If you value being involved in caring relationships, it is possible that you have strong character trait of love.
However, just because we value being involved in caring relationships with others doesn't make those relationships easy or comfortable; however, it does make us committed to working on these relationships.
Types of love
Love is a character strength and can be categorised in the following way:
There is a term missing from the above types of love - self-love. Why is this important when relationships involve other people? Isn't self-love self-ish? .
In a true loving relationship we acknowledge the other person's good and bad points. We don't necessarily like their bad points, and sometimes we actively seek to change them. For example if your child doesn't want to help around the house you may make a plan or a contract with them and work on encouraging them to assist. Their lack of enthusiasm may frustrate you, but you still love them. So why is this sometimes hard to apply to ourselves?
Mindfully practicing self-love means active self-acceptance.
We all have things we don't like about ourselves.
Sometimes these things dominate our thinking. We may think that we are a bad person or parent because we don't cook tea every night, the kids clothes aren't ironed, we are at work and not there for our children when they get home form school.
Left unchecked these self-critical thoughts can lead to low self-esteem and depression.
Also, if we are continually criticising ourselves as parents, how does that affect our ability to love? To love our children and our spouse. If you value developing caring relationships with others, self-love is crucial.
So how do you practice self-love?
Mindfully practicing self-love means active self-acceptance. When we acknowledge and accept our bad points, this doesn't mean we stop working on improving ourselves. It means we make room for the knowing that we are all imperfect and some areas of 'failings' do not diminish our birthright to love our whole self.
Practicing self-care is one way we show our self-love. If this is something you want to do, we have a new 7 Steps to Guilt-Free Self-Care Program starting soon.
* My aim is for these posts is meant to useful, interesting and/or inspiring. They are not designed to be used for therapy.. If you are experiencing stress please contact your GP or mental health professional.
Kim Ross is a Psychologist and Founder of Positive Young Minds and Essential Self-Care for Psychologists.