What Is Self-Love?

You may be thinking that loving yourself is only something that cocky and arrogant people do,

Or you may be thinking that no one loves themselves,

Or if you’re a professional ‘self-loather’ then not loving yourself is something you can use to beat yourself up with as well,

‘I can’t even love myself!’

Wherever you sit in regard to your own definition of self-love I thought I would be your knight in shining armour and hit you right in the feels by letting you in to my world of self-love,

You’re welcome 😉.

First of all, I just want to go into what self-love isn’t…

Self-love is NOT:

Cocky or arrogant, in fact if someone is genuinely cocky and arrogant that is proof that they don’t love themselves because real love is not something that requires proof, it is something you just know and feel.

Conditional. If you find you can say I love myself only when things are going well but not when they aren’t then this is conditional love and NOT real love.

A destination. Self-love is a daily practice and just like any relationship requires effort. A question I get my clients to ask themselves is ‘what would I do if I loved myself?’ this will give you a new perspective and help you navigate your day-to-day life.

Egoic. Self-love wants others to experience peace and joy and does not need to trample on others for it to exist. Self-love does not mean you love yourself more than others.

Needy. Self-love does not need validation from others to feel worthy.

Jealous. Self-love doesn’t get jealous of others because it knows that whatever you desire is yours and you are more than worthy of receiving your desires.

Lack. Self-love does not worry about there not being enough of something (enough good partners, money, clients etc).

Now of course these are the ideals and as I mentioned, self-love is a journey, NOT a destination. You also can’t beat yourself up for not being ‘there’ yet as ‘there’ is always a journey that goes deeper and deeper into who you are.

But be careful, because you can create what Mark Manson calls the feedback loop from hell, you beat yourself up, for beating yourself up and then beat yourself up, because you shouldn’t be beating yourself up, and on and on the loop goes.

The more aware you become of the parts of yourself that have been hidden, the more opportunities you will find to get to know and love those new parts of yourself.

I now consider it a game,

A game of hide and seek…

Those parts of ourselves we’ve hidden from ourselves need to be found for the game to be over, but some are harder to find than others, some require us to go to new places and open different doors.

Remember though,

You are not playing hide and seek with an axe murderer,

You are playing hide and seek with a loving big brother or sister.

Self-love really is about going into those dark places and shining a light on the parts of our being that we have demonised and identified as unlovable.

Self-love is about compassionately inviting those parts of ourselves out of the dark corners and into the light.

Those parts of me that I find harder to love I call ‘little Dan’

Little Dan gets anxious and sometimes believes he is unworthy and at times causes others to feel the pain that he is in but over the last couple of years I have learnt to understand that he has been trying to save me from hurt.

Unfortunately, because he is only a young boy, he doesn’t understand that he doesn’t need to react in unhealthy ways at times and I’m trying to put my arm round him when he feels scared and under threat.

Little Dan is just a scared little child looking out for me and I have made a commitment to treat him as such instead of punishing him.

I am his nurturing loving parent that loves him regardless of how he acts.

So, by now I hope I’ve managed to shine a light on your ‘little *insert name (mind out of the gutter, clearly little Dan is feeling something to be blaming you for where your mind goes 😉 haha!) so you can recognise just how he/she reacts and begin understanding why.

In this next part my intention is to help you relate to how self-love and lack of self-love is playing out in your life and why practising self-love is absolutely vital to live a life that lights us up and fulfils us.

Relationships:

Lack of – Lack of self-love will have you believe that YOU are lucky to have these people in your life instead of being equally beneficial. You will also find yourself putting everyone else’s needs above your own because you believe your worth is in what you do for others instead of who you are. You may find yourself accepting shitty behaviour from people and allowing them to disrespect and take advantage of you as long as you are being fed crumbs of ‘love’. Instead of being alone you will invite people back into your life that hurt you without them having to acknowledge how their actions/behaviours affected you because being alone is worse than being around people that are unsafe.

Practising self-love – having boundaries that invite people to love you how you want to be loved and treated because you don’t NEED people in your life to fill a void as you are already whole.

Career/purpose:

Lack of – Lack of self-love will have you believe that there is not enough, you will be living in a scarcity belief system that will cloud your reality with doom and fear. ‘I do not have enough money and in order for me to have more I need to work more (do more overtime). You will believe that the job you have is not that bad even though you don’t feel respected you still hold on to a story that you’ve ingrained in you about this job paying the bills, this job isn’t bad hours, this job isn’t hard work or stressful and really what you’re doing is avoiding the fact that actually your job makes you miserable and makes you feel purposeless.

Practising self-love – if you feel unappreciated in a job, your self love practice will have you ask yourself ‘why am I allowing myself to be treated less than how I want to be treated?’

You will not settle in a job just because it pays the bills because you know there are multiple ways you can earn enough money to pay the bills.

You will think about what it is you really want to do with your life and career and explore your options.

You will know that your worth is not attached to your job or financial status and as a result this will liberate you so that you can really go after what lights you up, this is how you ‘find your purpose’.

Health:

Lack of – Lack of self-love in this area will cause you to pass up responsibility and make your health someone else’s problem. You will believe that you can’t change and embody self-sabotaging stories like ‘eating healthy is too expensive’ or ‘I just don’t have the motivation or time to go to the gym’ or ‘my parents were overweight so that’s why I’m overweight’. You will tell yourself you have mental health struggles and begin to identify with a disempowering label. You will live in blame of your parents because it’s their fault that you are emotionally ‘unhealthy’. You will refuse professional help and instead turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as binge drinking, overeating and illegal substance abuse.

Practising self-love – You will see your health as your responsibility and it will come from a place of ‘I am worthy of being healthy’ you will see your health as something that is always in your power to improve, whether that be committing to an exercise schedule each week, going to therapy or hiring a life coach. You will not outsource your health and you will make ‘being healthy’ part of your identity.

As you can see if we are not continually practising self-love daily then EVERY area of our life becomes compromised.

The biggest takeaway I want you to leave with today is,

Self-love is a practise; it is NOT something you just gain or a place you arrive at and then the journey is over.

We always have new ways we can love ourselves and the deeper we go inside ourselves, the more parts we uncover that give us an opportunity to love.

Humans really are like onions; you peel a part back and then get to heal and love that part you were unaware of before.

Then you get to peel back another layer and heal and love that part of yourself,

The thing that excites me is the fact that I will NEVER know who I am because there are always new parts of myself, I’m discovering and these new parts of who I am get to be understood and loved.

From one day to the next I am becoming more and more ME,

And I am on a journey of chipping away everything that ISN’T ME so I can show up in my life as the person that I always was before I built up the walls of defence.

Self-love is ALWAYS the antidote.

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