What Is Self-Love & Where To Start
Updated: Oct 15, 2021
“Is Self-Love selfish?”
I heard myself asking my therapist at the time, when I was first introduced to this concept. It sounded completely foreign to me, how do you even love yourself? All my life I had been taught to be considerate to others, to be selfless and to care for others. To love and care for myself? That sounded selfish to me.
I soon found out that that’s not the case. Quite the opposite, self-love is probably the most selfless act you can do to yourself, to others and to the world. Why? Because when you are genuinely happy and fulfilled within, your love and joy outflow to everyone around you. Quite often when you are so happy within you can’t help but want to share your joy and love with the world. Any word or action that comes from this state is genuine and moving, because it comes from deep within your heart, your pure joy and your pure motives to share and serve.
Have you got the experience of forcing yourself to do something, just because you think that’s the right thing to do? Or what you should do? Say for example, you say yes to a birthday party invitation because you don’t want to hurt your friend’s feelings, when in fact you would rather stay at home and have some well needed rest. How would that leave you feeling? You might think that one act wouldn’t have much of an impact on you, but imagine the accumulated effects if this is what you practise in every area of your life. Now imagine the impact you’ll have on people around you when you walk around feeling depleted inside, or perhaps even resentful.
You can’t be of service when you are depleted inside. Fill your own cup first and your joy will naturally overflow to everyone around you. So where can you start? Let’s explore this idea from 3 perspectives:
This is probably the easiest way to start. Look after your body. Rest, exercise and fuel it with good food. When was the last time you say thanks to your body? Without it you couldn’t run, talk, taste, see, hear and experience life. The next time you find yourself being critical of your body image, try thanking it for what it allows you to do instead.
Find out what energises or recharges you. Whether it’s a warm bath, a walk in the nature, playing with your pets, listening to a song or watching a comedy, give yourself permission to take time out for them. And I mean being fully present with these activities, engage all your senses and fully experience them in the moment, without worrying about your work or chores. A short meaningful break and the mental clarity that follows can enhance your productivity by multiple folds.
Pay attention to your inner dialogues. How do you talk to yourself? Is your mind a beautiful garden or is it filled with weeds? Is your mind your biggest supporter or is it constantly putting you down? When you accidentally make a mistake, is your default response to blame yourself or to forgive and encourage yourself?
If you know that this is a world of free will and you can choose to think and believe in anything that suits you, what will you choose? A belief is just a thought that you think repeatedly until it becomes solid and ‘true’ in your world. The only reason it is ‘true’ is because you believe in them, so you energetically (then physically) attract experiences that prove you ‘right’. When you change your beliefs, your life will change.
Self-awareness is therefore a powerful tool. When you truly understand yourself, your motives, emotions, thoughts, desires and fears, you have the power to change them. A tip here is to love and accept yourself for all that you are, including your shadow aspects, or aspects of yourself that you deny out of fear or shame. For you can’t change that which you deny or reject. Let me assure you that there is nothing to be fearful or ashamed of, all that you experience are valid and valuable, and adds to the beauty of expansion.
What makes your soul happy? Free from others’ expectations, society’s definition of success, what you think you should do…what truly, truly makes your soul happy? If you find this hard to answer try imagine yourself on your death bed and reflect on the life you lived…what is truly important to you?
Do some soul-searching and don’t worry if you can’t find it straight away. The process of searching itself will bring you to the right people, right experiences and right encounters you need on your path of expansion. Life is a journey, not a destination. It is the people you meet and the experiences you co-create along the journey that truly matters. Don’t let the pursuit of happiness make you unhappy in the moment. Find the gold in this moment, because NOW is all we ever have.
A sincere blessing to all. May you find inner peace, love, true joy and meaning in this journey we called life. May you find the courage to love yourself first, and experience the magic it creates in your life.