“I don’t think that loving yourself is a choice. I think that it is a decision that has to be made for survival.”Lizzo
No words have ever echoed with my heart like these. Truly, today self-love is necessary for survival and it becomes a prerequisite for us to not only survive but also thrive. But what is self-love? What is the essence of true self-love and how do we manage to love ourselves as unabashedly as we tend to love others?
All of these questions are philosophical in their own right and will provide a dilemma that can be resolved only by conscious effort.
Self-love and its essence
Let us begin with self-love. The textbook definition of self-love would say appreciating oneself just like a friend would. And yes, self-love does mean appreciating oneself but it entails more than that.
It is accepting one’s flaws because if you cannot be at peace with them, then you cannot really expect others to be fine with them. You need to either improve upon them or ignore them. The world will get over it. Trust me!
Self-love is knowing one’s worth. But we often measure this intangible factor in terms of what others think of us. You cannot know your worth by counting the number of friends that call you, by the number of people who are there for you at any time of the day. You need to understand that you cannot determine your worth this way. It is unfair to not only you but also your friends.
You need to love yourself as fiercely as you love your best friend, your partner, or a fictional character for that matter. You will not be able to do it in a day. It will take time. Healing is never linear. Take your time. Further, do not expect anyone to walk through fire for you. Do not expect anyone to fight for you. There will be people who will do it for you, no doubt but you need to do it for yourself. You owe it to yourself.
Also, it means to be accepting of the change. All of us hate change at some level or the other. But we need to welcome the constantly evolving versions of ourselves and love them. Do not however be too critical. Try and step aside and perceive yourself and your actions from the perspective of a stranger. Accept and evolve. And if a version needs some tough loving, don’t hesitate before shelling it out.
How to love the self?
Self-love is a terrifying journey because loving oneself does not come easy. But here is what you can do to hop on the journey of self-love:
Set boundaries and protect yourself
Know that your only priority can be yourself. Learn to not let work, studies, or love overwhelm you or make you neglect your own self. Be mindful and conscious of your worth.
Wants and needs
Understand that there is a fine line between needs and wants. Prioritize. Do not overburden yourself with procuring them. Take your time. Accept and evolve.
Forgive yourself. You deserve the world. Remember this always. You have the right to make mistakes and be flawed. Again, accept and evolve.
Be your own designer
Protect yourself at all costs. Take control of your life; chart your own course. Life will throw near about equal parts of the good and the bad. Trust yourself and in your ability to face everything life throws at you. It is okay if you don’t know how to. You will wing it. It is okay if you have no clue about what you want to do with life. You will wing that too. Some days, it is okay to just make it through. You will move mountains some other day.
Take note of your feelings
Be in touch with your feelings. Journal if you feel like it. But feel what you are feeling so that you can process it and not let it be bigger than yourself.
In a conclusion
The journey of self-love requires you to conform not with the society’s version of you but a version of you that makes you happy.
To sum up, as slippery and elusive the idea of ‘self-love’ is, you need to remember it as being the only way to feel, heal, and evolve.
Finally, I think these words perfectly sum up the essence of self-love:
“It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self love deficit.”Eartha Kitt