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Self-Care and Self-Love

Updated: May 13, 2023

"Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world."

- Lucille Ball

Red Heart and white hearts on the background
Red Heart

Self-love is a concept that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and for good reason. It's a vital component of our overall well-being and happiness. However, what exactly does self-love mean?

What is Self?

Self-love is a vital aspect of our overall well-being, and it begins with understanding what the "self" in self-love really means. It's crucial to recognise that the self is not merely our personality or our thoughts, emotions, or behavioural patterns. These aspects of ourselves are merely surface-level expressions that come and go, change and evolve over time.

Instead, the self is the core essence of who we are - the observer, the consciousness behind the scenes. It is the unchanging, infinite, and eternal part of us that exists beyond the confines of time and space. This essential aspect of ourselves is often referred to as our true nature, higher self, or soul. It's the part of us that remains constant throughout our lives, even as our personalities and circumstances change.

Our physical body, thoughts, emotions, and daily experiences are all constantly changing and evolving. For example, our bodies age, our thoughts and emotions fluctuate, and our daily experiences are always shifting. However, our essence or consciousness is something that remains constant throughout our lives. It's the part of us that is aware of our thoughts and emotions, the part that observes our daily experiences. It's that sense of self that we feel deep down inside, the part of us that we recognise as "me."

This essence or consciousness is the core of who we are as human beings. It's what connects us to something greater than ourselves, whether we call it God, a Higher Power, the Universe, or simply a sense of interconnectedness with all living things.

What is Self-Love?

The concept of self-love is often misunderstood because we tend to view love as an action that is directed towards someone or something outside of ourselves. We may associate love with doing things for others, expressing affection towards others, or feeling a sense of admiration or attraction towards someone else. However, when it comes to self-love, we need to shift our perspective.

Self-love is not an action that we need to perform towards ourselves. Rather, it is a recognition of the love that already exists within us. We are love, and our true essence is rooted in love. This means that we don't need to earn our own love or prove ourselves worthy of it. It's already there, waiting for us to recognise and embrace it.

When we cultivate self-love, we're not adding anything new to ourselves. Rather, we're simply tapping into the love that has always been there. We're allowing ourselves to feel and experience the love that is at the core of our being. And by doing so, we're able to let go of the need to seek validation or approval from others. We're able to find a sense of peace and contentment within ourselves, knowing that we are already complete and whole just as we are.

What is Self-Care?

Self-love is often mistaken for self-care. When we practice self-care, we're nurturing and nourishing ourselves on all levels - physical, emotional, and mental.

Taking care of our physical bodies is a key component of self-care. This means making choices that support our health and well-being, such as eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular exercise. It also means paying attention to our body's signals and responding to them in a compassionate way - for example, if we're feeling tired, we may need to rest or take a break.

Self-care also involves taking care of our emotional and mental health. Cultivating practices that help to manage stress and promote relaxation, such as meditation, yoga. Prioritising activities that bring joy and fulfilment, like spending quality time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, or engaging in creative activities.

When we neglect our needs, we may become depleted, exhausted, and even resentful. We may start to feel like we're running on empty, with nothing left to give to others. We can easily become disconnected from the world around us and slip into a mentality of "me vs. world," where we view ourselves as separate from the rest of the world.

The truth is that we are all interconnected. We are not separate entities of the world - we are an intrinsic part of it.

When we're healthy, happy, and fulfilled, we're able to show up with more energy, more compassion, and more enthusiasm.

If we do not have a sense of love, compassion, and acceptance within ourselves, it becomes challenging to extend those qualities to others. We may find ourselves experiencing feelings of resentment, anger, or frustration when interacting with others, which can lead to strained relationships, while a deep sense of self-love and compassion naturally radiates those qualities. We are more likely to show kindness, empathy, and understanding towards those around us, even in challenging situations. The quality of our relationships with others is a reflection of the quality of the relationship we have with ourselves. If we want to cultivate positive and fulfilling relationships, it's essential to prioritise our own well-being and practice self-love and self-care.

While self-care is an important aspect of self-love, it is only one piece of the puzzle. Self-love involves a more profound and internalised acceptance of ourselves, beyond our physical or emotional needs. It is about recognising our true nature.


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