What Is Self-Love?
Self-love is an easy two eight-lettered word, but it is often the most difficult to practice.
Ask yourself: how often do you use affirming language about yourself?
How do you take care of your body?
How much time do you spend each day taking care of yourself?
Do you like the way you look?
How much external validation do you rely on? And so on...
What is self-love?
Self-love is a complex combination of various elements, and it's not just limited to simple actions like having a skincare routine or taking bubble baths. It involves having a positive attitude towards oneself and accepting oneself, including one's strengths, weaknesses, and imperfections.
Self-love is characterized by feelings of compassion, kindness, and respect towards oneself. It also includes taking care of oneself physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Self-love can take many forms depending on the individual, such as setting healthy boundaries, learning to say no, practicing positive self-talk, recognizing one's needs, avoiding self-judgment, and more.
Ultimately, self-love is about recognizing one's worth as a valuable and deserving person and treating oneself with the same kindness and care that one would offer to a close friend or loved one.
What does self-love not look like?
Self-love is often misrepresented in popular culture, and it's important to understand what self-love is not. Self-love is not selfish, and it doesn't involve being self-absorbed or narcissistic. It involves recognizing and valuing one's own needs and emotions, while also being aware of the needs and feelings of others.
Self-love is not about striving for perfection or constant happiness, and it's not about self-criticism or punishment for perceived shortcomings. It's a practice that involves accepting oneself, including one's flaws and mistakes.
Most importantly, self-love is not a one-time event, but a continuous practice that requires ongoing effort and attention. It's important to note that self-love is a non-linear journey with ups and downs. It requires intentional practice until it becomes a habit.
Why is self-love important?
Self-love is essential for several reasons. When individuals have healthy and positive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors towards themselves, it can improve their mental health by increasing self-esteem and self-worth. This can lead to a reduction in anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
Practicing self-love can also decrease negative attitudes and behaviors towards oneself, and increase resilience, which can be helpful during difficult times. Taking care of oneself by eating healthily, sleeping well, and exercising can lead to better physical health.
Moreover, self-love can improve interpersonal relationships. When individuals can identify and assert their needs and boundaries, communicate effectively, and remain congruent with others, they can experience fulfilling and secure relationships.
Ultimately, self-love can lead to greater happiness and fulfillment in life. When individuals love themselves, they can pursue their passions, engage in meaningful experiences, and feel a sense of purpose and meaning.
If self-love can be so beneficial, then why is it hard to practice?
Self-love can be challenging to put into practice due to various reasons, and the primary factor is social conditioning. Society's expectations, cultural norms, roles, and responsibilities often emphasize prioritizing the needs of others over one's own, making it difficult to prioritize self- love without feeling guilt and shame.
Negative self-talk and critical internal dialogue can make it difficult to accept and love oneself, and perfectionism can also hinder self-love by creating the need to achieve certain standards.
Moreover, self-love requires a mindset and behavioral shift, which can be challenging to make amidst a busy and demanding lifestyle, especially with societal beauty standards and comparison culture.
Traumatic experiences of rejection, abandonment, or criticism can further impede self- love and self-trust. While overcoming these barriers requires time and effort, practicing self-love is vital for achieving greater well-being and fulfillment in life.
How to nurture holistic a self-love practice .
Eating healthy, going for walks, spending time in nature, and engaging in regular exercise can help you take care of your body.
You can create a more loving relationship with yourself by practicing compassionate self-talk, to manage your challenging emotions and inner-critic. Practice self-forgiveness, and prioritize activities that bring joy, awe and fulfillment.
Meditation can be a useful practice for cultivating self-love. This can involve being
aware of the five senses, focusing on breathing, and sensing bodily sensations of tension and relaxation.
Making a self-love jar can be a helpful way to regularly practice self-love. This involves writing down affirmations, positive memories, or things you are grateful for on small pieces of paper and putting them in a jar. This can promote the intention to practice self-love regularly and act as positive reinforcement. It can also reduce the need to depend on external validation from others.
If you need support to help you cultivate a self-love practice, join our FREE support group.
To deepen your emotional self-love take a look at these journal prompts.