Why Self-Love Isn't Enough

I’ve been having many conversations lately, with people from around the world, exploring the question, “what can we do?”

We are sick of simply thinking and talking and posting about the issues our world is facing. We want to do more, create more, and have some sort of larger positive impact in service of creating more healing in the world.

In a number of these conversations, two of the answers we’ve explored have been “self-love” and “self-compassion.” The premise being, we can begin to heal the world by first healing ourselves.

Now this is true. We can begin to heal the world by first healing ourselves.

It all starts with us.

We must first love ourselves in order to love others.

We must have compassion for ourselves to have compassion for others.

Quite often the things that trigger us in others are clues for places we need to look inside ourselves.

This is all true.

And incredibly important.

And, it’s not enough.

Positive change includes action.

It includes the “being” and the “doing.” It is built on the foundation of self-love and compassion and it goes further.

Positive change happens when we use the self-love and the self-compassion as a launching point to go out into the world and do something. Create something. Take action, even when it’s scary and we don’t know how it will turn out.

In coaching, we sometimes call it “forwarding the action” and “deepening the learning.”

The inner work is essential. It allows us to “deepen the learning.” It’s the foundation upon which everything else is built.

And, it’s only half of the equation.

We must then “forward the action.” We must do stuff. We must step outside ourselves and be willing to move from our cozy place of self-love and acceptance out into the big, scary, and sometimes overwhelming world. The world where there are a lot of questions and not enough answers and where people might judge us or disagree or downright not like us for the words we speak or the actions we take.

We need to take our self-love and self-compassion out there.

Because we need both - self-love and action.

When we look at our greatest leaders throughout history, we see that they brilliantly modeled both the “being” and the “doing.”

First, they looked inward. They practiced self-love and self-compassion. They did the inner work.

And, they stepped outside themselves. Onto podiums and into communities and into conversation and connection with other people.

They took action.

They did stuff.

They practiced both.

During this time of intensity we are facing as a nation and a world, yes - we will begin to heal the world by first healing ourselves. We must start here.

And, it’s only half of the equation.

We must also act.

Together, through collective self-love and action we can begin to create more healing in our world.