What it isn’t
So, let’s first talk about what it isn’t before we talk about what (I believe) it is. People often get self-love with self-care confused. While self-care can be inspired by self-love and vice versa, the two are not one and the same and it’s possible to excel at one while needing to grow in the other.
Self-care is taking action to maintain or improve your wellness (any of the many dimensions of wellness).
Self love is a little more complicated. It isn’t necessarily tied to an action and is largely a state of being. Lets discuss.
What it is
What I’ve come to believe self-love can is defined as can best be explained in two words; acceptance and understanding.
To break that down, I’m going to ask you to start by thinking of the person you love the most in this world.
Are they perfect? Most of you would respond with a resounding absolutely not. Several flaws probably come to mind. But do you still love them? When you think of them, do you still have mostly positive feelings most of the time? Do you accept those flaws and encourage growth while accepting them for where they are? These answers are most likely a big yes.
Furthermore, you probably know this person very well. You know what they like, what they don’t like, how they think (mostly), what they value, and what pains them. You support them in their pain and celebrate in their wins.
Now, for the point of that exercise: Do you do this for yourself? Do you know yourself inside and out? Do you celebrate your wins? Do you accept yourself?
These are complex questions, and the answers are probably not as black and white as yes or no. I would encourage you to think deeply and even journal about what comes up, because this is where self-love starts.
That person you thought of-the one you love more than anything else in the world-you likely fully accept and thoroughly understand them. That I think, is what love is. So it makes sense to apply the same logic to self-love, does it not?
If we can fully accept and understand ourselves, then we are well on our way to truly loving ourselves.
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