The Self-Love Dilemma
Can you remember any time when you were so disappointed in yourself, thinking: “What’s wrong with me?”
And then you frown, going deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole: “I’m making too many mistakes; I just don’t get it right. I often fight with others, I never stop complaining, and I hate myself for what happened that day, so long ago, when it was all my fault. I let myself down too often, so how can I trust myself to ever do the right thing? Come to think of it, I actually don’t even like myself. Loser…”
This is the typical train of thought of most people who treat self-love merely as a reward for one ultimate day — when they finally become the person they want to be. This behavior implies that their self-love is based on, or subject to, them being objectively “good” or “successful.”
However, as Aristotle stated: “Humans, deep down, love the self more than their favorite others (family and loved ones). But, as cultural animals, they can come to believe that they love their favorite others more than they love the self.”
Which means, you already love yourself…
Just as Rumi stated, “Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
And this scripture example from the Christian Bible shows, Jesus is not commanding self-love but assuming it: “Love your neighbor as you (already do) love yourself,” which means Jesus assumes that every human being by nature loves himself.
You don’t have to learn to love yourself — you just need to remember, unpack, and believe it.
To Love Yourself Is The Key To Happiness
Self-love is confident, warm, and caring.
It’s the complete acceptance of who and what you are. It’s the appreciation and affirmation of yourself.
It’s the unconditional support, self-care, and compassion you give yourself that ultimately translate to good health, great self-esteem, happiness, total balance, and well-being.
Self-love is thus a basic necessity, a fundamental positive value that leads to inner peace and happiness.
What True Self-love Looks Like
What Self-Love Is Not
Self-love is not that desperate need to be better or more deserving than others. It is not being selfish or vain. It is not conditional on certain desired outcomes. And it’s not the exaggerated sense of importance or classic narcissism.
What True Self-Love Is
Self-love is open and honest.
It’s the ultimate commitment; to get to know and accept yourself as you are. To fully experience life as it happens to you. To continually seek ways to physically, psychologically, and spiritually grow from these experiences.
True self-love is giving yourself unconditional respect, appreciation, and evaluation of being great. It’s reminding yourself that you deserve to have all your personal needs met while considering yourself as worthy, valuable, and deserving of happiness.
It’s fully knowing, no matter what you do or neglect to do, that you’ll always love yourself and be true to who you are — no matter what.
Why It’s Important To Love Yourself
You simply cannot take care of others until you take care of yourself first. When you truly, unconditionally love yourself, you can move through the world with deeper compassion for others, deriving a deep sense of joy and pleasure from the act of giving.
Self-love is, therefore, your fuel and foundation. If it’s not there, your entire life will be unstable and uncertain. But if you truly love yourself, life moves forward with ease and everything magically falls into place.
You’ll have greater resilience to withstand any challenging life event or personal adversity. Depression, anxiety, stress, and the strive to be perfect, will vanish in the face of pure optimism that self-love creates.
You will always know that this moment shall pass and say, “I am okay, because I will treat myself fairly no matter the situation.”
To Love Yourself Is A Lifelong Romance
Oscar Wilde once said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
Which means, it’s a not a destination — it’s an everyday practice.
But before we get to daily self-love techniques and exercises, here’s what you first need to know:
You are the center of the universe — It all starts with you and ends with you. You’re going to be with yourself for eternity. Which means you would want to operate from a place of self-loving, rather than self-loathing.
You care for yourself the most — No one else is interested in you — your well-being, safety, health, happiness, and existence — more than you. No one knows better than you what makes you happy or what hurts you the most. No one thinks of you or comes ready for your rescue, support or comfort. No one can make better choices for you, or give you a better opinion of what you need to do, other than yourself. No one is here for your spiritual growth but you.
The love you seek does not exist but within you — Herein lies one of humanity’s biggest deceptions. Love is a desire, of what (pleasures) you momentarily felt or experienced before and hope to have again all of the time.
But this desire for love from others in itself cannot make you happy.
Love from other people can only make you happy if it expands on or reflects your own self-love. And loving others can only originate from self-love: a reflection or expansion of the love you have for yourself.
5 Self-Love Techniques And Exercises
Mind your inner voice — The mind is always operating from a place of duality, so to feel inferior or superior is normal. Become aware and conscious of how you treat yourself in your own mind. Pay attention to your self-talk and how it makes you feel. Discard the demeaning thoughts and direct your mind and actions to positive behaviors.
Clear your mind — Observe and understand your current beliefs and values, and the real motivations behind them (make sure you don’t carry other people’s beliefs and values). If your beliefs and values are not serving your highest good, question why you’re holding onto them.
Invest much time in good self-care — Nourish yourself daily with healthy activities; good nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy, and healthy social interactions, with lots of time for fun, adventure, and relaxation. When you fuel and take care of your body properly, you’ll have optimum energy and vitality which builds upon self-esteem. Self-esteem and self-love go hand in hand, and participating in things you’re good at will boost endorphins and bring out the best version of yourself.
Set boundaries and protect yourself — Identify what is, and isn’t good for you, and gain the clarity you need to understand what you will, and will not accept in your life. Don’t ever tolerate being treated like a doormat. Bring the right people into your life who reflect your own self-respect and reputation. Live intentionally with purpose and design.
Explore your spirituality — Faith is the foundation for self-love, no matter what religion or system you believe in. Believing in something opens up your soul to the beauty of belief and trust itself. When you explore your spirituality, it will take you on a journey of learning things about yourself. And those new thoughts, feelings, passions, and raw emotions will make you appreciate yourself for being authentically you. This will enhance your intuition and help to make decisions based on your gut.
Guided Meditation for Self-Love
Meditation is when you’re focused on a virtuous object to become peaceful and calm. Since your happiness co-depends on experiencing inner peace, incorporate any form of meditation into your daily life. Gradually reduce and eliminate your negative, disturbed states of mind and replace them with positive, peaceful states.
Self-Love Meditation Script
This short transcript is simple and effective, which you can quickly record in your own voice, and listen to whenever you meditate:
Close your eyes…
Bring your awareness to your breathing — just breathe in… and out… be totally aware of it, do not manipulate it — just follow the inhale and exhale…
Allow your mind to settle into your breath — Bring your awareness into your heart.
Now mentally repeat to yourself three times: I love myself just as I am.
Breathe in and out… Mentally repeat to yourself three times these words (by Og Mandino):
I am nature’s greatest miracle…
Since the beginning of time never has there been another with my mind, my heart, my eyes, my ears, my hands, my hair, my mouth. None that came before, none that live today, and none that come tomorrow can walk and talk and move and think exactly like me. All men are my brothers yet I am different from each. I am a unique creature.
I am rare, and there is value in all rarity; therefore, I am valuable. I am the end product of thousands of years of evolution; therefore, I am better equipped in both mind and body than all the emperors and wise men who preceded me.
Slowly open your eyes…
And smile — make the smile go through your entire body.
If you want to overcome a certain aspect or situation to accelerate self-love, use the mantra, “Even though I (insert your problem), I always deeply and completely love and accept myself.”
Positive Affirmations for Self-Love
Self-love affirmations are powerful statements with the ability to change your beliefs about anything. For the greatest impact, speak them aloud first thing in the morning or right before bed, so the words can sink into your subconscious.
Use some of the following affirmations that resonate with you on a notebook, in daily journal entries, or on sticky notes and leave them around the house to see all day.
I am worthy of love
I carry strength, courage, and resilience within me
I have the ability to overcome any challenge life gives me
Abundance and love flow from me
I am pure beauty
I am cocooned in the loving energy of the Universe
I love myself beyond comprehension
I am worthy of infinite and unending compassion
My life is a celebration of my accomplishments
Love rises from my heart in the face of difficulty
The love within me flows through me in every situation
My body is a beautiful expression of my individuality
I am authentic, true, and expressive
Love brings me youthfulness, energy, and rejuvenates me
I honor and respect my limitations and thank myself for the capabilities I do have
My life is founded on respect for myself and others
I am confident in my individuality
I am love, compassion, and empathy
I am enough
I am exactly who I need to be in this moment
I am love incarnated
A Self-Love Quote
Loving yourself is powerful.
It’s that divine relationship you build with yourself that will help you improve every single aspect of your life.
In closing, here’s a writing from English comedian actor and film director Charlie Chaplin for more self-love inspiration in meditation and affirmation:
As I Began to love myself… By Charlie Chaplin
“As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is AUTHENTICITY.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it RESPECT.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it MATURITY.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it SELF-CONFIDENCE.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it SIMPLICITY.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is LOVE OF ONESELF.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is MODESTY.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it FULFILLMENT.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection WISDOM OF THE HEART.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know THAT IS LIFE.”
What’s one thing you love about yourself? Share it with us in a comment!