Updated: Dec 30, 2022
Hello beautiful humans!
Ahhh! Love! It makes the world go round, conquers all, is blind and it's all you need, right? Yeah, well... First, let's forget about the clichés. Although they are cute and inspirational, love isn't really ALL you need and the last time I checked, there was a little more to the science of our rotating globe than a sprinkle of love. As with any of our topics, we first need to know what Love is.
Love has been written about since the invention of writing by the Sumerians... literally. (Sumerian Love Poem cited below) Depending on which site you pull up online, there are a number of different types of love. Eros, for instance, is romantic love. Agape is an unconditional love and Mania is an obsessive love to name a few. Of all the different types of love, there is one that stands out as unique, Philautia, the love of one's self or self-love. Every other kind of love is for another person or thing. Philautia is the only love that is defined as loving yourself.
*Side Note - The term 'narcissist' came from the story of Narcissus in Greek Mythology who fell in with his own reflection in a pool of water. Narcissism and Philautia are not the same kind of self-love although many definitions online suggest otherwise.
So specifically, what is self-love. Self-love is owning and acknowledging your own well-being and happiness. It's caring for your own needs and how you show up for yourself. In essence, you are the only one who can define your own self-love. What does it mean to you?
Self-care is one of the top suggested ways of providing for your own self-love, but there's a lot more than just having a few moments of meditation, a bubble bath or nice massage. I believe that one of the leading detriments to our self-love is not being kind to ourselves. Most of us just plain aren't! We criticize ourselves, tell ourselves we should've done better, we curse at ourselves and beat ourselves up for breaking our diets or forgetting some menial task. We have a terrible habit of telling ourselves that we're worthless, that our opinions don't matter or that we are never enough. We're horrible to ourselves!
There are a ton of suggestions out there on how to specifically increase your self-love through self-care. Life Hack has a great article written by Jade Nyx (cited below) about different ways to practice self-love.
To truly give ourselves that love that we need and deserve, we need to provide for all of the areas of our lives that are affected by our lack of self love. Before we look at each of these, we need a strategy to set us up for success. A set rules or guidelines that we can follow to re-enforce the goals we want to work towards and the changes we plan to make.
Only use positive words with yourself
The opinions of others are not your opinions
Own it, but don't make it worse than it is
Encourage and support yourself the way you would your best friend
Don't make excuses, take actions
Get to know yourself and know your core values
Set boundaries for yourself
Live with your own purpose in everything you do
When it doesn't work, go back to #1 and start again until it does
This specific strategy isn't for everyone. Maybe you are self aware, but you need to learn to start saying "No" when situations put your happiness at risk. Maybe you are aware of the 'Who' in who you are, but you need to put away the fears that cause you to procrastinate. Maybe your strategy only has 5 target areas, maybe it has 20. Give yourself the time and honesty to make this happen for yourself. You
Your strategy is not set in stone! If you continue to talk positively to and about yourself, you won't have to keep it on your strategy list any more. You can replace it or delete it all together. Remember, you're not looking for perfection. You are just looking to do and be better than you were yesterday.
Loving yourself is such a vital part of leading a happy life. Not only is it healthy for your body, mind, emotions and spirit, but it sets an automatic standard of how you allow others to treat you. It helps you to be able to give and receive that love from other people and gives you the strength and courage to make the changes you want to make in your life.
Don't give up! Find a strategy that works for you and that will allow you to get up everyday and look in the mirror and say, "I love you" with a smile on your face knowing that you truly mean it.
Create a strategy list of all the things that you feel are negatively impacting your abilities to love yourself.
Morals of the Story:
Philautia is self-love or the love of one's self. The owning and acknowledgement of your own well-being and happiness.
Define what self-love means to you.
Self-care is important, but not enough.
A strategy list can help you stay centered and focused on creating and increasing your self-love.
Strategy lists can and should be adjusted often.
Sumerian Love Poem ~ https://allmesopotamia.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/the-first-love-poem-is-sumerian/
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation ~ https://www.bbrfoundation.org/blog/self-love-and-what-it-means
Jade Nyx, 41 Ways to Practice Self-Love and Be Good to Yourself ~ https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/30-ways-practice-self-love-and-good-yourself.html