Everyone says you must have it and practice it daily, but no one ever explains what it is. Self-love is a concept that everyone is reaching for it, but without understanding what it is, their efforts are no different than grasping onto air. For others, it’s a concept that is often misunderstood and confusing. But it is not meant to be something out of reach, nor is it intended to be confusing. Self-Love is simple. Not easy – but simple.
Accepting yourself and all you do in every moment is self-love. It is showing yourself compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and giving yourself grace in all things. It is giving yourself the same love and support you would give to another. Self-love is giving yourself the respect you deserve by setting boundaries. Self-love is making your happiness a priority. Self-love is loving yourself (fearlessly)!
Self-love and self-care are often used interchangeably and that is where some of the confusion originates. They are not the same. Self-care is taking a walk, relaxing in a bubble bath, getting a pedicure, taking a nap on a rainy afternoon, or indulging in a caramel macchiato with extra caramel drizzle. All of that is perfect (and highly recommended) but practicing self-care rituals will not lead you to loving yourself. Trust me, I’ve tried! And thousands and thousands of dollars later, I realized nothing outside of myself could or would lead me to loving myself. I needed to work on the inside. The outside, physical “stuff” is only a bonus that comes in due time. I had to invest in getting the inside right. I was my own most critic in all things and that needed to change.
It has taken an incredible amount of strength, dedication, and time for me to get to a point where I can say with confidence that I have self-love. But it’s been a process! A process full of ups and downs and many curves and detours, but a process that I am incredibly grateful for. Through learning to love myself, I have been led to the most beautiful people and experiences. And I brought all of it to me – what a wonderful perspective to have. I worked hard to create the life I am living. My priority is now about protecting my peace. I’ve set boundaries. I don’t worry what others think or say. I see myself as enough. I practice forgiveness when I make a mistake and vow to do better next time. And I give grace when I need it.
Self-love does not happen overnight. It is a process that is unique and individual to everyone. It’s a process that takes time and patience and will not follow a linear path. There will be ups and downs along the way. But finding the strength to forgive yourself in those moments, is self-love. You’re learning to love yourself and nothing about that easy. You’ll know you’re starting to make progress when you show yourself compassion more moments than you don’t, you no longer regret decisions, you judge less and forgive more, and you are more at ease with yourself and the life you’re creating.
Practicing self-love is not always well-received by others. Some may even view it as selfish. It is not selfish. Let me repeat that – self-love is not selfish! Putting your needs ahead of others is not a bad thing. There is a reason we are told to put our oxygen mask on first. You are no good to anyone else if you aren’t good to yourself first. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love another. And if you don’t love yourself, you can’t expect another to love you.
Having your own well-being at the center of your mindset is the ultimate form of self-love. Wake up and love yourself every damn day regardless of what your mind tries to sell you, or the world throws your way. Because at the end of it all (and at the beginning of it all), it is/was only you that matters.
Please indulge and treat yourself to a self-care ritual of your choice but know that you still must love yourself. Getting a bright, pink pedicure will not magically bring you self-love. That comes from accepting yourself as you are (with/without a fresh pedi).
For Fuck Sake – Love yourself (and the rest will fall into place)!