Self-care, Work

Love Thyself

This isn’t going to become a regular thing, long-time readers have probably picked up that I (we) am (are) not religious in the slightest.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t think the bible or any other religious text of any denomination or faith don’t have value, truth, or wisdom. They absolutely do. So, here goes.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Matthew 22:37–39

I can say lots and lots of things about this. I could relate it to Brexit and how supposedly-Christian devout politicians (and others) fervently agreed with leaving the EU to tighten migration rules – despite this scripture advising the exact opposite. That is, tolerance and love for our neighbours. I’m sure there are lots of other verses advocating caring for those in need as well.

Small boy

But that isn’t the point of this post.

Instead, I want to start by sharing a conversation I had with small boy when he was about three or four, and which has been repeated many times since.

Me (mucking about a bit): who loves ya baby?!

SB: you!

Me: anyone else?

SB: daddy and large boy!

Me: anyone else? (thinking of grandparents, cousins, friends etc)

SB: me!

Me: you? do you love you too?

SB: yes, I love me!

How perfect is that?

He’s seven now and still feels the same. He knows what he finds hard and what that he isn’t always the most sensible (that is, he can be a bit of an idiot at times). But he loves himself – not in spite of his imperfections, but including them.

Me

As part of my future leaders initiative at work I had to do a personality assessment thing. Specifically, a Hogan Report. This is:

… the use of personality tests to improve workplace performance, and our tests evaluate all aspects of personality: the bright side, the dark side, and the inside.

… three components of personality shape our interactions: identity, reputation, and social skill. Identity is the story we tell ourselves about ourselves—it’s the person you think you are. While there might be some takeaways in how we perceive ourselves, we are usually wrong. We often have an inflated idea of our own talent, or we might be unnecessarily hard on ourselves. Reputation, on the other hand, is what everyone else thinks of us, and it’s based on our overt behaviors and social skills. Your reputation is the person other people think you are.

I find this sort of thing really intimidating and it made me very anxious. I had my debrief last week, with one of their consultants. Beforehand, I had seen the report and (a bit unlike me) I’d been drawn into what I saw as the negatives. I read it and took it at face value, I felt it was telling me I was too emotional, too strictly adherent to rules, unimaginative, and intolerant. I was worried that the consultant would focus on those aspects too and tell me how “wrong” I was, how I shouldn’t behave that way, and that I ought to be a better person. I didn’t want to hear that. I’m happy as I am, I like the person that I am. I’m the product of my life so far and all the challenges and all the privileges along the way. I wouldn’t change any of those, including the failures, because they’re what make me me.

Well I was wrong. It wasn’t that at all.

Instead, she talked me through my preferences (the things that make me happy), my strengths and the kinds of way I’m likely to react to stress. For all the things that can make life harder for me, there were plenty of strengths and pleasant surprises. I’m not so bad after all.

Having a low or high score for any particular attribute isn’t good or bad, it just is. For the most part I recognised myself and my behaviour and reactions to what she said. One of the points that I disagreed on, she said that she couldn’t agree with it either; in a couple of hours chat, she couldn’t see that in me either. I came away feeling confident, with a deeper understanding of who I am and what I do, and ready to find some tools to make the hard bits easier.

I didn’t not love myself before that two hour session. I did, perhaps not as fervently as small boy though. I’d say that, now, I appreciate myself better. I use “appreciate” both in the sense of understanding my worth, and grasping the implications of who I am.

One of the things the report said about me was that I have strong “interpersonal sensitivity”. That means I’m a “sponge” (that the word the lady doing my debrief used). I sympathise deeply with others and want to help, support, and protect them. The inference of that is that I love my neighbours.

Enough of that

Enough self-congratulation and navel-gazing introspection. I seem to be doing a lot of that lately, this whole work initiative thing is taking a lot of time, energy, effort and thought – and I’m afraid that’s seeping into my blog. I hope I’m not alienating you.

What are your thoughts on “love thyself”?

Love from Smell xxx

6 thoughts on “Love Thyself”

  1. It was so refreshing to read one of these tests/assessments that wasn’t used as a way to identify what needs to be “fixed” about our personalities/character — it just being what it is, is a great way to look at it. Nobody is perfect and we all need to embrace that more; thank goodness! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that self-love and self-acceptance has to happen before any real success can take place.

    I did a similar assessment a few years ago and it told me I was inflexible. Now, I can be stubborn at times, especially on topics I feel passionate about but, after stating my case, I pretty much go with the flow. My boss and I had a good laugh about how the assessment was way off on that front.

    Liked by 1 person

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