Do you love yourself? Yes? But, do you really love yourself?
Is your love loyal and grounded enough to protect and nurture you through the ebbs and flows of life? What does loving yourself mean to you or is it the idea of love that you best relate to versus the actual love?
It’s out of the ordinary to have been enquired about your love for yourself, isn’t it? I mean, when it comes to this powerful emotion, it’s mostly about others. We are either found asking others if they love us, or get asked if we love them. Love, for some incomprehensible reason, has always been an outward expression. It has always been about the people in our lives, our job, our home, our car etc. May be that’s why, we are always seeking it only in our external reality.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not here to propagate the notion, which is quite in vogue by the way, that Self-love is the only kind of love one needs, that you can’t find it outside of you, if it isn’t within you, or that you can’t love others until you love yourself. I am not here to pontificate that self-love is the only type of love you’d ever need, because the truth is that we need love in all its forms and manifestations.
I am just saying that understanding of what Self-love is and how to practise it, is worth your time and energy, because you deserve to be loved by the most important person in your life – YOU. But above all, you deserve to be loved in general, and for that, self-love is a pre-requisite. Yes, it is! How? Let’s figure that out together.
For eons, our culture has emphasized loving and caring for the people in our lives; putting their needs first and valuing their happiness before ours. Self-love, for a long time, has been seen as a by-product of individualistic mindset. We thought of it as selfish and self-serving, something that doesn’t fit into our value system. No wonder, most of us still struggle with separating self-love from selfishness and the struggle continues.
But the biggest challenge, we often encounter, is not knowing what self-love really feels like and how to even practise it.
Here’s a little clarity on what Self-Love is, so you can begin working towards it:
1. Setting Healthy Boundaries:
How often have you let others overstep your boundaries? Okay, may be done inadvertently, but you know it has happened. More intriguingly, sometimes we don’t even know what those boundaries are. Imagine not knowing what those absolute do’s and don’ts are that we stand for, how can we expect of others to be mindful of them?
Why do you think, the penny drops only after the breakdown of a close bond for us to realize how much we tweak our ways for people, bring our standards down to accommodate them in our world, or compromise on, otherwise, unwavering life rules we swear by?
Loving oneself means setting healthy boundaries with people, no matter how close they are. It keeps us from losing sight of who we are and what we deserve.
When we love ourselves enough, we seek balance in all our connections and know where to put our foot down. It gives us the courage to say NO, when needed and not feel apologetic about it.
Self-love also means letting go of anything and anyone that doesn’t accept and respect these boundaries.
2. Become Your Biggest Supporter/Fan:
In the world full of critics, be your own supporter. Never overlook the fact that we aren’t truly alone, we always have ourselves. You’d know that if you loved yourself, because it would mean that you’ve been there for yourself, when no one was.
It also means that you never forget to keep reminding yourself how special and unique you are, and that you have all the love and support you need to weather any storm.
Self-love is celebrating your achievements and encouraging yourself through every setback. Self-love is never giving up on yourself, even if others do. 3. Not Internalizing Other People’s Behavior:
More often than not, we have been guilty about internalizing people’s behavior towards us, and gotten stuck into self-sabotaging thinking patterns.
Someone’s snide remark or rude behavior towards us, betrayal, or may be rejection; we tend to attach our worth and potential to our external realities, when the truth is that what happens outside of you, and how others conduct themselves, oftentimes, have nothing to do with you but a lot with them. If we love ourselves, we’d know that.
Self-love is directly linked to our sense of self-worth. When we love ourselves unconditionally, we don’t base our self-esteem on what others think of us, or how they behave around us.
4. Take Care Of Your Mind And Body:
Our mind and body are our best friends like no other. They are precious and irreplaceable, yet we put them through so much by allowing toxic thoughts/emotions, people, and food into our system, adversely impacting both of them without even realizing.
Most of our physical health issues have an underlying emotional and psychological foundation, which can be prevented, if we make it a habit to filter everything we let in and that’s where self-love comes to our rescue.
Loving ourselves means loving our body and mind. We don’t have to develop a chronic health condition to start to respect them. And how do we do that? Simple, by only allowing food and thoughts that are healthy, positive, and uplifting.
Be perceptive of what kind of energy people bring with them, not everyone needs close access to us. Treating yourself with spiritual practices like meditation and salt baths, and even getting involved in creative endeavors, are great ideas to heal and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.
Taking breaks from people, places and situations, whenever needed, is another way of caring for your mind and body.
Here’s the thing about Love – when it comes to loving others, it comes naturally to us, but when it’s about loving ourselves, we are often clueless as to where to start.
Aneasy way is to remember that we are on this planet to live a balanced life, so believing in equal give and take, is paramount for our well-being.
Self-love is not about being selfish, it’s about honoring the soul you are.