In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to blog about love. Not the typical kind of love so often associated with Valentine’s Day like: chocolates, candies, cupids, and hearts. But rather, I wanted to look at a different kind of love; a love for yourself that is a component of self-compassion and that can be a great motivating force for young girls.
I believe that we are mostly motivated and, motivate ourselves, by fear. We fear not having enough, not doing enough, making mistakes, being lazy, and not being good enough. We fear not being ambitious enough, so we don’t slow down. We fear messing up, so we don’t take risks. We fear failure, so we work harder. Fear can be a motivator for us to do more, accumulate more, and be more. In short, fear can be exhausting!
As it turns out, fear is not really a helpful motivator at all! Think of a time you tried to motivate yourself by fear, such as saying, “I better keep working so I don’t lose my focus” (fear of complacency). How did this feel? Did you feel comforted, nurtured, and good about yourself? Did you feel your self-esteem soared? More than likely, you felt anxious, worried, panicked, and not so good about yourself. There was probably not a lot of peace, calm, and kindness to yourself either!
So, I’d like to suggest that we change our current motivator, this “fear factor”, and instead try to motivate ourselves with love. This begins by how we speak to ourselves, in a kind and loving tone of voice (not a harsh and critical one). Motivating ourselves with love also means embracing the notion that it’s okay to make mistakes, that slowing down doesn’t mean we won’t achieve, and that taking risks is how we learn to grow. By acting with love towards ourselves, I think we will find a new gentleness that honours who we are and our self-worth, regardless of achievement, outcome, and results. We have self-worth no matter how fast we go, how many mistakes we make, and what we decide to achieve (or not achieve). Love, as a motivator, can reap all the rewards of fear as a motivator without any of the pitfalls such as: low self-esteem, anxiety, and worry.
I understand how fear motivates a lot of us. By using fear as incentive to act, I think we are always going to come up with “never_______enough”; never smart enough, never successful enough, never pretty enough, never thin enough, never talented enough, never rich enough, never beautiful enough, and, simply, never good enough! However, when we are motivated by love, we are enough, today, just as we are! Let’s teach girls to learn to love themselves – just because – and to have love be their driving force!