Seeking refuge and finding external love to be soothing is an experience that is shared by almost every living organism.
If you are a pet lover or know someone who has more than one pet animal, ask them how animals also feel the need for their owner’s or some other animal’s company.
But while the need to love and being loved is common in all creatures, humans do have the capability to self-love themselves.
Unfortunately, not all human beings are well-equipped with knowing what exactly self-love is, its importance to you and how you can start practicing it.
In this article, we strive to teach you everything that we possibly can and help you become self-sufficient as far as loving and being loved is concerned.
What is self-love?
Self-love in its simplest definitions means to start loving yourself. Loving the inside and outside of you whether it is physically, emotionally or mentally.
Basically, love on a personal level can be divided into two types.
The first type of personal love is what you have always been wanting from others or which other people have been wanting from you.
The second type or self-love is something that many people for most part of their life do not even realize that it exists.
Their reliance on having someone to love or being loved by someone can at times be very intense.
In fact it can be so intense that even a slight difference in what they expect and what they get from a loving relationship can put many things at risk.
Why do most people not know how to self-love or why do they hesitate in practicing it?
Not knowing how to self-love or having the knowledge about it but not practicing it can be due to two main reasons.
We explain these two reasons separately as two cases.
This first case deals with not knowing what self-love is and how to do it.
The most important reason for not knowing self-love and how to do it is because you have never been taught to self-love yourself.
If you are a parent reading this article, remember that teaching your children how to self-love adds to their level of independence.
While many parents focus on making their children independent and self-sufficient in every manner from an early stage, teaching self-love is something that they themselves rarely know about.
In fact most societies and cultures around the world teach children on how to rely on their parents and siblings for true love while growing up.
This is followed by the quest of finding loyal and trustworthy friends.
Often the words that come to one’s mind as the most perfect definition of a friend is that, ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’.
This ultimately leads towards the search for finding that perfect someone or soulmate with whom you can spend the rest of your life with.
This second case is based on a confusion that many people have.
This common confusion is about not knowing the difference between self-love and self-importance.
Again in most societies and cultures around the world, self-love often means practicing self-importance.
People often discourage this attitude as it promotes selfish behavior in individuals.
While self-importance does mean being selfish to much extent, self-love is a different thing.
Self-love means loving yourself just the way you want others to love you or caring for yourself the way you care for other people.
On the other hand, being selfish or self-important actually means putting yourself first even if it means harm to other people and taking risks.
Why is self-love important?
To better understand how self-love plays an important role in being independent and does not in any way mean being selfish, let us now look at ways which define its importance.
1. Self-love helps you heal and learn to recover
There are times when you get hit by emotional setbacks or career failures.
In such painful events, self-love can be a great healer.
Due to knowing self-love, you start to take care of yourself on your own without relying on any external help.
You realize that no person and no relationship is going to stay with you forever and therefore learning to recover on your own is the best remedy.
2. It makes you realize that life is full of pains and hurdles
Self-love also keeps you self-motivated and powers you to keep moving forward no matter how many obstacles and hurdles lie ahead of you.
It also teaches that life is full of pains and that pains and people both are temporary.
No matter how many people you have around you, no one can stop any painful situation from happening and reaching you.
But when you know how to self-love, you are already prepared to face any painful moments in life on your own.
3. Self-love helps you in saying ‘No’ when needed
Often the people that you are relying on too much and for whom you are willing to do anything, take you for granted.
By knowing self-love, you understand the situations where it is more suitable to say ‘No’ instead of showing an affirmative response.
Risking yourself for the sake of others is not always the best thing to do.
4. It changes other people’s attitude towards you
Until the time your behavior indicates that you self-love, people will keep on taking undue advantage of your situation and keep on taking you for granted.
But once you shift your attitude by practicing self-love, others around you will also give you importance as they will be well aware of your probable responses to their unconditional demands.
5. You become independent
As we specifically advised parents earlier in this article on how teaching self-love to their children is a way to make them self-sufficient and independent, let us practically evaluate it here.
No life situation or the relationships you now have, will last forever and there is no denying to this fact.
This can be due to any unforeseen reason.
Relationships ending because of tensions, couples breaking-up, exceptionally high demands, materialistic preferences, close relationships turning into long distance because of seeking education or career choices, a loved one’s death, etc. are just some of the many ways in which people leave each other.
Such cases highlight the importance of self-love. Getting out of an emotional crisis due to losing a loved one can take a long time.
While some relationships have alternatives, few others such as parents, siblings and spouses can never be replaced.
Thus, it is only self-love which can keep you intact and hold you together.
6. You become the master of your own destiny
Many times your actions and decisions are based on seeking the approval and appreciation of other people.
While this is one way of showing how much you respect other people’s decisions and are willing to enforce them in your personal matters, they might not perceive it as such.
People often become more demanding and often see this as your weakness.
Some people for whom you care so much are actual pessimists that can only see the bad and the negative side.
They will never praise you or your actions no matter what.
Thus by practicing self-love, you become the master of your own destiny.
You start taking decisions on your own as now you understand that you are the only person who is accountable for your own actions.
7. Self-love makes you healthier
Self-love also includes caring for your health and always fulfilling your body needs that affects your health.
This includes taking proper meals with all the necessary nutrients at proper time, working out, having time to enjoy and have fun with your friends and family and taking a proper amount of good quality sleep.
8. You become your own support
Life is full of uncertain and unpredictable events. Therefore, there will be times when you will find no one to offer help or support to you in any way and of any sort.
Not being able to self-love in such situations will only worsen your current sufferings.
But when you know how to self-love and understand its importance, in case of any emergency you know that you will be there for yourself way before anyone else lands a supporting hand.
9. Self-love helps to let go off your regrets and worries
Making mistakes and learning from their outcomes is a common thing that happens in every person’s life and helps you grow.
But at the same time, some of these mistakes can turn out to be your worst regrets in life and hence can hold you progressing further whenever you get reminded of them.
Similarly, losing someone or something can also make you worry about a future in which you will no longer be supported or accompanied by that thing or person.
This can again make you lose hope of having a better future or understand that everything that happens to you, actually has a reason behind it.
In other words, nature has its own way of working out things beyond your imagination.
But by learning self-love, you let go off your worst regrets and do not worry about the future.
You see mistakes as a lesson that was necessary for you to learn and in the same manner as it happened.
You also find courage and self-motivation and work on becoming more self-reliant in the future.
10. Self-love also defines your relationships with other people
When you start practicing self-love, you tend to get a better understanding of who you actually are and how much can you survive on your own.
You have a more clear explanation of what to expect from other people and where to stop.
When you are able to define your relationship with other people and the foundation on which it lies, it doesn’t matter even if someone turns out to be below what you actually expected of them.
How to self-love?
We believe that till this point, we might have been able to clear much confusion about self-love that existed in your minds prior to reading this article.
So let us move towards the second important section of this article and see a few ways in which you can actually start practicing self-love.
1. Your focus should be you
Whether it is day or night, storm or thunder, peace or war; who do you see present with you always?
Of course it is you and you only. It begins with you and ends on you as well.
So the first and the most important thing is to start focusing on yourself. Try putting yourself first in every situation that you come across and analyze it with a wider perspective.
2. Start caring for you
As already mentioned, many people are there to take undue advantage of your weaknesses or exploit the importance that you give to them.
So start caring for yourself first.
This does not mean that every person that loves you has some ulterior motives and is waiting for the right time to show their real side.
It simply means that whether somebody takes interest or not in you and your subjects, do not expect others to care for you.
3. Start acting on your own decisions
Whether you act on your own choices and interests or whether you seek and follow other people’s guidance, you will always remain accountable for your own actions.
No other person except you can be blamed for any adverse consequence that arises as a result of your actions but which didn’t was your decision or intention.
Therefore, when ultimately you are to be praised or held accountable for the actions that you commit, then why not act on your own decisions as well.
4. Understand that nothing is perfect
Being perfect is an unrealistic objective that many people pursue and which practically has no evident finish line.
Therefore understand that there is always room for improvement and striving to become perfect is nothing but a waste of time and resources.
The idea of self-love teaches that the way you are and what you currently have may not be perfect but is actually the best in your case.
5. Do not work to satisfy others
You cannot self-love if your actions and incentives are based on to satisfy other people.
We already discussed above how some people have a pessimist nature due to which they aren’t able to see any good in anything.
A piece of advice for adopting self-love is to disconnect from such people as pessimists can easily pollute your mind.
6. Live in the present
Self-love is about understanding the importance of the present that you have.
Live in the present, do not recall past regrets and do not overthink about the future. Take control of things that can be altered at the moment and leave what isn’t within your scope.
7. Be thankful
A great way to increase the blessings in your life is to show gratitude and be thankful for whatever you have.
Blessings do not only mean any materialistic objects or things. Instead, it simply means taking into notice whatever more or less you have.
While it is impossible, if you still do not find anything to be thankful for, start thanking your body and how well you can make use of the senses, hands, mind, mouth, nose, etc.
Self-love is something that you can practice every second of your life. The above points on its importance and ways on how to self-love are just to get you started.
Once you start practicing the guides in this article, you will definitely find yourself attain a whole new level of satisfaction and self-reliance.