You have to love yourself before you can love someone else. A very familiar concept, but, unfortunately, the term “self-love” gets a bad rep. Yes, people nowadays really do have a highly negative perception of the idea! It’s either brushed off as narcissistic or rebuffed as a new-age fad, only reserved for those who are too free to stay active on all social media platforms. How true is that, really? Let’s find out!
Well, for some, self-love is a self-indulgent concept that involves awkward self-hugs and indulging in special treats simply because “I deserve it!” Indeed, the medicine of self-love is hard to digest, and that’s one reason why not everyone can benefit from its therapeutic effects.
Anyone with such a negative impression of self love is sadly mistaken! As a matter of fact, people with such a mindset themselves lack self-love. Today, we will help you unlearn this regressive perspective, enlightening you as to what self-love really is.
Contrary to popular belief, self-love is not related to selfishness or self-centeredness. If you love yourself, this does not mean that you don’t care for the people who love you or that you have inflated senses of self-esteem or self-importance. It just refers to prioritizing your happiness, values, and needs rather than being a constant “people pleaser.” It means having a high regard for your own well-being instead of unwillingly succumbing to what others want you to do.
In fact, self-love is correlated to self-care, and you aren’t being disrespectful to others when you love yourself. In doing so, you are simply respecting and treating yourself better, similar to how you treat others. Nothing insulting in that, right? When you love yourself, you take care of your mental, emotional, and physical well-being, engaging in activities that make you happy and help you become a better version of yourself. This means that those who practice self-care genuinely love themselves and embrace the idea of self-love, not just in their words, but their actions, as well. They love every aspect of themselves, including their weaknesses and supposed flaws, and wouldn’t settle for anything less than they deserve – they are in it to win it!
To practice self-love, you don’t necessarily have to be Albert Einstein or Kim Kardashian – although we would admit that it would probably help if you are a theoretical physicist or a socialite. The idea of self-love is not just reserved for the smartest, most beautiful, or wealthiest people on the face of this earth, but also for average looking, 9-5 employees with not much gray matter, who can practice self-love just as well.
The best part of expressing self-love is that you don’t need to climb mountains to do it! Doing as little as comforting yourself when you’re in distress, just as you would your best friend, setting aside self-judgment, treating yourself kindly, appreciating yourself for little achievements, forgiving yourself for your mistakes, and trusting your own decisions can help you love yourself more in the long run.
Apart from all these internal expressions of self-love, you can be a little cheesy and treat yourself they way people do in movies, buying yourself a new pair of shoes or eating an entire pizza without sharing (see how fun loving yourself is?)
That said, loving yourself is not only about instant gratification. Chowing down on way too much pizza and chocolate may satiate your body and soul, but the hedonistic satisfaction that they provide you is fleeting. The actual practice of self-love, on the other hand, will give you strength for the entire marathon that is life. While you can continue to do those extra cheesy things (pun intended!), you also have to give yourself space to make mistakes – as long as you learn from them and grow. You have to learn to value yourself as a human that can be loved and respected.
Self-love is a choice
Self-love is just like receiving a veto power which you can use in all aspects of your life – whether we’re talking about your relationships, health, wealth, or work. It is a path to follow and a practice to “do.” It empowers you, making you the master of your own decisions.
That being said, self-love becomes tricky when it comes to relationships, especially romantic ones. It’s commonly thought that self-love and relationships do not go together very well; like oil and water, they are simply immiscible. Why is this? When two partners engage in a relationship and share their lives, following the adage, they prioritize their partner’s needs and wants and not their own. If you see where this is going, you’ll realize it is a highly false doctrine; what is love if it does not allow you to love yourself? If it imposes its desires on you? Or if it forces you to stop dreaming and following your passions? That is just not done, and we don’t buy into that idea of love, and neither should you!
We are staunch advocates of taking the middle ground, rather than off-roading along extreme paths, and of loving your partner while loving yourself. True self-love will give you the choice to prioritize yourself in a relationship or even to walk away from a toxic one.
When you practice self-love, you can choose whether to work within an organization or not, to go to a party or not, to follow what your family wants or not. It keeps you from sabotaging yourself, and helps you make decisions that will benefit you, both physically and mentally.
Over time, the act of making decisions in your favor and choosing that which your heart desires will become a habit beneficial to your overall well-being. On the physical level, your brain will start adapting to your new positive behavior and patterns. Your heart will feel emotionally safe while making those choices, and you will no longer feel guilty when prioritizing yourself. On the spiritual level, it will make you more connected with your inner truth, the real you. You will not have to hide behind a mask in front of your friends any longer, and, because you love yourself, you will proudly present the real you in your social circle,not caring about people’s judgments and accusations.
Lastly, when it comes to professional and personal relationships, self-love will help you make your needs explicit and help you set healthy boundaries. You will be able to speak your heart, while remaining prepared for two different reactions: on the one hand, your supportive friends and family will be proud to see a positive change in your personality, and, on the other, the toxic people in your life will be offended and automatically distance themselves from you. This is a win-win for you, as you are killing two birds with one stone. That’s pretty smart!
There is no quick fix to loving yourself, as the practice takes time and devotion. For starters, we’ll provide you with some simple ways to practice the art of self-love.
1. Take time for yourself
No matter how much you love being around people, it’s always nice to go home and enjoy some “me time.” During this time, you should reflect inward, evaluating your emotional state. But, remember: do not waste this precious time scrolling through Instagram or Facebook. Instead, engage in a mindful activity that helps you stay aware of your inner emotions.
2. Get sufficient sleep
Self-love can be expressed in simple ways, such as giving your body the rest it needs. Do not sacrifice your sleep, as this will have a tangible impact on your mental and physical health. The upkeep of both your physical and psychological well-being is an essential part of loving yourself.
3. Eat right
Remember how we explained that self-love is linked to self-care? This is where you apply that concept. If you love yourself, you’ll take care of yourself, especially when it comes to a balanced diet. We’re not talking about dieting, though, nor are we talking about your weight. It is all about how you feel; if you eat right, you will feel good and healthy! Making daily habits out of these three simple things would be a great start towards loving and accepting your true self. After all, self-love does not have to be complicated. It is simply a matter of waking up every morning, smiling at yourself, hugging yourself, and choosing yourself!