Self love is a topic that has been all over lately, especially on social media and has had an influence on many of us.Honestly, most of us didn’t know much about it until we read about it on the internet or heard someone else talk about it. It sort of brought about an awakening because most of us didn’t grow up hearing about it. Even as we heard the popular Bible verse love your neighbor as you love yourself, the latter wasn’t as emphasized as it is nowadays.
However, I think this is a topic or should I say concept that has been misunderstood. So , what is self love?
Self love is regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.
It’s when you can prioritize your happiness and your peace of mind and walk away from what doesn’t help you grow. When you truly cherish who you are as a person, flaws and all. When you have high regard for yourself as a person, you believe in yourself, speak well of yourself, can stand up for yourself and have self respect.
So can you confidently say you love yourself?
As you answer that question, I think some people got it twisted and I feel the need to make it clear what self love is NOT;
- Arrogance– thinking that you are better than everyone else and always trying to bring other people down. Sorry boo but that only shows how insecure you are that you need to see others below you to see yourself in a better light.
- Playing blind to your own mistakes– you can still love yourself and say, hey, I didn’t to well in that area and I can do better. I can take care of myself better. I can treat others better. I can put more effort in my work because I’ve been a bit lazy lately. Self love is when you can be totally honest with yourself ( with grace, of course)
- Being selfish– taking out time to help somebody else doesn’t mean you don’t love yourself because, it’s not always about you (or me). Saying hurtful words to others in order to protect you can protect yourself is not what self love is all about. Love others the same way you’d want to be loved. Even though the concept of self love teaches us that we need to prioritize our happiness, sacrificing your time to help someone else won’t hurt. Especially when they really need your help. It isn’t always about me me me ; think about someone else too. Their happiness matters too.
Now that we have that out of the way, you maybe me wondering, how then do I cultivate self love? I know for a fact that some people have never known how to love themselves. And I understand that because I have been there before. One of my biggest hurdles was letting others’ love for me define how much I loved myself. I know this may apply to other people too. but all starts with you. How you love yourself has a direct effect oh how others love and treat you.
Others will wait until they’re perfect so that they can love themselves; and if you’re one of them, you might wait your whole life time. One of the fundamental truths about self love is that you do not have to be perfect to love yourself. You love yourself as a whole. You love the good and the ‘bad’. You are patient with yourself in your weaknesses and as a work in progress.
And if you don’t love yourself; you know that God loves you, right?He thinks you are worth dying for. Just think about it for a moment. You are the apple of His eye and your name is on the palm of His hands. So who are you not to love yourself? Or are your standards higher than God’s? If God can forgive you for all your sins and mistakes of the past (& present), why then can’t you forgive yourself?Think about it.
I personally believe that self love is embracing God’s love for you and recognizing every good thing He says about you.
Here are some ways you can cultivate self love daily;
- Speak well of yourself– most people don’t realize that the words they speak to themselves stay in their subconscious mind and it actually has an impact on their self image. Speak to yourself how you’d speak to yourself best friend: with empowering words, kindness and patience. Affirm yourself and believe the best about yourself.
- Surround yourself with people who value you– these are the people who see your light and affirm it. They’re also people who will call you out when they see that you’re not behaving in a way that shows you’re not valuing yourself. People who add to your energy and not draining it. Simply, people who bring out the best in you.
- Do things that add value to you– do you love books? Buy yourself one! Wanna get healthier?Start working out and eating better. I am a firm believer that self improvement is part of the self love journey. So whatever you think could make you a better version of yourself, do it.
- Do the things that you love– listen to your favorite music. Get a good nap. Dress up in clothes that make you feel confident. Go out for adventures if that’s your thing. These definitely ups your happiness levels.
- Be patient with yourself– most especially if you are a perfectionist, you do not have to beat yourself up, saying hurtful things that you’d never want to hear another person say to you. We all make mistakes. Give yourself a chance to do better.
- Do not compare yourself to others– you might have come across the quote, no one is you and that’s your power. We are all so different; from the outside to the inside. So instead of looking at the other person and wondering why don’t I have this and that, focus on being the best version of yourself. Because you’re all you got!
- Be where you thrive at- what are you most skilled at? Sometimes being in a place where you always come up short can cause self loathing and believing that you are not good enough. So find out what you are good at and shine in that area. Each one of us has gifts and skills we are really good at. So instead of trying to fit it where you don’t belong, how about finding something that you love.
As I wrap it up, here’s a reminder; self love is a journey. It doesn’t happen overnight especially for the person who has never known how to love themselves. Do one thing at a time. Maybe you can start with doing the things that you love and with time you can build on that. Also remember you are deserving of love . We all do . So don’t shy away from doing what’s best for you. God loves you and so should you.
Got more tips on how to cultivate self love? Kindly share them in the comments .
PS: As I had mentioned a few weeks ago, i am working on a book on all things self love. I know it’s a topic that needs wide and in-depth coverage. so in case there’s an area you’d want me touch on, kindly email me ; email@example.com. I’d love to here from you!