Do you practice self-love?
Throughout our early lives, we were taught how to read, write, manipulate, calculate, theorize, study, and analyze life.
We were taught how to say “please” and “thank you,” as well as what was acceptable and unacceptable to others and society at large.
But most of us had one crucial part of our education neglected: self-love.
Something that continues to shock me about my own upbringing was the lack of emphasis on respect for oneself and acceptance of one’s flaws.
As a child, I can’t recall being taught the value of loving myself, of setting healthy boundaries, knowing how to say “no” and “yes” when you mean it, and learning how to take care of yourself – even at the expense of others.
What about you?
If you were raised in a culture and society similar to my own, you were probably taught to “put others before yourself” and not give much consideration to your own needs.
When we don’t learn how to love ourselves, we may experience depression, anxiety, resentment, and unhappiness as a result.
To live a life of joy, we need to learn self-love and we need to heal our own wounds and become self-healers of our souls.
What is self-love?Self-love is the practice of understanding, embracing, and showing compassion for yourself. Self-love involves nurturing your entire being which means taking care of yourself on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels. When engaging in self-love, we also work to forgive ourselves, accept our flaws, and embrace our inner demons. Contrary to popular belief, self-love isn’t just a blind adoration of our strengths, it’s also an embrace of our weaknesses and shadows.
Why loving others requires self-seeking?
Unless you’re capable of truly loving yourself first (even the darkest side of your being) you can never fully love somebody else.
And to be a positive presence in this world and care for others in an authentically loving way, we must first focus on ourselves. We must first dedicate a large amount of time to our own healing, happiness, and self-fulfillment. In other words, we must be self-seeking.
If you can’t seek to love yourself at a deep level – the place where your love originates from in the first place – how will you ever be capable of truly loving anybody else?
You can’t give away that which you don’t actually have. Let that sink in for for a few moments.
Self-love and the Dance to Remembrance
Self-love and the dance to remembrance go hand-in-hand. In other words, if you commit to self-love, you also commit to a journey of self-discovery. Love is a quality of the heart and Soul – and when you actively seek to expand that sense of self-compassion, you are also awakening new parts of your being, you are remembering your core truth as a Divine Being.
Perhaps this is the most powerful thing about self-love: it’s not just a surface practice, it is actually a dance, moving with the ebb and flow of life. By devoting ourselves to loving the Divine essence within us and choosing to dance through all of the experiences, we are deepening our awareness of who we are and naturally sharing it with others, raising the collective vibration all around you.
What Self-love IS NOT
Self-love and the dance to remembrance go hand-in-hand. In other words, if you commit to self-love, you also commit to a
On the surface, it’s understandable how the word ‘self-love’ could be confused with the words ‘egotism,’ ‘self-indulgence’ or even ‘narcissism.‘ But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Self-love isn’t about self-indulgence; it’s about taking care of yourself.
A person who loves themselves wants to become the best they can be, they want to explore themselves, practice inner work, do some soul-searching, work on their flaws, heal their traumas, and find inner peace.
A person with mindful self-love is aware that they’re actually harming themselves when they harm others.Why? Because they understand that if they hurt others, they will suffer the negative consequences in the long term, which will make life much more difficult for them. They realize that causing suffering to others is actually self-destructive, which is the complete opposite of self-love.
Self-love has nothing to do with egotism or narcissistic self-indulgence. The desire for honest self-exploration requires immense respect and love for yourself. Egotism revolves around the ego, and the ego depends upon the respect of others, not yourself.
Ways to practice authentic self-love
If you have just started your self-discovery journey – your dance, or need some inspiration, you might benefit from the following tips. Here are a few ways to begin practicing self-love:
At the start of our journey of self-love, it’s all too easy to be caught up in external comparisons we make between ourselves and others who have perhaps been on their journey longer than us. I used to do this a lot until I realized one day that the very essence of self-love is about being gentle and forgiving with yourself.
Thanks to some much-needed guidance, I learned that it is completely fine to take my time, to go slowly, and to learn little by little. I learned that it was OK to be flawed and to continue making mistakes… just as long as I continued to be aware and push through little by little.
It’s not necessary that you force yourself or be hard on yourself as this is the precise opposite of what self-love is. Knowing that self-love, at its core, is the ability to embrace your faults and imperfections and an inner knowing that you are innately worthy of all the love life has to offer.
No, I don’t mean the news, or the latest gossip on Facebook or Instagram, I mean read books or listen to others on the self-discovery journey! Focus on mostly non-fiction books in the spiritual/self-help category. Reading this type of material helps to expand your mind and equips you with inspiring and life-applicable knowledge.
Nourish your inner childEvery single person on the face of this planet possesses an inner child, or wounded self. Your inner child is the most innocent and vulnerable part of you; it is the child that still lives within you. While this sensitive part is the source of a lot of joy, creativity, and wonder, it can also contain tremendous unresolved pain from childhood.
We were all wounded, to some extent, in childhood. We all experienced traumas that we struggled to process. Beginning to work with your inner child is the start of deep emotional healing and freedom. Inner child work is one of the most self-loving paths that you can ever commit to and I highly recommend it.
Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend
Often, we are our own mortal enemies. To heal ourselves, it’s vital for us to consciously change our relationships with ourselves, and treat ourselves with compassion and consideration just as we would with our best friend. You are with yourself 24/7, 365 days a year. Doesn’t it make sense to enjoy your own company?
Find supportive soul-friendships
Supportive people encourage, uplift, and inspire us. These people have often obtained a certain level of self-love and because of their ability to respect themselves, they can easily respect and love others. Our online private community is filled with souls, who just like you, are learning and practicing self-love and embracing themselves fully. We all need the help of others.
Make time to explore your passions
What drives you, lights you up, fills you with joy and a sense of accomplishment? In society, we are conditioned to forget our needs and smother them with other’s desires. As a result, we often lose sight of what truly makes us happy in life.
Many of us abandon our dreams at an early age and seek socially approved pursuits (such as having a “good” career, big house, nice car, perfect family, etc.). Therefore, it’s important, to ask yourself “What is my passion? What do I love to do?” Sit down with this question and ponder it deeply.
Remember, passions are not static – they evolve with us. Whether it’s painting, writing, dancing, designing, building or whatever excites you – pursue it – even if on the sidelines!
Setting daily intentions of self-awareness
Take a moment each day to set at least one daily intention for self awareness. Examples could be:
- Today I will be present. If I find myself worrying about the future or the past, I will, without judgment, center myself to the present moment.
- ️Today I will be aware of my self talk. Lovingly guide yourself back to positive self talk in the moments you begin to talk negatively about yourself.
- ️Today I will focus on my strengths rather than my weaknesses.
The goal of these self-awareness intentions is to become more mindful of how you are showing up for yourself each day. Additionally, it is important to not judge or shame yourself when you fall short of your intention.
Why practicing self-love can sometimes feel stressful
Like me, you have probably read a lot of material all over the place on self-love. You have probably watched videos and have read numerous books and now you find yourself in a community, where we emphasize the importance of taking care of yourself.
You might feel the desire to love yourself – just like most of our members do – but something isn’t quite right. You find that the more you try to love yourself, the more unhappy you are….
You might find yourself being ‘hard’ on yourself about old mistakes and possibly telling yourself “I should let this go and just move on, I should be more forgiving.”
You might even compare some of your habits with others on the same path and feel miserable as a result, realizing that you are not as “self-loving” as they are.
When it comes to the word “should,” there is a very fine line between motivating and sabotaging ourselves. Have you ever thought something along the lines of, “I should be more self-loving! I shouldn’t feel this way!”? This is a perfect example of falling into the trap of making self-love a duty, more of a burden, and this restricts your ability to truly grow.
Don’t turn self-love into a “should” this actually turns us against ourselves.
So what do we do if self-love is becoming a burden to us?
The answer is to take a step back, pause, and be gentle. Give yourself grace as you dance along your journey and we encourage you to seek support from the community. There is no one size fits all. Everyone’s journey and dance is unique to them.
Are there toxic forms of self-love?This is a strange topic that not many people shine the light on when discussing self-love. But YES it is possible to use so-called self-loving practices as a way to band-aid our deeper wounds. YES it is possible to unintentionally deceive ourselves as a self-protection mechanism. Be mindful of cultivating extreme “positive thinking” habits/
Replacing the negative cycles of inner talk within us is very helpful. However, not only is optimism often a polarized reaction to pessimism, it can also be used as a form of avoidance by dismissing the reality of our own pain and other’s pain.
It’s common to use positive thinking as a way to bypass our own deeper issues.
Positive thinking becomes toxic when it is used to hide the pain, shame, and fear we carry inside. Often, what we most need isn’t to mask our problems with positivity, but to hold space for our most vulnerable and inner selves.
It’s okay to feel your feelings. It’s okay to be messy and hurt. These are profound opportunities to practice self-love – to love even your most flawed self.