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Love Yourself: The 90/10 Principle

Photo by Natalie Dybisz
Loving oneself is different from being arrogant, conceited or egocentric. Loving oneself means caring about oneself, taking responsibility for oneself, respecting oneself, and knowing oneself. ~Erich Fromm

I was going through a bad patch a while back. My self-esteem hit rock bottom, and nothing I did seemed to work. My relationships were a mess and my work was faltering. I felt unhappy and unsure of myself.

I have often wondered if The Mid-Life Crisis was smacking me. In retrospect, I think it was. And it was a good thing too, because I needed to change my ways a little.

Fortunately, my friends were there for me. While having coffee one day, a friend of mine lectured me, as good friends do when they’re tired of seeing you miserable.

She said “You’ve gotta love yourself before anyone else will love you”. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that all before, I thought.

The Art of Boasting

Photo by JUCO
A man can not be comfortable without his own approval. ~Mark Twain

Piling into her lavender Honda with her white terrier scrambling over us in the back seat, my grandmother would turn down the stories on tape my sister and I listened to religiously and tell us that it was time to boast.

What followed was usually always the same; we would squirm uncomfortably in our seats, hoping that we could somehow quickly change the subject.

But my grandma has always been an incredibly persistent woman, so we would reluctantly appease her request.

The Dark Side of Self-Help

Photo by Eduardo Izquierdo
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. ~Mary Oliver

These days, as far as I can tell, some of the world is choosing drugs and distraction over soul-searching.

That’s not, you, though, right? You’re willing to do the work. You’re willing to look at the ugly stuff, and acknowledge the areas where you could use some work—whether it’s emotional, mental, physical, ethical, moral, or any other kind.

But like many things in life, there’s a shadow side to this.

At some point—if you’re not very careful—you may cross the line from personal growth into perfectionism: constantly assessing yourself and your flaws, berating yourself for not doing everything better, and then using the lessons of self-help not for freedom, but as another system for beating yourself up the very same way you would have before you started doing any work at all.

5 Steps to Fulfillment

Photo by Eduardo Izquierdo
Editor’s Note

I loved this article. Reading it has brought a sense of peace into my otherwise rushed life. I felt my mind slowing down as I read. It’s so simple, yet graceful and so relate-able. Enjoy.

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. ~Oscar Wilde

This winter took a lot out of me. The weather was milder than normal here in the Northeast, but my personal life was stormy and chaotic.

By May, when the harsh winds of conflict died and life returned to normal, I was still reeling. I found myself shuffling through my daily routine, feeling flat and disengaged.

It was, in part, a natural reaction to the stress of the previous months. One can only go full-force for so long, until the inevitable crash occurs.

But there was also an element of sheer boredom. Life felt dull and bland. Monotonous.

5 Tips to Avoid Overextending Yourself

Photo by Jon Jacobsen
To overextend yourself is to invite defeat. ~G. William Domhoff

A few years ago, after my husband and I got hitched, we flew to Italy and had a wonderful vacation, and when I got back I volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner for our family and many of our friends. Early that day, my jet lag really kicked in, I was exhausted and couldn’t believe I’d offered to do this. Never again, I thought.

This is probably one of the best times to talk about overextending yourself. The holidays are here, and between shopping, baking, parties, and volunteering there seems to be hardly enough time for a regular work day, let alone exercise, laundry and cooking dinner.

I want to stress that I’m going to deal with general, low-level problems of over-committing ourselves. That is one symptom of what can be a larger problem for some of us. It certainly was for me; about six years ago I was extremely codependent. If you’re interested in more information on that, you can check out Codependents Anonymous’ Checklist.

Regardless of how much you struggle with codependence or taking on too much, these tips can help make things a little easier.

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