How Do You Define Self-Love?
One of the words I always had trouble accepting, when it came to building self-esteem and confidence, was 'self-love'. I think it was because I always thought of it in terms of perfection...and I felt far from perfect! There are things I don't love about myself and therefore the concept of self-love not only felt foreign but unachievable. Then an article I read put 'self-love' into terms I could relate to and my though process started to change. She compared self-love to a long-term relationship, where loving yourself was a commitment, accepting yourself for better or for worse as you are right now.
Putting self-love in terms of a relationship made me think of the popular verses from the Bible that are often quoted at weddings from 1 Corinthians. "Love is patient...is kind" - if I had to define self-love this would be paramount because too often I find that I am so impatient with myself and with that impatience come harsh forms of self-judgement. We need to be kind and understanding with ourselves, just as we would be with anyone else we loved. "Love...keeps no record of wrongs" - this goes right alongside self-judgement, where when we feel that not only did we do one thing wrong, but a snowball of past events where we feel we failed start to surface. This kind of thought process can be so detrimental to our emotional and mental health. I used to see so many of my mistakes as failures in my life. It has taken me a very long time to change my thinking from 'failures' to 'lessons'. Every 'failure' has taught me something new, a lot of times even demonstrating inner strength that I didn't even know I possessed. "Love always trusts...always hopes...always perseveres" - trust yourself, believe in yourself, have hope for your future, and be committed to your relationship with yourself.
There are so many ways you can define self-love. Perhaps it means setting health boundaries, prioritizing yourself, forgiving yourself, or having a high regard for your happiness. No matter how you define self-love, being accepting and kinder is a habit like any other...it takes time and practice. There are many ways to practice self-love...mindfulness, eating healthier, exercise, and even simply taking care of your basic needs. These are topics we will explore in future posts but in the meantime...how is self-love defined by you?