Years in, I still cringe at the idea of loving myself. While try to be compassionate to others, it’s a struggle to always love myself. But I’ve found a solution that works for me. It will work for others, too. This is a lesson for those of you who may feel same way about self-love.
The First Date Rule: How To Be More Compassionate and Self-Loving
Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
– M. Scott Peck
First, let’s talk about how self-love impacts our ability to achieve goals. It’s a strange paradox that someone with goals is striving to change their life. They are working to change who they are too, and yet they are still told it’s important love themselves as they are. I don’t think I’m the first person to find that just a little irrational.
Yet it’s true: you do need to love yourself if you are going to be successful. In fact, without it, you’ll fail — if not on the path to reaching your goals, then in some other context. Here’s why:
There are three components to self-love: self-acceptance, self-respect, and self-belief.
Self-acceptance means you took the time to peel back the layers to figure out who you are. It means you’ve accepted all that comes with that realization. We all want to be the best we can be, but knowing what makes you human is a huge advantage for you. The less time you spend trying to please others, the more time you can spend moving along your unique path.
Self-respect means you think about your own needs first. You establish healthy boundaries for asking of, receiving from, and giving to others. You say ‘no’, and don’t feel bad about it. Respecting yourself in this way frees up time to achieve your goals. It also affords you calculated windows of time to give back.
Self-belief means you know that you hold the power. How your life plays out depends on what you choose to do each day. It’s a powerful perspective, and it’s loaded with responsibility. But it’s also most likely the one to lead you to the promised land.
Combine these three things and you’ve got a recipe for loving yourself well. And based on the each description, you can see how self-love improves your ability to achieve goals.
The real work is getting people like myself to buy into these things. If I scoff at self-love, or don’t know where to start, what’s the next step?
My suggestion is to take self-love outside of yourself. Make it rational. Package it in a way that not only makes sense, but seems desirable.
And now, here’s the kicker. You’ve already embodied all three of the components of self-love without thinking.
That’s how The First Date Rule For Self-Love was born.
Think about the last time you went on a first date. No first date in the history of the world will go well if you argue with, call out, or disrespect the other person. How likely are you to accept what someone shares about their life on a first date? How keen are you to ensure he or she feels respected?
The effort — in this context — doesn’t even feel like work. It’s the right thing to do. And that’s the part you should internalize and apply to your goals.
The First Date Rule is simple: if you wouldn’t do it to or around someone else on your very first date, don’t do it to yourself.
Treat this rule like a filter, and apply it to your thought process and daily actions. Next time you think about how unhappy you are with your progress, think about the language you’re using. Would you talk to another human being you just met like this?
You can still challenge yourself, as long as it’s not too excessive. At some point, the dating analogy doesn’t apply to you achieving goals. But it can also prevent negativity from swirling around the mind of someone who lacks compassion for themselves.
The First Date Rule is a tool for developing character and accountability. It’s a strategy for getting you outside of your own head to objectively interpret your actions. Where do you stand?
Here are three examples from common areas of life to get you started with implementing The First Date Rule:
Love your work, but don’t brag about it. Refrain from beating yourself up if you aren’t where you’d like to be yet. Your work does not define who you are as a person.
Eat a moderate amount of food. Be mindful as you eat. Also, don’t be a slob when you eat; you wouldn’t even consider it on a first date.
Keep track of your commitments. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, and make up for it when you do. Keep healthy boundaries. Talk about your problems and come up with solutions together.
Upon further inspection, The First Date Rule For Self-Love is a mindset for doing things the right way. It’s common sense that you’d do these things for a first date. But common sense is rarely common.
What about the people already in your life? What about you?
For those of you who struggle with the idea of loving yourself, I urge you to give this tool a try. It has changed my life for the better, and it will change yours, too.