I was sitting this morning with my mother and my sister, having tea in my new living room. I shared a poem by Rumi in which he talks about Self-love. My mother was repulsed. She fervently voiced a familiar belief, with which I myself had wrestled for years, and which I have finally managed to release.
For mom Self-love means being selfish, arrogant and full of oneself. It is totally unacceptable, certainly not desirable, and something that is severely scorned by society, where I come from.
My sister and I tried to explain how we understood Self-love now, but our attempts didn’t seem to impact mom’s belief about it.
In my view, Self-love is the basis for Love, the foundation of all relationships. The more love you have for yourself, the more you can love another, the freer you feel, and the more delicious your life becomes.
However, I imagine that my mother’s view might be far more popular and may hold true for many people, so I’ll offer a short synopsis of what self-love means to me:
Self-love is to take good care of yourself. Eating healthy is self-love. Taking adequate rest and sleeping enough hours is certainly self-love. Exercising in order to maintain a healthy, flexible and strong body, is self-love.
For many people Self-love stops here.
But Loving yourself is also:
To value and accept yourself fully, while you still aim to become the best version of yourself.
To stop judging yourself, even when you don’t reach your high standards.
To NOT beat yourself up when you make a mistake. Or two.
To give yourself a break.
To acknowledge yourself when you do something well, praise yourself for completing something significant, or overcoming yet another challenge.
To release negative emotions, in a healthy way. (Who wants to carry all the negativity around anyway!)
To show compassion for yourself.
To take care of your inner life.
Self-love means being gentle and kind to yourself. It means to acknowledge your virtues and admirable qualities, while also “own” the traits in you that need to evolve.
Self-love means treating yourself with reverence, at all times.
Self-love means to pay attention to your needs and desires. Then find a way to attend to them. While also honoring those of others.
Self-love means comforting yourself when you feel down.
It also means not taking it personally when someone seemingly attacks you.
Self-love means to be on your side—always!!!
To be loved means to be fully known. So to love yourself means to know your Self.
Self-love is to honor all your feelings, by feeling them fully.
Self-love means to believe in yourself and pursue your dreams.
It means not to limit yourself.
Self-love means knowing your value and feeling good in your own skin.
Self-love means asking for help when you need it, saying NO when necessary, and saying YES to yourself.
Self-love means to honor what’s important to you while staying in integrity.
Self-love means to nourish the loving in you.
Self-love is to listen to yourself just as you listen to those who are important to you.
Self-love is to allow yourself to have pleasure and fun.
Self-love is to forgive yourself.
Self-love is to stop scaring yourself and stop dwelling in fear.
Self-love is to support yourself in all you are doing.
Self-love means to allow yourself full authentic expression.
Self-love means to know that you matter. And to live that way.
When we learn to love ourselves, we allow room for others to love us.