Often we are reluctant to promote self-love mostly because we confuse it with selfishness. Since we are humans, we ought to have a healthy love for ourselves; it is from this fount that love flows out to others.Mason Olds
Have you ever heard of the saying, “you have to love yourself first before you can love anyone else?”
I think we all have. But what does loving yourself really entail? What exactly is self love? And what do you need to do to achieve it? I think it is so confusing when society says…you should do this or that but never gives you the missing “how to do said thing”. Today, we are going to address the how to part of self love so that self-love becomes more of an achievable goal than a mystery idea.
Why is it important?
Self love is necessary to be a good friend, to be a good partner, and to parent well. If we don’t first learn to practice self-love, our relationships will never live up to their full potential and we will be missing out on some of the greatest connections in life. Self-love is our responsibility to the world. Because if everyone took responsibility for loving themselves and taking care of their needs, there would be less projection and more empathy. Self love is the foundation of all relationships.
Who is it for?
• Men-We rarely hear self-love talk amongst men. It would be weird, out of place, and odd to walk up to a conversation where men were talking about accountability and mindfulness in the gym, wouldn’t it? That being said, the emotional shit that men have boiling underneath must be amplified because we lack support for them in our society. And if men aren’t talking about it, men aren’t talking to their children about it. Being taboo for a man to discuss what self love and respect looks like sheds light on two things: we have a fucked up society and it’s definitely something men need to learn.
• Women-Many women confuse self-love with a trip to the spa, a time out on life, a break from the hustle. Although, these are aspects of self love, there is so much more, and it goes so far beyond this. Women spend much of their lives in the service of others, which means that it is especially important for women to learn what self love is, as it holds the key to lasting fulfillment and happiness. Not to mention that we set a prime example for our children, and I could only imagine the guilt that would come from not teaching our children how to love and respect themselves. (Interested in knowing more about how parents need to implement a self love practice to be a better parent? I wrote about it here).
• Everyone– The truth is that self-love is a practice that everyone should take seriously. Old, young, male, female, purple or yellow, we all need to learn what self love looks like.
What is it?
Self-Love is “an appreciation of one’s own worth or virtue”, having a “proper regard for and attention to one’s own happiness or well-being” (Merriam-Webster)
Self love is the result when we practice ways to grow physically, spiritually and emotionally.
In all actuality, I define self love as…
• Being responsible for your own happiness and making it a priority in your life.
• Tending to your own needs rather than expecting others to do it for you.
• Staying true to yourself without feeling the need to accommodate or please others at your expense.
• Knowing your worth and not settling for less than what you deserve.
• The cornerstone of every relationship you will ever have.
Self love isn’t this mystical action that involves incense and tarot cards (although I do love that shit). It is a way of life that becomes who you are, a way of acting every single day that promotes good, healthy feelings.
You see, what many people don’t realize is that when we don’t practice self love, we put all of our expectations to feel good on other people and buy into the idea that other people are responsible for the way we feel. Other people are not responsible for our feelings…we are. Read that again. It is one of the most important life lessons I have had learn. And if we are responsible for our feelings, we do well to learn how to advocate for ourselves, have empathy for our situations, and forgive our shortcomings, the same way we do with a friend.
I believe that self love can be broken down into the following seven categories:
- Physical Care
When we learn how to practice each of these together, we experience what true love looks like and what it means to be whole. And when we learn what true love looks like, we are better able to offer it to others. It is the small part we play in making the world a better place.
Why is it so hard to do?
There is no doubt about it, loving yourself is more difficult than seeing the good in another person. We are our biggest critic, we cut ourselves no slack, and we have expectations of ourselves that are usually beyond our capacity.
I’m not going to lie, writing down the ways that self love should embody your entire being is so much easier than when you go out into the world and it begins to tear you apart.
My hope is that this sequence…the dissecting of what self love is…over the next few weeks will help to guide you to see all the ways in which you are a unique and special being that is deserving of the same love you give so readily to others. It is hard, but it is worth it. There is no better relationship to have stock in than the one you have with yourself. It is the only one that has the ability to pull you through the rocky roads life is bound to throw at you.
See you next week. We’ll be talking about what it means to set healthy boundaries and how having healthy boundaries shows an incredible amount of self love and respect.