The famous poet Oscar Wilde put it like this: “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance” and I think that pretty much says it all. Like any other relationship we need to put a lot of heart and work into ourselves, just like we would have done in any other kind of relationship.
It’s a common mis-belief that self-love is the same as narcissism, being selfish, or that it just means having a big ego. Nothing could be further from the truth, self-love is essential for our well being and function in this world. We can’t talk about inner growth, personal development or inner leadership without talking about self-love.
What does self-love really mean?
Self-love begins the moment you start to observe your actions and words with love, empathy and compassion as if you were your own best friend. It’s about accepting and loving yourself just the way you are – regardless of what you do or have in life. It’s about really caring about staying true to yourself and all your needs.
Know that you’re unique, there’s only one you and that is actually your true superpower. You can start to embrace that by identifying things you love about yourself, and become aware of all your strengths, quirks and special qualities and decide to care for and value all these characteristics as part of who you are.
Self-Care and Self-Love are different
Self-care is a way of showing love towards yourself, it’s an act of self-love, when you take care of yourself with honest concern because you care about yourself and your well being. It means that you want to give yourself all the things you need in order to feel good. When you love yourself you show up for yourself and your needs.
The practice of self-love is the practice of nourishing yourself which goes way beyond going to the gym or checking in to a spa once a year (even though that’s nice). In order to really talk about self-love you need to get to know who you really are. You must be willing to turn your love inwards beyond the roles you play in life.
Here are five tips for you to start practise self-love
1. Turn your love inwards
Embrace time in solitude and get to know yourself from within. Meditation is an excellent tool to get out of your head and into your heart, this is your source where you can always come back to in order to feel unconditional love. Quiet your mind and get to know the voice of your heart. Follow this voice and you will know true love.
2. Notice your negative self-talk
Become aware of your thoughts. What’s the story you keep telling about yourself? Perhaps your internal voice is kind and caring or it might be mean and critical. Being aware of how you ‘talk’ to yourself will help to grow your level of self-love. If you’re not being loving to yourself, you can consciously create a more positive dialogue.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others
Comparing yourself to others is one of the most common trap to feel bad about yourself. You see what others are doing on social media, at work, and on television, and compare yourself unfavorably with everyone else without getting the full story. Own your story and start loving the fact that you are perfect just the way you are.
4. Nourish yourself from within
Taking care of yourself from within means everything from treating yourself with kind words, nourishing high vibrant foods, moving your body and making sure to get enough sleep and rest. It’s also about feeding your soul with good relationships and things that fills you up from within. Nourish means looking after yourself with love.
5. Stay true to your inner values
It’s a big challenge to live an authentic life in today’s world. This is the ultimate self-love practice, to stay true to your values and your inner voice no matter what. Do not fall into the voice of society or anyone else. It’s about committing yourself to live your life on your terms by following your heart and trusting your intuition.
To practise self-love is a beautiful daily habit to cultivate, your heart and soul will thank you and you will thrive along the way. The more you practice self-love, the more loved you will feel and the less you will rely on external sources. You’ll know by heart that true happiness is something you create by yourself from within.