Self-Love means taking care of one’s well-being and happiness. This means taking care of yourself emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, and intellectually. Selfishness on the other hand is a lack of concern or consideration of other people in the pursuit of one’s own personal profit and pleasure.
At times, it can be difficult to measure where one ends and the other begins. Often, we fail to take care of ourselves for fear of appearing selfish. However, if we don’t nurture ourselves we become worn down and stressed. The more time passes in which we don’t give ourselves the time, love, and attention we need, the less we can truly be there for other people. Also, if we do not find ourselves deserving of our own love, often we find ourselves also not deserving of another’s love. Essentially, we need to take care of ourselves first to be there for others and have healthy relationships.
“Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting.”
William Shakespeare, Henry V.
Human beings are complex creatures. On the simplest level, we want to make sure we are taken care of physically. This includes eating healthy, staying active, and getting enough sleep. Our bodies need this to function and we need our bodies to function before we can even focus on our mental well-being. Another basic aspect of self-love is creating financial stability for ourselves. Being financially secure allows us the funds and peace of mind to enjoy taking care of ourselves.
Humans need more though to achieve true happiness. We also want to feel fulfilled mentally and emotionally. How this is best achieved differs from person to person. It could take the form of reading an enjoyable book, taking a warm bath, cuddling with a pet, doing something artistic, or getting out into nature.
Most of us also have a spiritual need even if this does not always take the form of a religion. Prayers and going to church certainly can fill this role, but so can meditation or volunteering.
It can be hard to make time for yourself. It’s even harder when you are in a relationship, have children, or parents needing your care. Of course, most of us also have a full-time job, whether at home or out of the home. There is cleaning, laundry, cooking, shopping, errands and all the other mundane tasks.
One way to ensure you are taking care of yourself is make a date or appointment for yourself. Treat it like you would any other date or appointment. Put it on your calendar, mark it as unavailable, tell people “Sorry, I already have another engagement at that time, but here is when I do have time. Does that work?”
Also, not all acts of self-love have to be grand gestures. Maybe it’s just taking 15 minutes in the morning to meditate. Perhaps you go to bed 15 minutes earlier to read a little. Maybe you eat your lunch outside. It may be just taking a walk on your lunch.
Sometimes, you may just want to splurge on yourself. Buy the perfume you wanted, go to a concert, eat out, or get a massage.
Whatever your idea of self-love make sure you do it. You deserve to take care of yourself the same way you would anyone else. Figure out how much time you can dedicate to your hobbies, your health, and your spiritual well-being. Ideally, you should be spending a little time on yourself every day.
Self-love is also reflected in how we talk to ourselves. We can choose an inner dialogue that is encouraging, accepting, and kind. Often though our self-talk is very negative. We may think or say to ourselves “I am so stupid”, “I look fat”, “I will never figure this out”, etc. Generally, we would never speak to someone else so negatively. So, self-love is also treating ourselves with the kindness we would treat others.
“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens” –Louise Hay
So, be kind to yourself today. Speak well of yourself and to yourself. Enjoy a mini-break or a treat.
You deserve it!