The difference between egoism and self-love
Putting myself first. Isn’t that a very selfish thing to do? Many of us have been taught since we were very young that we should take care of others before taking care of ourselves. We believe that it is a positive feature to be able to put others first. We’re proud of forgetting our own needs and making sure others are doing fine.
The need of putting yourself first
I truly believe that you can never make the people around you happy, when you are not happy yourself. How can you take care of others when you don’t take care of yourself?
When a store only gives away things, it will be empty very quickly. By asking money in return, a store can refill itself and be able to continuously provide us with the stuff we need. A bank account won’t be able to support us very long when we only take money off of it.
Stuff is energy. Money is energy. Love is energy.
By only giving we run empty very quickly. We need to refill ourselves in order to be able to keep on giving over a long period of time. We can hold other people responsible for filling ourselves up with energy. We can expect others to do us a favor when we help them out. But by doing that we depend on others for our own well-being. First of all: that’s not a fair thing to do. We give others a responsibility they never asked for. We might blame them for something they never realized they were expected to do. Second: nobody can ever make you happy except yourself. No matter what others do for you, when you don’t believe you deserve this sign of love, it will never ever really fulfill you.
What is self-love?
Real self-love means loving and accepting yourself completely and unconditionally for all that you are. Including your flaws and imperfections. It means embracing you shadow side for it teaches you about life. It means being the real you without putting your ego up front. Your ego consists of the masks and patterns you’ve created throughout your life. But your ego is not who you really are. Your ego is like a character in a play that you wrote. But you are the director. You can gently ask the ego to step away from the stage so you can show your real you to yourself – and the audience.
Love the creator of your world. Love who you are.
Egoism comes from fear
Self-love is putting yourself central in your world from a state of love. Egoism is putting you central from a state of fear. Egoism is created by deficiency and scarcity. You might have experienced a lack of love when you were a child and feel like you need to catch up on love now. By doing that you focus on this need. You experience love as a scarce resource. Egoistic love means a fear of sharing love because you are afraid there won’t be enough love left for you.
Egoism is securing a (large) piece of the cake without caring if everybody gets some. Self-love is making sure everybody, including yourself, gets a piece of the cake, even when the piece everybody gets will be smaller because you also gave yourself a piece.
Make self-love your first priority
I believe self-love is the most important condition for living a happy life. Self-love is the foundation for any process of growth.
How to love yourself? It’s a process I know very well… especially how simple it seems and how difficult it really is. It is very easy to make loving yourself conditionally. ‘I can only love myself when you show you love me.’ ‘I can only love myself when I go jogging every day.’ ‘I can only love myself when I’m thin.’ ’I can only love myself when my kids are playing quietly.’ ’I can only love myself when the house is clean.’ ’I can only love myself when I’m walking in a forest.’
That’s not real self-love. Self-love is loving yourself when you are sitting on a couch, doing nothing, unshowered, tangled hair, in a messy house, with a huge to-do list waiting for you and the kids/dog/cat/chicken jumping on the couch.
Self-love is embracing you for being afraid to make a phone call. Self-love is embracing your furious rage about nothing because it teaches you about forgetting to create your own boundaries and finding out what is important for you.
Self-love is staring to the sunset with no one around and feeling perfectly happy. Self-love is sharing love and happiness with the people around you because there is enough of it.
When you really love yourself, there is love and happiness abundantly. You will overflow with those emotions. Well, that overflow is exactly the part you can share with others. You are totally fulfilled yourself, and yet there is still infinite love and happiness to share.
Self-love and polyamory
Relationships are very often based on fear. You have found someone who loves you, but this love is scarce. There is always the fear that there might come a day that the person who provides you with the love you need, will walk out of the door and take your source of love away too.
What will happen when you are not any longer depending on somebody else to feel loved? You will feel complete and whole just on your own. You can live without fear. When there comes a person into your life to share love on this wholeness base with, you will experience infinite + infinite = even more love.
Now what would happen if you allow yourself to completely and truly love yourself, and you allow yourself, from that state, to love multiple people in your life? Maybe even everybody?
How much is infinite + infiniteinfinite?
I think that will be a life filled with a whole lotta love!
Of course, allowing yourself to living polyamorously brings a lot of challenges. The main challenge I experience is a fear of losing love. Each and every time I experience the feeling that love is a scarce thing, I come down to the point where I realize I just don’t love myself totally yet.
How I deal with egoism and scarcity
When I realize I’m acting on a base of egoism, i.e. fear and scarcity, I embrace all feelings of for they don’t tell me anything about the people around me, but all about myself. There’s work to do. It can feel easier and tempting to judge and resist these feelings. But by doing that I only make them stronger. I’ve tried it many times – never worked
What I try to do now is to accept all emotions and to communicate with all these little voices that try to tell me something. Many fears stem from a time where you felt you missed something. Love, money, attention, food… Fear is trying to protect you, but very often there is no danger presently. Fear tries to protect you from something that isn’t there.
By listening to what your emotions want to tell you, most of the weight is already released. It can help to write down your feelings if you are having a hard time talking about them (or when you don’t know who you could share your thoughts with). You could sing, meditate, dance, run or shout. Feel what would help you in this situation. I love to do yoga and write my feelings down, even if the person I want to share my thoughts with is sitting next to me.
You will notice that when you listen to what your fear wants to tell you without judgment, you can let it go. Embrace your fears; embrace yourself, for it will only bring you closer to who you really are.
Accepting yourself for all that you are is self-love. Accepting egoism is self-love.