Knowing Yourself = Loving Yourself

Tag: Happiness,Personal Growth,Self EsteemBeth and Neill


Catherine asked us this question: “How can I continue to strive to regard myself as worthy of [tag-tec]unconditional love[/tag-tec] in a relationship, just as I am?”

She asked this because, in her words, “I have been in two long-term relationships that ended with me feeling used and taken for granted. I came out of them thinking that I must be doing something that gives the impression I am not worth making an effort for — that I am perceived as the one who meets needs without requiring any reciprocal effort to meet mine as well”

There are many ways we could answer this question, but we would like to address how  Catherine (or anyone for that matter) can start treating herself like she’s [tag-tec]worthy of unconditional love[/tag-tec].


Artwork by Rita Loyd

Which might cause you to ask, “Easy to say, but how can I do that”?

You can start with these three beginner’s steps to practicing [tag-tec]self-love[/tag-tec]. By applying these self-love techniques you will automatically start treating yourself as the valuable being that you inherently are.

What are You Thinking About?

Step One: Explore your thinking.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, it’s the thoughts you think that generate the way you feel about yourself. The way you feel about yourself influences the actions you take. And your actions generate everything you create in your life.

Most of us have been raised in cultures that teach us to focus on what’s happening outside of ourselves as being responsible for creating the situations in our lives. “If only they wouldn’t…” “If only it hadn’t…” “If only you would…”  “It wasn’t me. It’s two other guys…”

When you primarily focus on what’s going on “out there” it’s very challenging to really know what’s going on “in here”–to know yourself, and to understand what’s most important to you.

So, if something happens “out there” that you don’t enjoy, and all you know to do is try and change those external circumstance, you’re bound to feel bad. Why? Because without first changing your internal reactions it is much harder to effectively change your external circumstances. Or, as Einstein put it:

“Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”

That is why we suggest you start the practice of exploring your internal thoughts as the first step to treating yourself as worthy of unconditional love. You will know which thoughts are important to explore by using your feelings as an alarm.

The next time you feel uncomfortable in any way, try to identify what you were thinking about just before you started feeling uncomfortable. Then use the next step to change this level of thinking.

Identify Your [tag-tec]Personal Core Values[/tag-tec]–Who You are at a Deep Level

Step Two: Identify what’s most important to you.

The quickest way to start giving yourself unconditional love is to get to know yourself well enough that you can appreciate who you are–even when you don’t like how you feel.

Shakespeare said it best when he wrote, “To thine own self be true.”

Discovering what’s most important to you–what you most deeply value–is the best way we know to discover who you truly are.

These [tag-tec]personal values[/tag-tec] are sometimes well hidden inside your every day feelings. The stronger your feelings–the more important the value is that they express.

In step one you identified what you were thinking about just before you started feeling uncomfortable. Now that you’ve interrupted the thought, ask yourself questions such as: “What is so important to me in this situation that I feel so strongly about?” “What is missing for me that is so important?”

For example, underneath a sense of deep sadness, you might discover caring and consideration are very important to you, and those things are missing in the situation at hand. Hidden within confusion could be a strong desire for understanding. Beneath frustration, you could discover that you want to be more effective.

When you can get under your feelings to what’s deeply important to you—you will start to notice wonderful qualities about yourself. So rather then being stuck in the negative thoughts and the feelings they generate,  you can discover “thine own self”–a valuable person you can easily learn to love.

Knowing YOU is Loving YOU

Step Three: Get to know your best friend.

Although at times you may feel very sad, frustrated or lonely, once you learn to stop yourself the very moment you begin feeling uncomfortable, and then identify what’s most important to you beneath your feelings, you’ll find that you can always be there for YOU. You can listen to what’s important to you. You can figure out ways to get more of whatever you deeply value that is missing in your life.

Using these self-love techniques you are guaranteed to find the best friend you’ve ever had and will be well on your way to mastering the art of self-love and acceptance.

Never Settle for Less Again

Now we’d like to get back to the other thing Catherine said: “I have been in two long-term relationships that ended with me feeling used and taken for granted. I came out of them thinking that I must do something that gives the impression I am not worth making an effort for – that I am perceived as the one who meets needs without requiring any reciprocal effort to meet mine as well.”

[tag-tec]Loving and accepting yourself[/tag-tec] is the first step to creating unconditional love in all your relationships. This will make it much easier to experience the mutual respect and consideration you desire.  With practice at interrupting negative thoughts, and then discovering what you really want, you’ll gain the confidence to ask  for what you want and know that you’re worth getting it.

Personal Values Education – Knowing What You Need and How to Get It

To Get What You Need You Have to Know What You Value

magnifying-glass-valuesDo you ever find yourself unsure of what you “need” in a situation or what would be the “best” thing to do? Would you like more confidence that the decisions you make are not sowing the seeds of regret? If so, you may be intrigued by our response to this question from our community: “What’s the difference between [tag-tec]values and needs[/tag-tec]?” This is our attempt at a very brief education about [tag-tec]core human values[/tag-tec] and a look at how to develop what we call your [tag-tec]Values Intelligence[/tag-tec], or V-IQ.

[tag-tec]Values Intelligence[/tag-tec]

Let’s start by defining what we mean by [tag-tec]core human values[/tag-tec].

The word value originates from the Latin word “valere“, which means “be strong, be well, be of value,” and is also the root of the word “valiant.

We define [tag-tec]human values[/tag-tec] as:

What’s most deeply important to a person, without reference to specific people, places, actions or times.

Human values are the landmarks that guide a person’s choices so their actions are in harmony with what is most meaningful to them. They are what a person finds most important or motivating at the deepest level.

[tag-tec]Examples of Core Human Values[/tag-tec]

To be clear about this. here’s a very brief list of things we would describe as [tag-tec]basic human values[/tag-tec].

Accomplishment Discovery Leadership
Adventure Enjoyment Mastery
Autonomy Experience Play
Beauty Harmony Pleasure
Compassion Health Relatedness
Connection Inspiration Self Expression
Contribution Integrity Spirituality
Creativity Inter-Reliance Support

Again, this is a very brief list of examples of core values. Your most important [tag-tec]personal values[/tag-tec] may exclude some that are on this list, and may include many others which don’t appear here.

You may notice that things such as: air, food, water, shelter, etc. are not on this list. That’s because these are not what we would call exclusively “[tag-tec]human values[/tag-tec].” These fall more in the category of things that are valuable for sustaining life in whatever form.

The important thing to pay attention to when reviewing this list is the last part of our definition. You’ll notice that each of the words in the values list describes something “without reference to specific people, places, actions or times.” If they did, we would call these “strategies” rather than “values.”

This distinction plays an important role in answering the next question.

What’s the Difference Between [tag-tec]Values and Needs[/tag-tec]?

By definition, a need is: a lack of something useful, required, or desired. Therefore, if we don’t consider something useful, required, or desired, we can never be in need of it. As a corollary to this, we cannot “need” something unless it is lacking.

In short: you can’t need it if you don’t value it or if you’ve already got it.

There are a few benefits from shifting our understanding of these words in these ways. One is that by using these definitions we naturally turn our attention to what we value that’s missing in a situation, rather than dwelling on what is lacking that we “need.” This turns our attention from what we don’t have to what we want, which is a much more powerful perspective for identifying our options.

Second, we all know how quickly someone can become “one to avoid” if they always express themselves in terms of their needs. Have you ever heard someone describe someone else by saying, “They’re just too needy!”

But expressing what we want in terms of what we value allows others to relate to us in terms they can identify with. It’s hard for me to imagine anyone reacting negatively to someone “valuing” everything in the [tag-tec]examples of values[/tag-tec] listed above. You’ll probably never hear someone say, “They’re just too valuey!”

The Importance of Knowing What You Value

Everything we’ve covered so far was intended to bring us to this point. We can now take a look at the critical importance of being able to identify your own, [tag-tec]personal core values[/tag-tec], which is this.

If you misidentify what you value, it’s likely you’ll misidentify what you need, which makes it likely that you’ll develop strategies that will satisfy neither what you need nor what you value.

This is why we believe it’s so important that people begin to develop their [tag-tec]Values Intelligence[/tag-tec], or V-IQ. We understand this as your ability to:

  1. Know what you value
  2. Identify what you value that’s missing in a situation
  3. Develop concrete, actionable strategies to begin experiencing what you value
  4. Take only actions that are in harmony with your values
  5. Measure your success by whether you’re experiencing more of what you value

In this process, identifying your personal values is the first step in knowing the most valiant actions you can take in any situation. In fact, we’ve found no better way for a person to begin experiencing a truly “valuable life” than developing their V-IQ.

If you’re new to our work you may be interested in knowing that we offer a free values exercise worksheet.

This is designed so you can use it in any situation or relationship in your life to determine what you value most–the first characteristic of [tag-tec]values intelligence[/tag-tec].

If you’re interested in developing the other four aspects, subscribe to this blog, read our articles, or visit our store. Helping people with their “[tag-tec]values education[/tag-tec]” is a core part of what we do.