This Is What Self-Love Really Means, Because It’s So Much More Than Putting Yourself First

girl by the beach
John Canelis

Self-love is not about vanity or narcissistic egotism or unwarranted pride.

It is not about feeling good about yourself by feeling better than other people. It’s not about buying stylish clothing labels from the mall or treating yourself to an expensive dinner. It’s not about flaunting your life on Instagram and measuring your worth by the number of likes and followers. It’s not about being entitled and taking your privileges and blessings for granted. It’s not about valuing your time as a precious commodity, and refusing to be there for a loved one in need. It is not about being so obsessed with your own problems, that you forget what it really means to be a kind, good-hearted, and empathetic human being.

No, self-love is none of these things.

Too many people mistake self-love for selfishness and putting themselves above anything else. They mistake it for being self-absorbed and letting the needs of a consumerist society take over what’s really important in life.

Real self-love is much, much deeper and profound than surface-level stuff. It is about developing a core set of values, an unshakeable foundation, a deep, deep intimacy that can come only from knowing yourself.

It is about knowing that you are a lovable, valuable, and worthy person no matter who you are, as long as you are a good person.

It is about not defining yourself by the yardsticks of someone else’s ideal. You don’t have to cut your hair short or grow it long, or become a size zero or build some muscles and man up, or paint on your eyebrows if you don’t want to. You don’t have to study a subject if you can’t stand it or work a job you hate. If you really love yourself, you don’t have to become someone you’re not just so that you can be accepted, liked, and loved.

Self-love is about not letting your past define you, and about never giving up on yourself.

It doesn’t matter if you come from a dysfunctional home or had a privileged childhood, it doesn’t matter where you came from. It is about personal growth and self-improvement, and infusing your tired bones with hope as you work towards becoming your best possible version. It is about not letting negative, destructive, and toxic people take up space in your life. It is about rewiring your mind to see light instead of darkness, to have faith instead of despair, to be grateful for everything instead of endlessly complain

It is about eating healthy, thinking healthy, and feeling healthy.

Self-love is about being the master of your emotions by retraining the part of your brain that limits you and lies to you. It is about drowning out the fearful voices that give in to your irrational anxieties. It is about feeding yourself a regular diet of self-acceptance and unconditional love so that you can rise towards fulfilling your potential and get in touch with who you really are.

Self-love starts slow.

You begin by falling in love with your broken pieces rather than rejecting them or hiding them. You begin by appreciating the beauty in the fragmented chaos, by finding meaning in the scars, by learning and growing from every fall, by carefully picking yourself up time and again and living, living, living through it all. When you believe in yourself and shine bright, you become a beacon of hope for not just yourself but others around you as well. You become a lighthouse of determined peace and joy as you openly embrace both desirable and undesirable circumstances, and succeed not just despite them but because of them.

With the right kind of self-love, you slowly but surely become your own person and become indestructible. TC mark

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