Most of us know what it is but do not understand what it is. You eat because you understand that you need nourishment. It is very sad that most of us are trying to conquer external battles like finding love, finding success, finding happiness and yet we do not understand that self-love is the root from which everything grows. It is because of the lack of self-love that we have many social conflicts in the world. How can we love the next person effectively before we have learned to love ourselves unconditionally? When you love yourself conditionally, you cannot love another unconditionally because why give someone else something you do not have? Our understanding of self-love is learned during childhood from those that cared for us. In most cases, it is taught unconsciously, we just got a glimpse from watching those that nurtured us.
Self-Love is more than just wearing nice attire and applying bouts of expensive makeup and then claiming that you love yourself. Self-love is an umbrella term for different acts of love we perform towards ourselves physically and non-physically. There are many well-groomed people that I know who have no clue what it means to love themselves. To love yourself is not an act of selfishness, it is in actual an act of kindness towards others because when you love yourself we do not have to deal with your unresolved problems!
Self-love comprises four aspects, self-awareness, self-worth, self-esteem and self-care. If one of those is missing, then you do not entirely have self-love. To have it, we should be aligned with these four aspects. The journey of achieving self-love does not differ from confronting your demons. It is the reason most of us lack it because no one wants to sit down and have a conversation with themselves. Self-Love is hard to achieve because it means having to do away with certain things and people we are addicted to. Most of these things, habits, and people we are addicted to defy the state of self-love but because we are addicted to them, we compromise hence we love ourselves conditionally in exchange for the momentary rush we get from these distractive things.
It is mostly made up of our thoughts, how they affect our emotions and how emotions cause us to act. Are you aware of the thoughts that make you feel angry and make you act impulsively? Where are they coming from, and why are they there? Why do they cause you to act how you do? The same applies to what makes you happy. Why does it make you happy? Self-awareness is being aware of your thought processes. It is stepping out of yourself to examine yourself. Self-awareness is the key to emotional intelligence. This means, what makes you mad might not stop making you mad, but you will know how to respond effectively or how to not respond at all. People with high emotional intelligence have emotions just like we do. But they step out of their emotions to process them effectively. This also includes moving away or avoiding situations that you know will trigger certain undesirable feelings and reactions within you. If you cannot move away or avoid the situation, self-awareness enables you to redirect the energy you are putting in those emotions. One way to improve your self-awareness is to keep a journal and record your thoughts, emotions, and actions.
Because of the continuous negative programing that we face in society, we focus on the bad and unpleasant things and we project this negativity on to ourselves so often without even realizing it. You are born with an endless sea of potential; You have it now and you will have it till the day you die. Just like we cannot create nor destroy energy, we can only explore or hide potential. Self-worth is the beliefs we have about ourselves, and often we struggle to believe in ourselves. This is because of the past unfortunate circumstances we have been through that we have not fully shaken off. Self-worth lies in all the good things about you. Everyone has something good about them. If you struggle to find your self-worth, find a day that you go on about your day picking out the things you have done right or the things that other people have appreciated about you. You may be a pushover because you don’t know your worth. There is never a day that you are not worthy. You are always worthy. Self-worth is not determined by anything. You don’t have to do anything to be worth it. You just are! Know that and understand that. Your strengths, talents and kind acts towards other people are just an expression of your self-worth.
Self-esteem results from self-worth. A high sense of self-worth results in high self-esteem. Self-esteem is more tied to our qualities and achievements, self-worth is the realization that we are valuable regardless of what we have achieved or the qualities we may have. The exercise mentioned above appeals more to self-esteem but I used it for self-worth because we work better with things that we can see rather than things we can’t. When you develop a sense of self-worth, self-esteem will come more naturally. Self-esteem deals with three factors, how we were loved as children and the accomplishments of the people in our age group and how well we have accomplished compared to our childhood caregivers. Self-esteem has everything to do with being content and comfortable with who you are, where you are and what you have. If you want self-esteem, improve your self-worth. Remind yourself every day that you need not justify your existence. Your need to accomplish certain things is often because of your need to justify your existence.
This is the aspect that has more to do with the physical but it is not entirely physical. Self-care is all the acts we do to keep ourselves healthy like, taking a bath, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated doing things that we love. Self-care can also be in the form of watching what you consume like, the music you listen to, the things you watch and the people you spend time with. Self-care compared to the other aspects of self-love is easier to do. It is best to start here on your journey of discovering self-love.
Ask yourself this question as often as you can, “What would someone who loves themselves do?” Ask yourself this question when you need to decide, be it trivial or important. This exercise will come with one tip and one warning.
TIP: Trust your instinct, your inner self knows best.
WARNING: You will not always like what your instinct tells you to do.
This content was originally published here.