Loving yourself is not something that is widely talked about or encouraged by our society. It’s neither something our schools teach or our religions preach.
It’s often looked down upon with a negative connotation and can be misinterpreted as being selfish or conceited.
Sure, now and again you might hear the term thrown around in pop culture whether it’s on social media or through a Justin Bieber song. But seriously, what is self- love, and why is it important in our lives?
Relationships form an essential part of our lives. It brings us love, joy and meaning to our lives. We spend a lot of time as well as effort cultivating these relationships, whether it is with our parents, siblings, friends, children etc. However, we often neglect perhaps the most important relationship of all, the one with our self. Because whether you choose to like it or not, from the first breath to the last, the only person you are going to be with your entire life is you. And the relationship we have with our self has a definitive impact on how we approach all our other relationships.
The impact of self-love in relationships
A lack of self-love often leads to a constant search for love and acceptance outside of us, especially in the case with romantic relationships. This can make us clingy or excessively attached to our partner, which dooms most relationships from the start.
Dependence on our relationships with others to experience love can make it difficult to remove ourselves from them even when it becomes destructive or toxic.
On the other hand, with self-love and self-acceptance, the whole dynamics of our relationship with others change. It becomes easier to remove ourselves from destructive relationships because we are not dependent on our partner to experience love.
We also drop the need to engage in behaviours to get others to like us and become much less concerned with seeking validation and acceptance from others. And this is essential to living a life true to our self, as we often place too much value on other’s opinions and suggestions over our own.
What does it mean to truly love yourself?
Loving yourself doesn’t mean to merely love yourself on a surface level, which is something most people don’t have a problem with.
What the large majority have trouble with is loving themselves deeply and unconditionally. This means to love and accept all aspects of ourself, especially what we may consider as bad or flawed. For we cannot heal it by hating, resisting or ignoring it, but only by acknowledging it and taking action from a space of love and compassion for ourself.
We often approach self-love backwards, hoping others can love and accept ourselves fully so that we can go ahead and love and accept ourselves.
All of us like to be validated, accepted and loved. But being dependent on others for it is enslaving our self. How liberating it is instead, to go ahead and give ourselves love and acceptance, without seeking permission from others to do so.
Self-love also means not basing the love you have for yourself dependent on external factors such as your appearance, what other people think of you, or dependent on some achievement or until someone else loves and accepts you.
One of the reasons we love about being in relationships is the feelings of deep love we experience while loving our partner.
However, these feelings of love can just as well be felt within by loving ourselves deeply.
Now that may sound strange, but the reality is that all emotions are always and only experienced within us and never outside of us. The idea that we can experience love only through others is a dangerous misconception which far too many people accept as truth. (It neither helps that our movies and stories tend to propagate this myth.)
This simply isn’t the experience for most because love is always directed outwards to other people and never to themselves.
At the end of the day, self- love is not some new-age fad, but rather it’s incredibly empowering and can transform the way we live our lives.
It doesn't happen overnight, and that’s okay. It can be considered more like a journey. One where our fears start becoming less significant as the love we have for ourselves starts to grow.
Here's the 2nd part to this article : https://www.thesouljam.com/post/10-practical-ways-towards-unconditional-self-love
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