The phrase “learning to love yourself” gets bandied about quite a lot, but what does self-love mean? And how do you show yourself, love?
What Self-Love Is And Is Not
Let’s first begin with what self-love is NOT.
Loving yourself isn’t a narcissistic thing. It’s not about having a big ego. Instead, it’s about accepting who you are, working to better yourself, and treating yourself in a way that is kind and compassionate.
The popular culture tends to confuse self-love and narcissism. If somebody appears to be happy with who they are and proud of their achievements, society says that they are probably profoundly narcissistic. To that person, the world is just a mirror that they can use to reflect their idealized self-image. Narcissists, however, don’t experience self-love in an authentic sense. Their masquerading and bravado is usually just a sign of inner fragility – a terrible feeling that they are not good enough for others.
Self-love, though, is something completely different. It’s where you’re at ease with not being the wealthiest, most beautiful, or most talented person in the room. You accept your alleged shortcomings and get on with your life as best you can. You certainly don’t beat yourself up if you fail or somebody does a better job than you at something.
Showing Yourself Care
Self-love is also about showing yourself due care and attention. Many people hurtle through life at breakneck speed, never really thinking about their wellbeing. They don’t take time out of their hectic schedule to do the things that will ensure their health now and in the future.
Take sleep, for instance. Researchers have known for years that people who get adequate sleep feel better, are happier, and are healthier. Those who don’t have self-love, however, will often prioritize optional work over getting the shut-eye that they need.
The same goes for taking care of the body. While yoga or professional massage treatments might be available, some people never choose to indulge in them, preferring instead to save money or spend the time being “productive.”
Taking care of your body, relaxing your muscles, and chilling out for a part of the week is part and parcel of being a human being. Nobody can continue working for years on end at a fevered pace and avoid damaging themselves physically or emotionally – it’s just not possible.
Achieving a sustainable form of self-love, therefore, should eventually leech out into the rest of your lifestyle. When you cherish who you are on the inside, you’re far less likely to make destructive choices that could damage your health. Instead, your priorities change.
Getting to the point where you love yourself in the first place can be a lot more challenging. Sometimes it requires therapy to deal with the negative influences of the people who cared for you when you were a child. Other times it requires a change in behavior. You could be doing something ethically wrong, and that is affecting your perception of yourself. Self-love is about getting to a place where you can achieve moral closure.