What Is Self-Love?

Love is complicated, loving people is complicated but still, we give our full heart to the person we love, but why is it that we forget to love ourselves the same way we love them? Why is it so easy to love other people but so difficult to love ourselves and prioritise our needs and our wants. In these recent times, society and social media has taken over the topics related to self-love, self-talk, self-care and people are raising questions about why self-love is important, and the need to love ourselves.

Self-love is not a state of feeling good, it is a constant state where you appreciate yourself and grow from your own mistakes. It is not the same as being narcissistic or selfish. Rather, self-love means having a positive regard for our wellbeing and happiness. When we adopt this attitude, we have higher levels of self-esteem, we’re less critical and harsh with ourselves when we make mistakes, and we’re able to celebrate our positive qualities and accept our negative ones. The concept of self-love is different for many people, for some people self-love might be some skincare regimen, getting ready, doing makeup, eating a healthy meal, going out for a run or just practising positive affirmations like “I am beautiful” and “I am proud of myself”.

Most psychologists will agree that being loved and being able to love is crucial to our happiness. Sigmund Freud once said, “love and work … work and love. That’s all there is.” But for many, the search for love causes a great deal of frustration and unhappiness. You may then think “what about self-love and its significance to our quality of life?”

Whether you’re single, happily in a relationship, or an “it’s complicated” relationship, it’s ultimately our relationship with ourselves that sets the foundation for all of our other interactions and is the secret to having fulfilling and healthy intimate relationships.

Self-love and self-compassion are the key for mental health and well-being. They are related but similar concepts. self-compassion is defined as being understanding and kind with your failings or criticism. So to say, when you’re going through a rough patch, you’ll be as kind to yourself as you are with your loved ones. For example – If you had a terrible break-up and you’re devastated and hurt, you will give yourself the same amount of love, support and time to heal as you will if your friend had a break-up.

Self-love is “it is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support of physical, psychological, and spiritual growth” (Khoshaba, 2012). It is about knowing your value and that you are worthy of love and respect. While you can always choose to be compassionate towards yourself in any moment, self-love is something which you will need to build up.

Why Should You Love Yourself?

Self-love is your secret weapon to living a fulfilling life. It’s the way you are with your inner self that determines how your outer world will be.

Just how you respect, love, and care for the other person, you need to do that for yourself too. The reason being is that we criticise ourselves more than anyone else does. We tend to focus on our flaws whenever we fail or are not good at something. We need to remember that no one is perfect, we all make mistakes, but it’s important for us to know that we have to learn from our mistakes because that’s how we grow. If we keep criticising and blaming ourselves for every small flaw, we will never be able to succeed or fulfil the dreams that we have. People who have a negative relationship with themselves, or have low self-esteem, they are more likely to have anxiety, depression or other clinical disorders.

The moment you start focusing on yourself, your emotions, feelings, and needs, that’s when you realise what type of energy and people are good for you. It aids you to gauge if these people will support your growth, or if they’ll put you down. And, if they fall in the latter group, you won’t hesitate in making your distance from them because you will start respecting your boundaries.

Self-Love or accepting ourselves does not mean self-indulgence or being passive. Rather it means turning off the shameful, negative, self-loathing tapes within our minds and just relaxing. The blaring voices of our culture certainly don’t help, with tall promises that buying something, owning something, and achieving something will make us feel better or be better humans, that success is measured by looks, wealth or possessions. A healthier life finds deeper meaning and greater satisfaction in self-love, compassion, intuition, taking responsibility and forgiveness (particularly of ourselves).

Sometimes it is our so-called faults that can lead us to a healthier life. Pioneering psychologist, Carl Jung called it our “shadow side,” that part in all of us that we are ashamed of, and often reject. Understanding and accepting that shadow side can lead to enormous freedom and self-acceptance.

Tips On How To Love Yourself:

Just simply type on Google “tips on how to love yourself” and it will give you a lot of options that you can incorporate in your life, claiming that you will start loving yourself self in no time. You will read statements like, “you deserve better”, “know your worth”, “stay away from toxic people”, “start focusing on your positives”, “get rid of negative beliefs about yourself”, etc. But the thing with these statements is that it is just like telling someone “always think positive thoughts”. You can’t just shut your brain and order it to be optimistic at all times. That can’t be humanly possible.

There are no definite tips or tricks that will make you fall in love with yourself. The only thing that can make you accept yourself for who you are from the inside out is the realisation that you are worthy of the same love and kindness that you give out to people around you. This is the first step to start being self-compassionate.

  • Begin by focusing your attention on things that you dislike about yourself. See your flaws, analyse your vulnerabilities and always be in touch with the fact that no one is perfect. Every individual is flawed and has some weakness. Gradually, re-direct your attention to your strengths as you have acknowledged your weaknesses.
  • Understand the what self-love and self-compassion mean to you. For every individual the concept of self-love is different. You need to find out what feels home to you, what makes you feel at ease and rejuvenates you. This exploration is the starting point of your self-love journey.
  • Do more of what makes you feel alive. Incorporate activities that power you up in your daily schedule.
  • Put up reminders for yourself to avoid falling prey to the downward spiral of self-criticism. You can put up positive affirmations as wallpapers on your phone, laptop, etc., or you can even put up posters on your work desk.
  • Don’t buy everything you think. Don’t believe in that inner critic and how it makes you feel small and ashamed. Be proud of who you are and remind yourself of your accomplishments now and then.
  • Ensure to begin and end your day on a grateful note. You will inevitably have down days. But, this is completely human. And it is more so crucial on such days to find at least one thing you’re grateful for as it helps to shift your energy around what’s happening right in your life.
  • Forgive yourself and let go of memories that are weighing you down. Reach out to someone you can confide in or just write them down on a piece of paper. Keep it in a journal, tear it down, burn it, flush it. Do what it takes to let it go.

Practicing self-love can be at times, challenging and demanding. So, remember that you deserve to be loved not only by those around you, but also by the most important person in your life – YOU!

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