A fair and honest question came from my husband about this “loving yourself” subject. He said; “You keep mentioning how important to love and accept oneself, but what really is self-love?” Actually, self-love could be defined as the belief you hold that you are a valuable and worthy person. An example of it is when you have a positive view of yourself and are confident in yourself and your place in the world.
It might be hard for some people to wrap their heads around this concept right away and all at once, but it might be easier to start with baby steps. For instance; you can make a list of the things that you are proud of accomplishing throughout your life, no matter how small or big they are.
As a second step, you can make another list regarding the things that make you feel guilty when you do them such as; making time for yourself, lying down for a while and reading a good book, going out with your friends for a drink, spending any kind of money for something that you need (I am not even talking about something that you want), sleeping in, taking a longer than usual bath. Or on a more serious note; staying in a marriage that does not make you happy anymore for the sake of your spouse or your children, keeping a job that makes you sick just because you cannot give up the monetary contribution that it makes into the family budget.
You will say what do these have anything to do with loving myself? Well, they have everything to do with self-love… When you put first everyone but yourself and anything that you need or want finds its place always at the end of the to-do list, then you cannot say that you are giving any kind of priority to your needs and desires, which would mean a serious lack of self-love.
Look, my friend… It is okay to put yourself first from time to time. If you don’t do that, it would not be possible for you to feel completely happy. Remember the safety instructions that the flight attendants give you before any flight? Regarding putting on your own air mask before helping your child to put theirs on? It is exactly like that. If you do not give necessary respect, attention, time and priority to yourself without feeling guilty about it, then you cannot radiate with love, you cannot give out what you do not cultivate, grow and nurture inside.
I am not saying you better be a completely selfish person in order to be happy, I am just saying that you need to see the positive and good things that you do, reward yourself for them, and do not ignore your desires and needs as a human being. I hope this little explanation makes a little bit easier to understand what self-love really is.