Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do. Be proud of who you are, and not ashamed of how someone else sees you.
The process of loving yourself can be extremely difficult. Especially if you don’t know what steps to take. So, it is quintessential to discern what self love constitutes and what it doesn’t.
Self-love is having time for your own beautiful ideas, memories and dreams. It is honouring yourself enough to believe in those passions and see that you need them, that you need to pursue them to be the person you were born to develop into. Self love is allowing yourself to mature and change, to grow into new perspectives and be comfortable enough in your own skin to allow your creativity to have the chaos it needs to be strong and the focus it needs to move in a positive direction. It is a state of being that respects these rights in others, that takes to heart that only they can see their path as only we can see ours, and that this sort of respect is a fundamental key to being human and living together. That this is part of liberty, that order comes from divine chaos, and all that requires self respect. Thus, self-love is genuine and complete acceptance of oneself.
However, what self-love discards is the egoistical self-centred sense of being whereby you only “love” yourself when you’ve “won” versus others, or when you consider yourself “better” than others. This is unsustainable and not authentic love for self, as when you truly love and accept yourself you don’t need to compare yourself to others. True self-love is not selfish pleasure, but rather the origin of discipline and willpower.
When you are conscious of that, that’s fantastic, you have made the first step- pat yourself on the back as it takes a lot of strength to admit that to yourself. Self-love is the most efficient route to everything from true self-discipline to pursuing your dreams, living out your full potential, and living an authentic and fulfilling life. It’s not easy, I am still on this path but it’s gradual and when you see yourself progressing on it, it truly is amazing. So how do we do it?
When you make choices or decisions ask yourself- ‘What would I do if I truly loved and accepted myself?”. Even if you haven’t accepted yourself yet, it puts you in the right mind-set and your decisions will reinforce the love for self. Aim to free yourself of any attachment. You are not your things, you are not your job, you are not your partner, you are not your friends, you are not your money. You are you. We cling on to them because they help us define ourselves – all because we don’t love ourselves. Stay true to yourself and if that means some people won’t accept you because of it – that’s fine because you are accepting yourself. Doesn’t it feel amazing when you acted naturally and did what was true to you ?
Do more of things that bring you true joy and not just pleasure. For example, think about what activities make you most happy or brought you most joy when you were a kid or teenager. It could be drawing, reading a book, helping someone, playing an instrument, etc. It must be true joy and not just superficial pleasure from activities as they might not help you cultivate that real self love.
Then, try focusing more of your attention to the present. Don’t get stuck with an image of you in the past or future. You need to realise that there is only now and no other time is real. The past was gone and the future is yet to come. Now is the only real setting there is- so bring your attention to it and cherish it. Look around you, focus on what your senses are feeling and even act surprised as if you just found out you exist. I personally found meditation to be incredibly powerful in cultivating this as a daily mind-set.
Those were the five things that helped me, I hope you will find something useful in them. Remember – let your ego fall and let unconditional love rise – for yourself and for others. You cannot truly love others unless you’ve learned to love yourself first. You must put oxygen mask on yourself first before putting it on others.
Self-love is looking out for yourself, not in a selfish way, but in a healthy way. Once we develop this discipline, we can use it in all sorts of life areas, like going to bed early, keeping up with physical activities, saying no to junk food, dedicating time to read and learn, and so much more. Quell the spoiled toddler, become the correct parent of your own mind. All the best with your beautiful journey !