Real talk: How do you define self-love?

How do you define self love? If you love yourself, does that mean you think you’re always right? Does it also mean that you don’t bother about what others think? Does it mean that you believe everything you do or say follows the line of perfection? The short answer to all of these is no. The long answer depends on and differs from person to person. However, I wanted to pen down what self-love means to me and combat some myths it might be associated with in the process, I hope.

Being comfortable with oneself
It’s taken me a long time to be comfortable with myself. Finally in my 30s, I’m feel like I’m there. My journey has been about self-discovery for over a decade. It’s somewhat easier for someone like me to have embarked on a self-discovery journey because I’m a Scorpio who is used to self-transformation somewhat and multiple “rebirths”, so to speak. However, I fully hold my hands up and say that I’m sure that there are people out there who haven’t ever thought about this but have fallen into their own more naturally. Or maybe haven’t at all. Each to their own and no judgments for me!

Personally, I feel that self-love is about being comfortable. Being at one with however you feel at any given time. Allowing yourself to ride any feelings you might have or any behaviour of your own which you yourself might’ve found questionable. I’m talking within parameters but comfort with oneself can really take any form and different forms at that. Ultimately, it means you are secure with who you are. You’re “happy” with who you are – although I’m not sure about using the “h” word there. And you know you’re not perfect!

Making yourself accountable
Sometimes when I read certain articles, I get the impression that some people think self-love is about loving everything that you are so much that if something goes wrong then you blame everyone and everything but your own self. This is totally wrong and realistically couldn’t be further from the truth. Also, it’s really never about blame. This ties in with being comfortable with oneself and that also means you make yourself accountable. You are aware of how you might’ve contributed to a positive or negative situation or conversation. You make your best effort to understand your own actions and deal with them your own self before perhaps approaching someone else to sort something out or do something to put something right. Being accountable also means accepting that you are human and that you make mistakes. For example, if you’ve overreacted then you want to understand in your own self why you’ve done that and what you can do to make yourself feel differently or better. Or it could even be to think about how differently you might’ve acted at another time or place.

Ensuring you take care of yourself that little bit more on your low days
Everyone has difficult or low days. Sometimes you can trace the reason for these but sometimes you can’t. Either way, for me, self-love is about accepting those low moments and cutting myself some slack in the way I may behave. This doesn’t mean you are letting yourself get carried away but it means that you are trying to not take your low feelings out on other things or other people and that you are trying to to be low for the foreseeable! This is difficult because feelings are feelings at the end of the day, and they can and often do overtake you. However, if you are conscious of how you feel and you know you’re having a difficult few days, you may also know to add something into your routine (such as a call to someone or a few hours walking in a park) which may help you feel better.

Not always believing your own thoughts
If you’re anything like me then you’re a serial over-thinker! This has always caught me short over the years but I’ve learnt over time that you can allow yourself to think whatever you want but before you make a decision, make sure you are exploring it in your own head. So basically, don’t believe everything you think or each conclusion you come to! Also, there is such a thing that can make you over-cautious and over-protective of yourself – and although they might sound great, if you always go with that side of yourself, you won’t be able to live your life freely!

Celebrate yourself, don’t expect it from others
As an only child, I’ve always been very conscious of the friends I keep and I have learnt the hard way that some people just aren’t good for you. Having said that, after getting past those kinds of hurdles a few times, I’ve concluded that it’s important that you don’t expect other people to celebrate your personal goals being reached or your wins of any kind. It’s OK to feel proud of yourself or celebrate something you deem as an achievement by treating your own self. It all comes from within. Don’t expect validity or approval from others and then when you have others celebrating things with you, it’ll feel all the more special. But just remember it’s perfectly OK to do it as just you.

Know your own happy places… & people
It is possible to have happy places which make you feel good and at your most comfortable. It is also possible to have happy people. These are the people who know you and that you know will be there whenever you reach out. Self-love means you will always reach out whenever you are feeling low and or when you are ready and want to talk. It’s so important to have places but it’s also equally so to have those special people in your life. They can make the world of difference to your life because you don’t only need people who are there in the good times but also in the not so good. Be grateful for these places and people… and show it!

Never be afraid to say no
Although it’s great to be popular and all, it’s very important to have boundaries. Saying no is something that always makes me feel bad but I’m learning otherwise. Saying no to someone or something almost always means I’m saying yes to myself and putting myself first. I’ve realised this more and more and I have had to fight for that no a few times but that doesn’t mean I will turn it into a yes every time. Learning to say no is perhaps one of the most vital things you can do for self-love. Try it!

Don’t allow your inner voice to be negative
This, once again, goes with the comfort point at the start but it’s perhaps the most important of them all. Your inner voice is something that is there through every little thing that happens in whatever journey you’re on. You have got to make sure it’s positive, uplifting and forgiving. It also needs to encourage and love you even when you feel awful or you’ve done awful. Speak to yourself with respect and love because you deserve that.

These are my personal points to do with self-love and about my own journey of self-discovery. I wanted to put these down into writing so here they are. Do let me know if you share any of these thoughts… or not! I’d be interested to know.
Much love,
AT x

While you’re here, read my blog Friends are like leaves, they sometimes fall away… & that’s OK

One comment

  1. These are some absolutely amazing points! I think not to always believe your thoughts is an important one for me to learn because I too can relate to the term “serial over-thinker!” Thank you for sharing this, it’s really made me think more deeply about the way I treat myself 🙂

    Like

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