The first step to accepting love into our lives is learning to love and accept ourselves. Without the ability to do this, it is impossible to love others. There are several theories put forward but one of the better ones is shown on Wikipedia. It states the following, about a model called ‘The Wheel of Wellness’, created by Adler (psychologist), showing how to attain self confidence, a high quality of life and a longer life:

‘The Wheel of Wellness includes five life tasks that relate to each other: spirituality, self-direction, work and leisure, friendship, and love. There are 12 subtasks of self-direction areas: sense of worth, sense of control, realistic beliefs, emotional awareness and coping, problem solving and creativity, sense of humor, nutrition, exercise, self-care, stress management, gender identity, and cultural identity. There are also five second-order factors, the Creative Self, Coping Self, Social Self, Essential Self, and Physical Self, which allow exploration of the meaning of wellness within the total self. In order to achieve a high self esteem, it is essential to focus on identifying strengths, positive assets, and resources related to each component of the Wellness model and using these strengths to cope with life challenges.[5]

Socrates once said that:

‘The unexamined life is not worth living’

In order to feel confident and have high self esteem, we must all examine our life and face our darkest fears, just as my little penguin is doing as he stands up to ‘King Death’. The images which inspired me to paint this version came up on the internet with the caption ‘Dare to be different’. I have added daisies to my character to symbolise healthy personal growth (relating to daisies in the Gaia Hypothesis) and  as a more traditional symbol of the innocence of childhood. As we grow older we loose our confidence and become obsessed about what other people think about us. This damages our self esteem and blocks us from fulfilling our full potential. Sometimes we get some of this confidence back, when we have children, because we are putting their needs before our own fears. I don’t understand, if we can do this for our children,  why we can’t do this for ourselves. The only significant answer to this, is that we don’t love ourselves as much as we love our children. Thus, this indicates that the issue of self love, is key to us feeling self confident. As a society we generally do not like people with no self confidence  especially when it over takes their ability to perform. We love sitting in front of the television watching people crumble under pressure and then receive belittling comments, in programmes such as the X Factor. Somehow we feel comforted that there are people who can’t take pressure and it makes us feel superior in some sick way. This is the difference between arrogance and self love.  Arrogance feeds our ego but does not improve our own self love.  Arrogance holds up a mirror to our own insecurities and magnifies them, whereas self love does not involve us wishing harm on others, in order to make ourselves feel better. Arrogance is often mistaken for being self love. Arrogance is selfish, whereas self love is not. When we have self love we are not hurt by negative comments people make about us, because we realise that we are of value and that the comments made by others are just a reflection of their own insecurities projected out onto the world. Arrogant selfish people are jealous of other people’s success. People who have self love are able to rejoice in the successes of others and share their own successes with others. People with self love do not compete, they co-operate instead.  Because our world is becoming smaller and we are now living in a global society, there are more likely to be conflict situations, because of the clashing together of different belief systems. We have got to learn how to co-operate together, in order for our species to survive. Part of this requires that we love ourselves and love others as we love ourselves, regardless of their differences. Thus, self confidence, and the ability to communicate effectively with each other, are essential not only to our own well being, but to the well being of the whole planet.