Is Self-Love Selfish?
In our society, we are constantly exposed to two contradictory messages:
1. We need to love ourselves
2. Loving ourselves is selfish, self-centered, and wrong
So, which one is it?
What is Self-Love?
The basis of self-love is to accept ourselves as we are now, in light of our flaws, shortcomings, and bad habits. It also means to respect ourselves in the choices that we make, to believe in our abilities to improve and achieve new feats, and to be confident in the person that we are, not the person we want others to think we are. Self-love isn’t selfish. If it comes off that way, chances are it isn’t actually self-love.
What is the Benefit of Self-Love?
Practicing self-love comes with a host of benefits, with two major benefits being:
1. Improved wellbeing and overall confidence levels
You know who you are and you’re cool with it. You don’t need people to compliment you to feel valuable, because your sense of worth comes from within. So no matter who you may run into or what obstacles you face, you are firm in your sense of worthiness.
2. Increased acceptance of others
Another cool part about accepting yourself for who you are is that you can accept others for who they are. There’s no need to belittle, put down, or criticize others to “prove” how you compare. Rather, you acknowledge the uniqueness of that each one of us holds and embrace our differences.
How Do I Practice Self-Love?
The key here is practice. Self-love is not something we do once and have forever. It’s like any other relationship, it requires constant effort and upkeep in order to be maintained.
Here are some tips for practicing self-love:
Practicing mindfulness is a great first step on the road toward improving your self-love. Mindfulness is based in awareness, acceptance, and non-judgement. When practicing mindfulness, you just sit and observe your thoughts, your body, your environment, or an object of interest. To read more about mindfulness, check out this blog.
Surround yourself around positive people and relationships
Negative people can bring you down, and you deserve a lot more than that. Rather than spending your time with people who are critical, negative, and draining, surround yourself around people who are uplifting and supportive.
Take care of yourself
Self-care makes a huge difference in how we feel. Taking time to regularly implement self-care practices into our schedule can put us on the path toward feeling more comfortable and confident.
Highlight your strengths
We are all hyper-aware of our weaknesses, we can easily rattle off countless things that we struggle with. But how many of us can identify our strengths with such ease? Work on identifying what your strengths are. Maybe start by making a list of your strengths and keep it on hand for when you’re not feeling so great.
Ditch the comparison trap
We live in a world of constant comparison. Don’t believe me? Log onto social media. Right away, we’re infiltrated with pictures of people in places nicer than we’re we are, doing things that are more fun that what we’re doing, in jobs better than ours, with a family that looks more functional than ours, the list goes on. And how often do we find ourselves making those comparisons? If we’re being honest, probably pretty frequently. Getting stuck in that comparison trap isn’t healthy, it can really damage how we feel about ourselves.
Despite the contradictions that society throws at us, work on practicing your self-love, knowing that it not only helps you, but it helps how you interact with and accept others. Self-love is practical, beneficial, and necessary for our wellbeing and happiness.