‘Loving’ yourself can have some selfish and self centred connotations, which detract from the power of the statement. It does not mean that you always put yourself first. It just means that you are fair to yourself and do not keep putting yourself last. It means setting clear boundaries, so that you are not over-ridden by other people’s demands on your time and energy to a level which is unreasonable.
Loving yourself is not narcissism. It is also not vanity, nor is it having a planetary-sized ego. It is the freedom to be whoever you wish to be: an authentic original, making no apologies for not fitting into convention, the office opinions or the family decisions. Yet, it does not mean riding roughshod over those with opposing views. It means simply being able to listen to understand, not to give a smarty pants, superior put down, and to be able to state ‘no’ with courtesy and goodwill, if you do not agree with the other person. With the correct vocal tone, body language and empathic facial expression, ‘no’ can sometimes be quite acceptable! Loving yourself does not mean disliking everyone else.
Loving yourself does not do ‘cornered’ or bottom lip biting cowering, when yours is the only voice against all others. Loving yourself is inner confidence matched by outer calm, rather than brash behaviour. Loving yourself also means when others fail to hear your voice, or are demeaning or just plain rude, you do not take it personally. Many insults say more about the person who dealt such a mean hand than it does about the recipient. Sensitive, loving people will usually have a good level of Emotional Intelligence and know that diplomacy is a strength while arrogance is a card of weakness and, erm, poor breeding.
The best thing about loving yourself is that you are comfortable in your own company and that other people in your life become glorious bonuses instead of your reasons for awakening with excitement each morning. Loving yourself should be a gift for all, not a penance for other people.