that light, you can see that most of these "problems" are societal constraints. I find it incredibly helpful to sort where the problems root from. Then after that, should we blame society? Well, yes and no. Nothing wrong with calling out problems. But too much blame can become an excuse. At some point, society can become the macrocosm of our own demons. Just like we must determine how to handle ourself in our minds, we must also with how we interact; how we can make "improvements". On both of these inward and outward levels. Sometimes the movement between the two can be rather turbulent. We can feel inferior, we can feel stigmatized or unappreciated. But no different than with ourselves, those we interact only know what they know. What goes on with all of us collectively is again, a product of past events. Everybody is just who they are. And even though, compared to others, you may feel there is leverage working against you, you are still just you, and might as well try to work with it anyway.
    IcarusDreams thanked this post.

  7. #57
    INTJ

    Two points. For once I haven't read more than the first couple of posts (time constraints).

    First, the saying "Love your neighbor as yourself" is algebraically equivalent (reflexive property of equality) to "Love yourself as your neighbor."

    For the INFP, may I suggest that this means, giving to yourself, the same enfolding-encompassing-benefit-of-the-doubt-and-double-allowances-for-intentions-and-opportunities-and-private-strugges...that you routinely give to others.

    Second, taking the time and care to unravel any self-defeating behavioural, or falsely-guided-by-Fi, self-defeating habits and consequent self-condemnation. Ceasing to sabotage one's self, is not the same as unscrupulously and too-selfishly seeking advantage.

    ...and, dare I say it. Try to cultivate a little Fe: not necessarily for the sake of fitting in, and not to abandon one's heart-felt and hard-won Fi principles. But simply because, while the great mass of people is never quite entirely right, they are never quite entirely wrong, either: and mayhap it turns out, that the thing so many people around you seem to have picked up all of a sudden, is not because they are lemmings, or because they seek shallow fitting-in, but because once they tried it, it *worked*. One need not develop ALL of one's techniques and methods all alone, from first principles...

    You are unique and special. Not in the preshus snowflake sense, but in the sense that you are the only one who has traversed your path through life: there are some things that you see more clearly than many others; and, the kind word, the wisdom you give now, may be just the thing to help someone else, out of what was to them, an unwindable struggle. Kind of a moral butterfly-flaps-its-wings effect.
    sweethomealabama thanked this post.

  8. #58

    I wonder what some might make of this summary.
     

    Most persons don’t realize this, but the common, or popular, view of “love” involves an element of receiving something. “I love chocolate” really means that “I enjoy getting the experience of the taste of chocolate.” Similarly, “I love you” commonly implies “I enjoy playing with your body,” or “I enjoy believing that you will give me security or protection,” or “I enjoy feeling sexual pleasure with your body” (or “I want to have sexual pleasure with your body.”) As a result, Lacan, in his teachings about love, described the typical act of love as “polymorphous perversion.” [5]

    Don’t be put off by the big words. You already know what perversion means. Polymorphous simply means “having many forms.” So this amounts to saying, like the popular song from the 1980s, that we’re looking for love in all the wrong places. That is, we look for satisfaction in all the various titillating parts of the body but never find what is truly sought.

    What is “truly sought” is something we all experience as painfully missing from life: some comforting sense of absolute belonging and acceptance. Those who are fortunate get a sense of this feeling as babies, under a parent’s protection, although the feeling is fractured more often than not by ordinary parental empathic failures, and then it is lost entirely as children become older and independent and the awareness of their essential human isolation and mortality sets in. Those who are less fortunate suffer a deeper lack: some parents are emotionally or physically distant and rarely provide any comfort and acceptance to their children; and some parents are outright abusive, leaving their children to languish in an environment of criticism and neglect.

    Suffering from the lack of parental acceptance, some people skip from one “partner” to another over the surface of existential pain, like a stone skipping over water. As long as they stay above the surface they’re perfectly happy; but when an affair ends, and they come crashing down, they’re desperate for the next leap, sometimes searching for a new partner even at the funeral for the old one. Yet sooner or later the stone loses vitality, and with a final splunk falls into the depths of tribulation.

    Lacan points out that although “love”—that is, in its common, popular sense—is, in essence, a futile chasing after something that doesn’t exist, there is nevertheless a love beyond this “making love,” a love that exists beyond lack and limitation and that involves a sort of ecstasy of being,[6] as a matter of soul,[7] not of the body. The irony is that in the common act of “making love” we think we know what we want, but it turns out to be an illusion, while this other love touches on a real experience of which we know nothing. It’s a mystical sort of thing, as Lacan acknowledges.[8]

    Now, although Lacan doesn’t say it this way, the difference between these two kinds of love—common “love” and true love (or real love)—can be conceived of as the difference between receiving and giving.

    Note carefully, though, that giving does not refer to the mere sharing of material objects or wealth; it refers to the expression of profound emotional qualities such as patience, forbearance, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness.

    This all goes to show that it’s easy enough to “love” those who “love” us: parents who protect us, “partners” who make us feel received, animals who never threaten us. But can we love those who annoy us . . . irritate us . . . obstruct us . . . scorn us . . . hate us? Can we love our enemies? That’s the real test of real love.

    And it was out of a true understanding of the difference between common “love” and real love that a man such as St. Francis of Assisi was led—led right to the point, actually—to pray that he might seek “not so much to be loved as to love.”
    And it makes me think of it's relation to having the courage to be vulnerable and open ourselves up.
    The Genuine Heart of Sadness ~ Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
    "The sitting practice of meditation… is the means to rediscover basic goodness, and beyond that, it is the means to awaken this genuine heart within yourself. When you sit in the posture of meditation, you are exactly the naked man or woman… sitting between heaven and earth. When you slouch, you are trying to hide your heart, trying to protect it by slumping over. But when you sit upright but relaxed in the posture of meditation, your heart is naked. Your entire being is exposed-to yourself, first of all, but to others as well.

    So through the practice of sitting still and following your breath as it goes out and dissolves, you are connecting with your heart. By simply letting yourself be, as you are, you develop genuine sympathy towards yourself.” “When you awaken your heart in this way, you find, to your surprise, that your heart is empty. You find that you are looking into outer space. What are you, who are you, where is your heart? If you really look, you won’t find anything tangible and solid. Of course, you might find something very solid if you have a grudge against someone or you have fallen possessively in love. But that is not awakened heart.

    If you search for awakened heart, if you put your hand through your rib cage and feel for it, there is nothing there except for tenderness. You feel sore and soft, and if you open your eyes to the rest of the world, you feel tremendous sadness. This kind of sadness doesn’t come from being mistreated. You don’t feel sad because someone has insulted you or because you feel impoverished.

    Rather, this experience of sadness is unconditioned. It occurs because your heart is completely exposed. There is no skin or tissue covering it; it is pure raw meat. Even if a tiny mosquito lands on it, you feel so touched. Your experience is raw and tender and so personal.”

    “The genuine heart of sadness comes from feeling that your nonexistent heart is full. You would like to spill your heart’s blood, give your heart to others. For the warrior, this experience of sad and tender heart is what gives birth to fearlessness. Conventionally, being fearless means that you are not afraid or that, if someone hits you, you will hit him back. However, we are not talking about that street-fighter level of fearlessness. Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others.”

    — from Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

    This sense of vulnerability and courage to face the world openly seems on par with the sense of being able to give love in the form of patience, kindness, understanding, even to those that seem to be aggressive and threatening.
    This changes things, where it's not about loving one's self via another because you receive it from them, this doesn't bring a sense of fullness. This sentiment of giving seems to pop up in some places in this thread even.
    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    There are exceptions....over years, online, I've encountered various people, who through seemingly simple insights, illuminated something profound to me. I will frequently recall @mimesis statement that I "have the power to make others feel significant", as a way of easing my own sense of insignificance, as being a great perspective changer.
    Quote Originally Posted by WickerDeer View Post
    I think that we can learn to love ourselves by learning how we love others and attempting to treat ourselves similarly, as well as learning from others who show love to us. And then...that's not all of it. Some of it must be done alone.
    Why is that? Perhaps feeling like we're able to make people feel loved, accepted, to be kind to them, makes us feel worthy of being compassionate, forgiving and vulnerable with ourselves.

    I guess it makes me think of Carl Rogers unconditional positive regard, which like with a parent doesn't mean they can't take issue with things, but that there is a sense that no matter what they still care for you.
    I wonder how does one develop a substantive as opposed to highly abstract love towards humanity.
    Which I suspect the abstract one is an idealization of people that ignores much of the reality. Where I imagine love of people requires seeing how utterly pathetic and terrible people can be but still find them worthwhile, an inherent human dignity or something.
     



    Which makes me think of a Wisecrack video on wonder woman where she isn't bound by a sense of duty, that humans deserve her protection (because there can be a case that they arguably don't), rather she protects humans because she wants to, out of love.


    And how does this relate to self-love?
    Well the vulnerability aspect, our courage to face the world openly is also courage to look at ourselves openly, with compassion and care for ourselves. In that I don't think it's necessarily about being content with ourselves as that can imply a sense of not taking issue or perceiving any problems. But that is a first step in simply acknowledging what is and accepting it, and from there, when one can accept what is instead of being frustrated by what it isn't (the ideal). One can perceive one's own flaws and limitations without the sort of insecurity one might associate when one accidentally 'steps' on those soft spots.
    Which may be that in practice one is content, doesn't wish to change those things, the flaws not a terrible part of themselves and thus no tension with an ideal.
    Which overall sounds like being able to accepting the reality of what things are perhaps. I tend to see the most frustration occur in myself out of idealistic views that come into conflict with what is. Rather than being too attached to the ideal as being reality itself, I have to adjust to what seems to be reality by being open to reflection and criticism so that I may grow. Which doesn't mean the ideal is necessarily discarded, just that understand that it doesn't constitute 'what is', although it may be nice if it was.
    When people speak of the ego, I think of it in terms of them speaking of a mental conception of themselves. So when I speak of being attached to an ideal, it can be that they have an idealistic image of themselves that isn't in accordance with how they are.
    But as noted above, one is not meant to idealize, but see things more closely to what they are but still find it worthy in spite of it's flaws.

    I guess the task then is how do we make ourselves so courageous as to be vulnerable.
    Because it's hard, hard to open up only to yourself and confront those imperfections.
    It can be hard when someone seems to act out of hurt and attacking you and you knee jerkedly attack back rather than pause to see that they're in pain and need to be soothed.
    In this regard, I don't think there are any easy answers, and even if they are, its very clear the task takes a lot of effort.
    mimesis and Reindeer of Santalales thanked this post.

  9. #59
    Unknown Personality

    Quote Originally Posted by Wellsy View Post
    I wonder how does one develop a substantive as opposed to highly abstract love towards humanity.
    As I know it, self-love and universal love is basically the same.
    Wellsy thanked this post.

  10. #60

    Quote Originally Posted by Grandmaster Yoda View Post
    You should only accept yourself and realize that you are merely a human. This self-esteem and love is just jumping two steps away from reality. You are a human no matter what anyone's opinion is and you therefore have flaws like anyone else. The rating system, the value, it doesn't belong there.
    Disagree.. Society has a hierarchy, you don't get to choose where you are in it, but your value is related to what you can do, what you know or anything that makes you appear more suitable than another person. Just like survival of the fittest, only those who have the best minds will win in this life.. The INFPs however.. We provide nothing of worth, we're too dreamy, we give too much, we put others before ourselves, we back away from conflict and the only thing we are good at is being a mediator or a dreamer.. Which isn't very useful in a world that relies on getting things done properly and quickly.. A mediator usually makes things worse, and a dreamer just dreams, you are better off with a glass hammer and rubber nails..


     
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