A girl looking into mirror

I lost touch with all my friends

I’m in my bed by 10 pm

I have no social stamina

I cancel all my plans

I commit, then I don’t answer

I can’t keep up with anyone

The above is a short ballad that was found on a social media platform, and under it was the caption, “When you’ve found inner peace. #Selflove”.

A state of appreciation for oneself, holding high regard for one’s own happiness and well-being, and getting in touch with oneself are just a few definitions of self-love. The definition and basic idea of self-love is something that we are all well aware of. The real question is whether or not we practice it.

It is no doubt that the topic of self-love is easier said than done. Social media creates an illusion that self-care or self-love is simple. Just use a few bath bombs, drink some boba tea and get a pedicure, and self-care is done. The depth of the inaccuracy of this statement could not be more. It’s unsettling to see that people actually believe this is how you take care of yourself. Indeed, these are all great ways of relaxation and are a small part of the concept of self-love, but it does not even begin to scratch the surface of self-love.

Self-love is all about putting yourself first. It’s about looking after your own needs before that of others. It means not settling for lesser than what one deserves. The exact definition can vary between individuals since how we take care of ourselves differs significantly. For experiencing the feeling of self-love, you first need to figure out what exactly self-love is for yourself. This is imperative to one’s mental health.

There are a few barriers that block one from conquering self-love.

  • Perfectionism is something everyone strives for, but it is also fear. No matter how much we manage to achieve, we are never delighted. We tend to belittle our own achievements and not appreciate our efforts. Perfectionism is known to be one of the most significant barriers to self-love.
  • Judgment is another aspect that stands in the way of an individual and their journey to self-love. When we judge ourselves, we are essentially nailing our mistakes onto ourselves. We assume there is no room for error and don’t let ourselves off the hook.
  • Guilt is yet another concept that doesn’t allow self-love. Guilt tends to keep you brooding over your mistakes and looking at them over and over again. It keeps people imprisoned in the past.
  • Repressed emotion, is a form of self-defense mechanism. Not allowing proper expression of emotions can cause more damage to one’s mental health than you think. Finding ways to express emotions can be therapeutic, even if it is as simple as talking about it.
  • Comparison is something we all indulge in. Stemming from the lack of self-esteem, comparison paves the way to a version of you with no confidence and cannot recognize your own value.
  • Feelings of unworthiness are related to emotions of not deserving anything. You tend to believe that something is wrong with you or that some aspect(s) of your life is holding you back.

Getting ahead of these barriers, or instead knocking them down, is essential to an individual’s well-being.

The title of this blog is inspired by Christian Nestell Bove‘s quote: “Our first and the last love is self-love”. You may read quotes, this blog, or an entire book on self-love but you cannot experience it until you prioritize yourself over others without feeling guilty!

There is a defined line between self-love and narcissism. Narcissism is self-obsession without having the ability to empathize with others. When you love yourself, you prioritize yourself over others without losing the ability to empathize.

The act of self-love allows people to make healthy, happy, and responsible choices in life. This, in turn, aids the betterment of your mental health and relationship with others. Nurturing oneself is crucial. Self-love is crucial.

By being just a little bit more mindful, the journey toward self-love can be underway. Following and doing what one needs rather than what one wants can be an effective method of adopting self-love. By doing this, we tend far afield from those things and behaviors that get us in trouble, hence keeping us in the past. Practicing self-care is another way we could possibly habituate self-love. By taking care of our basic needs and pampering ourselves a little bit, we self-nourish ourselves. Simple things like getting good solid sleep, sound nutrition, healthy relationships, the correct type of intimacy, etc., are a few basic needs.

Putting oneself first is not a sin. Always remember, “Should an emergency situation occur, you need to put your own oxygen mask on first before attempting to help those around you.” The simplest explanation behind this is, you cannot help others if you do not help yourself first.

Are you the type of person that puts on others’ oxygen masks before your own, or do you practice self-love?

How many barriers to self-love have you experienced? Do you think any other factor stands between you and self-love?

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