Lately, I’ve been worried. While not unheard of for an anxious person like me, this time my concern seems understandable in the era of self-quarantines and social distancing. As an avid personal development enthusiast, the biggest piece of self-help advice that I come across everywhere is to love yourself.
It seems to be the cure-all that is prescribed most: if someone did you wrong, love yourself. If something didn’t turn out the way you planned, soothe yourself. If you are feeling good about life and accomplished something, treat yourself.
I get it and completely agree that turning to ourselves to fulfill our own needs is an absolute must. But when does it become too much or too selfish? Where is the fine line between meeting your own needs and living in your own world without any regard or courtesy for other people? Because the reality is that we are in this life and world together, not apart.
You’ve got to admit, relationships have become nearly impossible to maintain in 2021. Yet it seems like there’s no shortage of advice telling us to keep to ourselves to cope with everything or to even attract others to us. And that’s what worries me – that at one point or another, self-love becomes selfishness, which will exacerbate the already existing barriers against making authentic connections.
So how do we expect to have growth if we stay within our own bubbles? We are, by nature, social creatures, which is why I cringe every time I feel like I’ve been banished to sit with me and only me during tough times. I’ve been there/done that and it never really prepares me enough to be with others, which, contrary to the (popular?) self-help belief, is part of life, just as much as giving ourselves what we need should be part of life too.
The goal should be to build our own supply of self-love in order to love others fully and unconditionally. As difficult as relationships and connections are for me, I always learn far more from them than I do indulging in all sorts of distractions and past-times by myself. So, I don’t think being comfortable isolated and alone all the time is healthy, in the same way that forcing yourself on others isn’t.
I think middle ground is the key, which I’m trying to instill in my own life. We shouldn’t fall on one end of the spectrum or the other. It’s okay to be in the middle and I’m working on getting there.