Most of society has been raised to believe that altruism is the pinnacle of goodness. We are taught early on that it is noble to help those in need and to care about people other than yourself. Because of this deeply-ingrained principle, we devote significant amounts of time and energy catering to the needs of the people around us and consequently, forget about ourselves as an object of our own care and affection. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a generous and loving person to others, for as long as you remember to love yourself first.
Why Love Yourself First?
The concept of self-love might sound like a luxury rather than a necessity but the truth is, you simply cannot pour from an empty cup. We must relearn how to prioritize self-love because it is the foundation for genuinely loving others and nurturing healthy relationships. Thich Nhat Hanh said it best, “When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love. That’s why to love means to learn the art of nourishing our happiness.”
Self-Love in Practice
Self-love is a state of appreciation for and acceptance of oneself right now. It is treating yourself with the same love, kindness and support you’d show to your family or a good friend. It means being proud of your strengths and having compassion for yourself when you get things wrong. It is giving yourself permission to explore what brings you joy. It is slowing down when you’re tired. It is allowing yourself to say no without the added layer of guilt. It is recognizing your needs and ensuring they are met. It is speaking your truth and silencing your inner critic. It is noticing and honoring your feelings (even and most especially the negative ones). February is a month where the world celebrates romantic love but this year, we encourage you to celebrate yourself. You deserve your own love and affection just as much as anyone else.
How do you practice self-love in your day-to-day life? Let us know in the comments below.