Self Love

Self Love

Martin Kettelhut

Dr. Kettelhut has coached groups and corporate teams, as well as individual entrepreneurs and executives, since 1997. Before then “Doc” received a PhD from Temple University and taught ethics, logic and aesthetics at Villanova and Drexel Universities in the Philadelphia area. To connect with Martin, sign up for free / log in on


Martin Kettelhut

the prerequisite to new action

Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash

Self Love

Self-love has always been a bit of a mystery to me. How does one love her/himself? Does self-love mean telling myself I’m handsome and wise? This is a powerful technique some people use, looking at themselves in the mirror and declaring who they are. Frankly it hasn’t quite worked for me.

Here’s the difficulty, I believe, with even imagining what loving myself would look like. When admonished to love myself, I imagine loving the bundle of issues and complaints, the preferences and indulgences I am, my personality, my self-to-date. Yes, I could make sense of loving that guy unconditionally, that work-in-progress with all his foibles. But there are aspects of that guy, me, that—although I understand them—I’m not ready to embrace as-is, like my need to look good, my approval-seeking, my fear of authority and angry people, etc. 

However, what really moves me, what I love without hesitation, is my future self, the me I intend to be, the vision of who I can become. Now that guy’s got game, he doesn’t want for others’ approval, he’s not afraid of anything; he’s the goal. I love that Martin Kettelhut.

This got me thinking about all the other relations-to-self, and how they might be affected by applying them to my future self, rather than to the current me. 


Take self-efficacy, for example. Your self-efficacy determines your beliefs about your power to affect situations, face challenges, and make choices. But we all know numerous examples of people who believed that they could do a certain job well; and yet it was a job for which they were rejected, because their resume didn’t show enough experience at that job. Notice the difference between current-self-efficacy versus future-self-efficacy.

Here’s another relation-to-self that changes drastically when I apply it to my future-self, instead of the me I’ve known for so many years:  self-control. If I leave it to my self-to-date, then there’s a 50-50 chance I will have another margarita or another cookie, if it’s offered; but when I empathize with my future-self, I’m a lot more likely to see the wisdom in moderation. 

I’m starting to think that the only way to think reasonably about myself and what I can accomplish, is with love for my future self. If moving forward depends on resolving the struggle to escape self-doubt, and the escape-route begins with a loving relation-to-self, then why should I wonder to find self-love the prerequisite to taking new action?

In the quiet moments of this Holiday Season, take time to imagine your future self, where s/he lives, how s/he dresses, the way s/he talks. Install your future self in your heart; and allow everything you say and do going forward to be an expression of your love for her/him.




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