Open blossom of a Hakea tree

Self-love as a social foundation

While there are clearly many things that could occupy our time or thoughts in life, how well’s any of it really likely to work out if our existence isn’t built on foundations of self-worth? Wouldn’t everything be on shaky ground if people were forever seeking the security of feeling we had the right to occupy our space and share our thoughts? As if we’d always be seeking something to lean on.

Almost as if our psychology might be inextricably bound up with the idea of love: the acceptance, nurturing interest and recognition of feeling that “we” are worthwhile; our innate qualities valuable; our very existence important for the world around us. That we’re not just some accident of consciousness so much as developing beings worthy of the utmost reverence.

As individuals, don’t we need space to be who we are? To unfold ourselves, understand what life is, and find opportunities for exploring and expressing our true nature while we contribute to building up this vast social world we’re born into. Hopefully, a space of curious understanding rather than oppressive control – somewhere we can unravel, discover and grow.

What’s it like to feel you’re never enough? That you just don’t have whatever is being deemed valuable: money, looks, youth, style, intellect, humour, confidence. There’s always going to be “something” we don’t have; something that’s simply not part of who “we” are and all we have to offer. Aren’t we all different? It seems only natural.

And who’s to say the world around us values rightly? That all we’re encouraged to admire truly deserves praise. As much as it might be lucrative for people to feel perpetually insufficient – especially if, holding to these impossible standards, we spread such thinking by way of our criticism – it seems likely this world could then be torn apart by our frustration at perceived imperfections.

Few people or attributes really seem that easily perfected, either. Chasing ideals or beating ourselves and others up for not yet having reached them seems such a recipe for disaster: that we might torture ourselves with idealistic notions, making “that” the pre-requisite for approval, love or respect. If humans are – and, generally always have been – flawed, what happens when society is arranged this way?

My point being that the human psyche seems to find a strange sort of home in the modern world – a place where all its flaws or struggles are somehow labels for how much we’re worth and ways others will judge us. As if, all around us, these impossible ideals forever taunt us with our quite natural imperfection or incompleteness. As if we’re never quite enough because we can never “be” everything. We’re just “us”.

Treating ourselves with nothing but love, wouldn’t we accept nothing less of others? From our own secure foundation, naturally seeing others with the same respect. This reciprocal recognition of innate human worth, where all our inevitable flaws are simply steps on the path of realising whatever might truly be valuable and worthwhile in life.

Notes and References:

What’s at the heart of society?
Looks, human life & all its worth
Can each be true to themselves?
Belonging & believing
Integrity and integration
All that we carry around with us
Value and meaning in our lives
How would we like to live?
Love of self

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