Self-Love: What It Is & What It’s Not

“Self-love.”

It’s a term that’s growing to be more and more common each day — or so it seems. It’s a term that captures just how important it is for us to be accepting of not only others, but also of ourselves: of our mind, body and spirit.

Many months ago, my friend & fellow blogger Whitney (the one-woman-show behind Flow & Favor) asked me, “What exactly is self-love? Because sometimes I think it’s yoga but other times I just want to eat chocolate.”

I’m no expert on relationships or dating and especially not marriage, but I do know a thing or two about self-love.

And to answer Whitney’s question: I think self-love can be both.

What it is:

Self-love is the act of caring for one’s own needs on spiritual, physical and emotional levels. Self-love practices self-care above others’ desires, not with the intent to be selfish, but in an attempt for self-preservation.

Self-love looks differently depending on the person, place and time. Though it’s universally valued, it’s not practiced in the same way across all humans.

In my life, self-love has manifested in many ways, including but not limited to:

  • Hiking
  • Praying during car rides
  • Spending time alone
  • Spending time with people I love
  • Reading a thought-provoking book
  • Eating out alone
  • Taking a nap
  • Going on a long drive
  • Crying
  • Laughing

The beauty of self-love is that it can mean lots of different things to lots of different people.

Let me tell you what it’s not.

Because self-love is an umbrella that holds together a vast amount of interests and activities, it is not simple. It is not confined. It is not restrained to a tiny, uniformed box.

Self-love isn’t only eating well and working out — though it can definitely be those things. It’s not eating chocolate cake and watching TV — though it can definitely be those as well.

It’s not one thing over the other, but a bunch of thoughts and actions that complement one another.

So why is self-love so important?

It’s important because we need to treat our brains and bodies better. It’s important because we need it in order to function well. It’s important because if we don’t care for ourselves, we can’t take care of others either.

So let’s just do it! Let’s laugh and cry and eat and fast and run and rest and travel and stay home. Let’s love ourselves and love others in bigger, better ways.


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