Self-love is the foundation of all forms of love. Learn about the meaning and benefits of self-love, and learn how to practice self-love daily.
Being loved is one of the most joyful things one can experience. Whether it’s love from family, a partner, or friends, it warms your heart and gives you the confidence to deal with difficulties.
But external love is not the only form of love. In fact, the first loving relationship you have is with yourself. Your friends can tell you how lovable you are for a million times. But if you don’t believe that yourself, none of the kind words will bring you real comfort and joy. And when you have enough respect and love for yourself, you can love others for the right reason, not for seeking approval from them.
That’s why, just as a self-love quote says, “if you can love, love yourself first.”
So what is self-love, and what are the benefits of self-love? And how can you practice self-love in your everyday life? Keep scrolling and you will find the answers in this post.
What is self-love?
Self-love means the love for oneself, which is the appreciation and respect for one’s value, worth, and qualities as a person.
People do all kinds of things in the name of self-love, especially in an era where social media throws the term everywhere. But self-love is not about treating yourself with a piece of cheesecake and taking selfies. It has a deeper significance than physical pleasure and indulgence, such as:
- Knowing your strength and weaknesses
- Validating your emotions and valuing mental health
- Embracing your imperfections
- Prioritizing your needs
- Being patient with your growth
- Allowing yourself to make mistakes and to learn from them
What is NOT self-love?
Self-love is a big concept. But we often hear the word used in many ways that are the opposite of self-love. The following are examples of actions disguised as self-love that might hurt you in the long run.
- Self-entitlement or narcissism
Loving yourself doesn’t mean putting yourself above others. Instead, self-love is being aware of your qualities and shortcomings and embracing them.
You don’t see yourself as better than others. But you still respect yourself, just as much as you respect people around you. Mutual respect will earn you meaningful relationships, while narcissism and self-entitlement only push people away.
- Instant gratification
It’s ok to treat yourself once in a while. But it’s not ok if it harms your health in the long run.
When you have a long day, it’s natural to want to treat yourself to a beer, chocolate, or pizza. And when you have a whole day off, you may want to binge-watching Netflix instead of doing anything meaningful. But it could be a problem when the occasional celebration turns into a pattern.
When you love yourself, you know you deserve better food. You have better things to do that will benefit your body and soul. And you give up instant gratification for long-term gains. Self-love is not an excuse for over-indulgence or letting yourself go. It’s about doing what’s best for you.
Loving yourself requires you to put yourself first. But that doesn’t mean you neglect others’ needs. Unfortunately, some people use self-love as an excuse to run away from others and possibilities. But that, in the long run, will isolate you and damage your close relationships.
True self-love is knowing the fact that your needs are as important as others’. So you do what you need to do first. And then you spend time helping others you care about and filling your responsibilities. It also means turning down favors that are not yours to take. This way, you hold both yourself and others accountable. No one is sacrificing too much or getting too little.
Reasons to love yourself first before you love others
Self Love is no magic. It’s an attitude and it takes practices. Our goals will not be achieved in a sec just because we start to “love ourselves”.
But what self-love can bring might be beyond imagination.
1. The way you love yourself defines how you want to be treated in a relationship
By taking care of yourself and appreciate yourself, you project an image of an independent character in a relationship. When you don’t need external affirmations to assure your value, you set the standard. You will not be afraid of being left alone because you know you deserve the best.
2. Loving yourself enables you to love others in a better way.
By loving yourself, you eliminate the unnecessary jealousy, insecurity, and anger from your relationship.
Because you have learned how to appreciate yourself, you are more capable of appreciating others as well. You know how to be the best version of yourself and that helps to bring out the attractiveness and charism within you.
5 Amazing benefits of self-love
Aside from its influences on intimate relationships, self-love can benefit us in various aspects of life. It might be the best investment because a little effort every day can result in a huge improvement in our holistic health.
Here are 5 instant benefits that come with self-love:
1. Less Stress and Anxiety
When we love ourselves, we are less likely to be trapped in self-denial because of the current situation or minor failures.
It removes the fear of being rejected and thus helps reduce stress and anxiety.
2. Higher Level of Satisfaction
Practicing self-love regularly not only strengthens our self-appreciation but also help us to see the world in another way. We are more likely to enjoy the real happiness in life such as love from our family, personal achievement or acts of kindness.
At the same time, pure pleasure will have less control over our mind. So for people with addictions, cultivating self-love would essential.
3. A Boost in Attractiveness
Confidence is probably the first change we will see when we start to appreciate ourselves.
It helps to remove the mental blockage of communicating with others as well as expressing ourselves.
According to the Law of Attraction, when we are more confident and actually believe in our beauty, we will more likely to attract positivity and the love we want.
4. Stronger Motivation
Have you ever felt lacking the energy to hit the gym or go to work as you were supposed to? Don’t criticize yourself being lazy. Chances are you are under-motivated.
Maybe you are not clear about your goal. Maybe you feel impossible to reach it or maybe you are just tired.
With a high level of self-awareness, you are more aware of the “low battery” signals. And it gives us a chance to recharge before burning out.
5. Health and Personal Growth
Self-growth is the best thing that happens on the trail of self-love. When you value yourself and care about your happiness and well-being, you are less likely to allow the toxic relationships or bad habits to stay in your way.
Keeping a healthy diet, learning a new language, playing music and even the tiniest good can fill your life with content and enlightenment.
How to practice self-love
If you are new to the concept of self-love, here is how you can practice self-love in your day-to-day:
- Practice affirmations. Learn to talk positively to yourself.
- Look at the mirror and learn to love your body.
- Say no to the flavors you don’t want to do.
- Do what you need to do before you help someone else.
- Do one thing at a time and stop rushing through tasks.
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
- Unfollow social accounts that set unrealistic expectations.
- Practice mindfulness with meditation or breathing exercises.
- Set healthy boundaries in relationships and at work.
- Identify toxic relationships or fake friendships, and leave them for good.
- Do a brain dump and unload your burdens on paper.
- Do an introspection to know more about yourself.
- Ask for help when you need to.
- Stop requiring yourself to meet the social standards of beauty and success.
- Find a passion or pursue a hobby.
- Develop a good morning routine to start the day off strong.
- Embrace a clean, healthy, and doable diet and make it a lifestyle.
- Exercise regularly to feel good, not just to look good.
- Evaluate your finance, figure out your current net worth and make a savings plan accordingly.
- Declutter your living space and workspace.
- Spend some time on self-care every day.