One of the very best things about being a woman is how much we love others.
We’re good at loving. We’re good at caring for people. We’re good at thinking about other people’s feelings.
But the one person that seems to escape our notice is ourselves.
Say something nice to yourself, and it falls flat. Say something nice to someone else, and you get to make them happy. Which is better?
Imagine how it feels to buy yourself flowers. Then imagine how it feels to surprise someone you love with flowers. Which gives you the most pleasure?
There’s something so affirming about putting a smile on someone’s face, or making someone’s day. It just doesn’t feel as good to do that for yourself.
And the great part about a relationship is that you have opportunities to make someone happy all day long. You have someone you can give all this wonderful love you’ve stored up.
Isn’t that enough?
The Love Imbalance
I wanted to know why we ended up designed this way.
Why is it so much easier to love someone else than it is to love yourself?
Surely, if Nature wanted us to survive, we’d be complete egotists only concerned about our own survival and no one else’s!
But scientists have discovered that our brains are wired for social rewards.
Altruism, compassion, and cooperation help us succeed in life. They help us survive as a species.
Evolutionary biologists now believe that our tendency to do nice things for others, even at great cost to ourselves, is wired into us.
Our generous, giving ancestors were more likely to survive and pass their genes down to future generations—perhaps because they were greatly loved and supported by everyone they helped.
None of that “survival of the fittest” stuff! It’s not you against the world.
It’s you WITH the world.
What You Need in Life
That’s why I was so excited to discover the KR&I Human Needs Model.
It’s this idea that our basic human needs boil down to three things:
- Identity, a sense of who we are in relation to ourselves and the world,
- Self-care, the art of taking really good care of your emotional, physical, and intellectual needs, and
- Social connection, having your tribe and friends around you.
Notice how self-care and social connection are situated inside identity?
Who you are is who you love and how you look after yourself.
And all of those things are interconnected.
It’s like the way different friends bring out different parts of your personality.
Or the way different friends encourage you to adopt healthy habits—or not, as the case may be.
But ultimately your social connections and your self-care are embedded in the bigger picture of who you see yourself as.
How you see yourself affects the people you let into your life and the way you look after yourself.
If you put adjectives in there like warm, supportive, caring, loving…
Then it stands to reason that you’d prioritize having supportive, caring, and loving people in your life…
And you’d want to treat your own body, mind and heart in a way that’s warm, supportive, caring and loving.
That’s what it’s like to be in complete integrity. It’s all unified.
But a lot of us have these parts at war with each other.
Maybe there’s a woman who wants to see herself as this amazing high-value woman, but the way she treats herself doesn’t reflect that high value, or she lets people into her life that don’t treat her well.
Do you think you’re at war with yourself? Or are you unified in one direction?
Coming into Wholeness
Try this exercise.
Think about what you stand for as a person. Who are you? What’s your story? What are your values? Write down some words that describe your identity.
Then look at your social connections. Write down a few words that describe your tribe, your people, the company you keep.
Finally, write down some words for the way you look after your body, the way you look after your mind, and the way you look after your heart.
(You can do this exercise in the comments if you like!)
Then see how congruent all those words are.
Are you working against yourself? Is self-love a value but you keep picking men who don’t love you or you don’t practice that love when it comes to your health?
No one’s perfect, and this is just a thought exercise, but I hope it gets you thinking about the way our social lives and self-care are linked with our sense of identity. We get to choose who we are and who we let into our lives.
And we can always make a different choice.
Let us know what you think!