What happens when we actually start practicing self-love, instead of just talking about it?
Self-love means loving yourself unapologetically, whereas self-care is about taking the time to feel good in your skin. While these two are different, they’re both necessary to a healthy, fulfilled lifestyle.
In a world where we’ve been raised to put others first, self-love can often feel selfish. Setting aside time for self-love causes feelings of guilt, and we struggle to maintain a dedicated self-love practice. It’s frustrating. We know we need self-love, yet we have difficulty giving ourselves permission to experience it. Ironic, isn’t it?
We’re living in an era where the self-love revolution is gaining momentum, yet we have trouble doing the work; it goes against everything we were raised to believe. We were never taught self-love in school, and most of us didn’t learn about self-love in our homes.
So what did we learn?
We learned to put others first. We learned the importance of success. We learned to work hard and make money. But we didn’t learn how to keep ourselves feeling fueled for that journey.
Self-love is our fuel; it’s the foundation for who we are. Everything builds on top of this foundation, and if it isn’t solid, life feels shaky. For those of us who have experienced the power of self-love, we can agree that the effects can often feel quite magical. The moment we start loving ourselves, we experience shifts—positive shifts. Life begins to move forward with more ease and things begin to magically fall into place. Relationships improve. Health improves. And life begins to feel good—really good—ridiculously good.
Loving you first and creating that deep, internal relationship has countless magical benefits. When you begin your love affair with yourself, you will…
Recognize + Prioritize Your Needs
In order to create that loving relationship with yourself, you’ll have to recognize your needs. Without self-love, you are dismissive of your needs; you ignore them, while prioritizing the needs of others such as your partners, friends, family, and coworkers. Self-love is all about identifying your needs and making them a priority in your life. It’s about doing what truly feels right for you.
Gain a True Sense of Self
Say goodbye to codependency.
Self-love pushes you to take care of your own needs. You’ll learn to give to yourself, and in doing so, you will develop into the person you strive to be. You’ll celebrate the beauty and freedom of being true to you, and you’ll gain a solidified sense of who you truly are. Self-love helps you ground into your true self.
Set Loving Boundaries
As your self-love expands, so will your ability to identify what is and isn’t good for you. Simply put, the more you love yourself, the less you’ll tolerate being treated like crap. You’ll gain the clarity you need to understand what you will and will not accept in your life.
You know when everything is finally going great, and then all of a sudden you sabotage that great feeling by doing something destructive? Self-love makes that saboteur behavior go away. As we grow that love within you, it will become easier to accept good things in your life.
Drop the Victim Mentality
Self-love is all about taking ownership; owning up to your actions, and how you choose to show up in this world. The only reason you adopt a victim mentality is because you refuse to see the role you play in your experiences. When you begin to prioritize self-love, you start to view your experiences differently. It’s all about learning lessons, not denying them. Ownership is empowering.
Give Love Without Feeling Depleted
Flight attendants always tell you to put your masks on before helping others with theirs. Why? Because you can’t help others if you can’t breathe. Self-love works the same way. You cannot give love to others if you don’t have that love within. You may feel as though you have the ability to love, but what’s really happening is you’re giving love from an empty space, further draining your energy and emptying your tank. This leads to that sense of depletion, emptiness, and exhaustion after you feel yourself giving, giving, and giving to someone. However, when you remember to put your mask on first and stock up on self-love, you’ll be giving love from a full tank. This type of giving feels energizing and good.
Find Your Own Happy
Stop seeking happiness outside of you. You won’t find it. You may find temporary happy moments, but you won’t find long-lasting happiness. Self-love helps you get your groove back. It’s simple, really. The more love you show yourself, the better you feel. And the better you feel, the happier you become. You are in charge of your happiness, and self-love is the key to finding it.
Self-love is not selfish. Self-love is about connecting to your innermost needs, celebrating the freedom of being you, and honoring who you truly are while dropping your destructive patterns. Loving yourself is magical—it’s a divine relationship that will help you radically improve every single aspect of your life. So go on, drop the guilt, and embrace having a deep, loving relationship with YOU.
Olatunji is President, Tabitha New Life Foundation