To love oneself is to embrace the infinite facets of us that emerge over time: some will be with us for a lifetime, others for short journeys, but all come by to teach us something.
Yes, I said pass because everything evolves, everything changes, and accepting it is the key to loving yourself and life.
Fear of change and self-love: why fearing change drives you away from yourself
If we look around us we can see the change everywhere: sometimes it is more elusive, sometimes more obvious, but it is always there.
Yet one of the most common fears in society is precisely the fear of change.
How many times have you been afraid to change? Whether it’s habits, where we live, the relationships we have, our physical features or life plans, change is scary. Why? We often fear change because we lack confidence.
From fear to love
To love oneself one must know oneself, to know oneself one must experience , and to experience one must be willing to change. Let’s think about the common question we were asked as children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and now answer these two questions:
- How many times did we change our answer in childhood?
- How often do we allow ourselves to change our minds today?
When you are a child, it is easier to accept changing your mind about your dreams and desires because you do not feel the weight of expectations, your own and others’, about what you do. The older we grow, the more difficult it becomes to accept change: “I would disappoint Tom,” “Dick would judge me,” and in doing so we remain anchored in the same habits, even as our deepest desires change.
The key then lies in reversing the perspective and conceiving of change as a condition without which we could not survive: anything that does not evolve atrophies.
Easy said, but less done, you might think. A very useful Japanese concept can come to our aid in this reflection: shoganai, translated as ‘it is what it is”, that’s to say if something is out of your control it’s better to quickly accept it and move on.
Shoganai: the art of accepting what you cannot control
Japanese culture is rich in concepts that can prove to be valuable guidelines for one’s life. One of these is undoubtedly the concept of Shoganai, a real art to tell the truth: in fact, this term encapsulates an entire philosophy of life, which embraces the ability to accept what cannot be controlled.
As Gianluca Gotto, an italian travel blogger, points out in his blog, we have been accustomed to planning and calculating, with the idea that everything can somehow be controlled. However, this leads us to be disarmed when we come up against life, which unravels plans to constantly recreate new ones. Thus, addicted to the idea of control, when something changes without us having foreseen it, we suffer and move further and further away from the engine of the world: the love of life and ourselves.
Integrating the concept of Shoganai into one’s life means, instead, accepting what comes, thus saving the energy we would have spent opposing something uncontrollable so that we can instead act creatively by giving birth to something new.
Go with the flow and finally learn to love yourself
Loving change is the key to loving ourselves: learning to accept what happens, going with the flow, leads us to reframe the concept of change, conceiving it as one more chance to discover ourselves and thus find in it a source of nourishment to love ourselves.
Do we lose our jobs or end our contracts? Does our body change shape? Does a relationship end? Opposing something that has happened only generates more frustration, which turns into anger, which, in turn, can turn into hatred. What we can do instead is choose how to deal with the change taking place: it could be a chance to finally follow that dream we’ve had in our drawer for so long, try new clothing styles, or see new passions emerge.
Change allows us to discover sides of ourselves that we didn’t know existed, giving us the chance to find strength in ourselves that we didn’t think we had. All of this deeply nourishes our self-esteem and generates a deep-rooted sense of self-love.
To conclude, I propose a challenge: once a week, for three months, implement a small change in your life (change your morning routine, dress differently than usual, try a hobby you have never considered before) and observe the repercussions in your relationship with yourself.
You may discover how behind a small change lies an opportunity to love yourself in a new way.
And one day, you may want to embark on your first solo trip that will revolutionise your life (as I talk about in My Friend In)!
Join me on Instagram and then let me know in the comments how it went!
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