Love yourself

Cell C once ran an ad with the theme, “Tell someone”. It sketched scenarios where someone had experienced something really exciting, and the person could respond to that overwhelming “Tell someone” urge by simply using the Cell C network to make that call.

Well, that’s how I feel about having learnt to love who I am – the benefits i.t.o. personal growth, as well as the positive impact on others just cannot be hushed. I finally get it. Do you?

For too long topics such as these have been dismissed as being far too kumbaya for business. Had it not been the case, we may not be faced with challenges in the workplace like the rise of chronic loneliness amongst employees. Taking seriously the need to discuss softer issues like vulnerability and self-acceptance will create an environment where employees may feel free to speak up about their inner turmoil.

But, allow me to address the women for a moment (and to generalise, just a little). As females, we grow up as treasured, doted-on and mostly pink-clad little girls who are taught how to behave – chewing with our mouths closed, crossing our legs when seated, and playing with dolls, rather than cars. And we observe certain social conducts, like crying freely (and even the strategic use of tears to get our way), and showing some degree of proficiency when it comes to preparing culinary delights in the kitchen. None of these are necessarily wrong – at least not entirely –, but let’s face it, they do start a certain narrative in our psyche – one that promotes conformity over learning to love who we really are.

What follows is by no means a clinical analysis on the topic of self-love. It simply highlights three related benefits (and they’re not restricted to women):

You’ll develop a healthy self-concept (void of narcissism, that is):

It’ll do wonders for the narrative that will eventually settle itself comfortably in your subconscious mind. You’ll start to effortlessly celebrate your victories (big and small), graciously accept compliments, and forgive yourself when you’ve done something wrong. And importantly, you’ll also realise the toxicity of (and therefore avoid at all costs) exclamations like, “I’m such an idiot!” or “What’s wrong with me?!”

You’ll stop craving approval:

Can you relate to doing whatever you have to, just so that your colleagues will like you? We even sometimes method act our way onto our boss’s radar – saying the right things, voicing agreement with certain principles, and laughing at just the right moment. Inevitably, we end up resenting ourselves, feeling like a fraud, and being ineffective. If you’ve obsessed over making yourself likeable to people, consider the fact that this might stem from a non-existent self-love. But when you start to consciously work on loving who you are – and you might as well, ‘cause there’s only ONE of you – you start developing a more objective view of others’ perception of you. And there are good lessons to be learnt from people’s feedback on how we come across.

You’ll start to see the good in others:

Often we develop a reputation for being super-critical, which – upon close inspection – really stems from our criticism of and unhappiness with ourselves. We all know that person who has the uncanny ability to kill a moment, like a rain cloud that settles over a sociable campfire. If you’re that person, don’t despair. When you start to see the good in others, people around you will start feeling drawn to you and you’ll become a social tonic. It’s a great antidote for feeling isolated at work. And because it will be an organic progression, it won’t feel or come across at all fake. But this won’t and can’t happen in the absence of self-love.

A healthy dose of self-love will help us achieve what we’re all ultimately after: happiness. As a happy person – not rah-rah, but rather content with self – you’re more likely to be effective, and importantly, achieve success in the areas that really matter – the ones that will leave a legacy worth mentioning. Ultimately, we won’t connect authentically with people if we don’t love who we are. Not only does this level of connecting win over key contacts, it also happens to be a prerequisite for success in the evolved world of business.

So, what’s your take on the topic of self-love with regard to effectiveness at work and in business?

Cheers, till next time.

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