According to the English Oxford Living Dictionary, Self-Love is the “Regard for one’s own well-being and happiness”. That is about as neutral of a definition as I could find. My definition is that self-love is how much you love yourself, so that you can love others. I truly believe that if you don’t love yourself and continue to refresh that love, you can’t truly love others. You will obsess over others. You might have a parody of love for others. There might be an unhealthy, abusive version of what some might call love, but really isn’t. Real, true love between people can only happen when both people can love not only each other, but also themselves. I truly believe this.
How selfish is self-love?
As I was researching, I saw so many articles on both sides of the divide of how selfish self-love is. I don’t think that self-love is anymore selfish than any other type of love. It all depends on the person. Someone who is so in love with themselves that they can no longer love anyone else has taken self-love to the other extreme and there are other underlining issues there. That is not what this article is about.
What this article is about is learning to love yourself, so that you can in turn love others, whether they be family, friends, or lovers. This article is about ways that I have used to learn to love myself. Some of these I have picked up here and there throughout my life. A few I picked up from the internet of the last year and I no longer know exactly which site I found them on. These are in no particular order as every person will have to decide for themselves which ones work best for them, nor is this list complete. There are a ton more ways to learn about self-love. These are a few that have worked for me.
- Stop Comparing Yourself
- Find Your Passion
- Ask Yourself: What’s My Purpose?
- Set Boundaries
- Forgive Yourself
- Explore Your Spirituality
Stop Comparing Yourself
You are unique. There is no else like you, and because there is no else like you, you should be comparing yourself to anyone else. Why do that? I know. Parents compare their children. Employers compare their employees. It happens all the time. Why do it to yourself? Find what makes you unique and shine.
While I’m talking about comparing yourself, let me talk about perfectionism too. Nobody is perfect. NOBODY!!! Stop trying to be perfect. Instead, try to be excellent. Everyone can be excellent. Be your excellent you!
Find Your Passion
I believe that everyone has something they are passionate about. For me, it is art. I love painting, drawing and everything to do with art. For my best friend, it is writing and creating worlds and stories. For some people, it’s football or baseball. For others, it’s community service or their church. Whatever it is, everyone has a passion. Once you have found that passion, use it to build up your confidence in yourself. Use it to build up good vibes in your life. Find that passion and use it. Trust me, it will make a world of difference.
Ask Yourself: What’s My Purpose?
This was a big one for me, maybe the biggest one. I spent ages without a purpose. I drifted along with life without knowing what I wanted to do. I went to work, ate, slept and painted my artwork, but I was drifting. It was until I set LIFE GOALS that I gave my life direction and now I have a purpose. The life goal doesn’t have to be grand and they aren’t set in stone. Mine are to save up enough money to travel the world. Once I have done that, then I’ll set a new one. Set a goal. Make it a big enough one that it will take decades to achieve. (I’m expecting mine to take at least 20 years and then I’ll travel for 10 years or so.)
Boundaries can be your best friend. Everyone has those friends that are fun to be around on occasion, but at other times, they aren’t exactly great. They are the ones that are the life of the party until they had one to many or they are great until they want you to loan them some money which they will never pay back. This is where boundaries work wonders.
When you have friends that are completely toxic, you can easily get rid of them. You know they are bad for you and you don’t miss their friendship because it was always terrible. But when the friendship is 80% good/20% bad, what do you do? You don’t want to drop that friend altogether. You enjoy that 80%. Set up boundaries. You may still lose the friend if they can’t respect your boundaries, which has happened to me, but a lot of times, your friend may step up and realize that they need to either change or respect the boundaries you set. Either way, your friendship can flourish. And if your friend can’t respect your boundaries, at least you know that you tried.
Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has done something wrong or wronged someone. It’s all a matter of degrees. You need to forgive yourself for those mistakes and wrongs, and if you have wronged someone, then make amends. Then going forward, do your best and forgive yourself for your mistakes. You are not perfect, no one is. NOBODY IS PERFECT!!!!!!! No one ever will be. Stop trying to be perfect. Strive for excellence and forgive your mistakes.
Not every day is going to be a good day and that is okay. When you have a bad day or something bad happens, take the time for self-care. Self-care is physical and mental. Take mental health days when you need them. Take time to make sure your physical health is okay. If you are stressed out, take the time to participate in stress relieving activities, like a warm bath, a massage or cuddle with your partner. If you have a cold, take cold medicine and a day to relax in bed. Whatever it is that is self-care for you, make sure you have it on hand when you need it. Personally, I like to curl up in bed with a good book.
Explore Your Spirituality
I believe that we have a soul and that our souls need nourishment. I don’t believe that we necessarily need religion to feed our soul. We can use religion if we find the right religious place of worship, but I don’t think it is necessary. What I do believe is necessary, is spiritual nourishment and spiritual nourishment can come in many forms.
For myself, that is art. My artwork come from my heart and soul. It brings me peace and passion. I spend time in meditation while working on piece of art. I lay a lot of my anger, angst and heartache in my artwork. I give it up to my deities and let them bring me piece. This is what I mean by spiritual nourishment.
For those that are religious, they can find that through their worship. For those that are not, they can find it through their own version of spirituality. I believe that everyone needs to explore their spirituality in whatever form they choose.
Loving yourself so you can love others is one of the best goals you can have. It is a goal that I am still striving to meet. It is a goal that a lot of people are working on and I hope that it is a goal that you will work on too. I think that self-love is not selfish and is needed. If you don’t have enough love in your heart, how are you going to have enough love to give. Self-love is the first step in having enough love to give.