Ironically, considering the largely self-centered world we live in, the idea of self-love is a bit uncomfortable, even awkward. We are used to putting our focus on loving other people, like our spouses, our friends, our family members, and our significant others. Trying to think about loving ourselves seems almost counter-intuitive. Ask someone , “Do you love yourself?” and you will likely be met with a sheepish response. Of course we love ourselves, we would probably answer. It is likely that in the back of our mind we would be questioning that statement of fact. Do we really love ourselves? Do we show love to ourselves? How do we know if we love ourselves?
Almost immediately following that, we will feel a slight feeling of guilt or shame. We’re going to think about that time we did that not great thing, ate something we didn’t want to, or our most recent criticism toward ourself. We might think about how we deny ourselves the things we truly want in life and put the needs of others before ourselves. Conclusively we might sigh and realize we don’t love ourselves very much at all; at the very least, not as much as we probably could.
As the saying goes, you must learn to love yourself before you can learn to love anyone else. When we are lacking in self-love we resort to all kinds of odd tactics to replace that love. It never truly comes out right. Like trying to bake chocolate chip cookies with pieces of dirt, we earnestly attempt to create a whole by using all the wrong parts. We’ll act without respect to ourselves, allow ourselves to be walked upon by others, and more. Self-love is not only practical to being more emotionally well rounded in life, but it just feels good. Taking time to practice self-love feels like engaging in the most romantic relationship you might be able to imagine. If that seems a bit silly, it’s because you haven’t experienced it yet. Here are some ways to start practicing self-love today.
Acts of self-love can include everything from buying yourself a treat to spending a day cleaning and organizing your space. You can take time to set up a sensual bath or curl up with your favorite book. One of the greatest parts about self-love is that it is a process of self-discovery. Just like with recovery, you are learning as you go and laughing at the awkward stages in between. Welcome to a new and loving you.