What is self-love?
Society sells this idea that loving yourself means taking “me time” to have a bubble bath and a glass of wine or to go out and get your nails done. With this mentality, the idea of self-love seems narcissistic or selfish. It’s especially frowned upon when you have a family or other responsibilities. How could you be so selfish as to put yourself first?
Taking care of yourself physically is part of self-love, but the real work, the important part of self-love, is internal.
Self-love is recognizing toxic thought patterns, working to understand them, then rewiring your brain to think in a healthy way. Self-love is knowing what your needs are and not being afraid to put them above the wants of others. Self-love is recognizing unbalanced relationships and knowing that it’s okay to end them.
Self-love is often uncomfortable and ugly. It’s not glamorous; it’s not relaxing or rejuvenating.
Self-love is exactly what it sounds like: learning to love yourself in the good moments—when you’re happy and feel like your life is on track—and in the dark moments, when you don’t know if you’ll ever see the light again, but you know you’ll keep going because giving up on yourself is not an option.
There’s a line in an Ed Sheeran song that says, “Before I love someone else, I have to love myself.” The song is all about how we often try to save everyone around us to the detriment of our own wellbeing. We pour all of our love and energy out, but it’s never enough.
If you’ve ever tried giving your love to someone who doesn’t love themselves, then you know it’s impossible and painful. It’s like trying to pour water into a broken vessel. It doesn’t matter how much you pour in, the vessel will remain empty, and eventually the water will run out. When you try to pour your love into a person whose “vessel” is broken—who doesn’t love themselves—you’ll empty yourself while trying to fill them up.
When you don’t take the time to practice self-love, you become the broken vessel.
If you never learn to love yourself, you’ll never be able to accept the love of others. When someone tries to give you their love, you’ll wonder what their motives are. Why do they love you? They must want something. They don’t know the real you, otherwise they’d take their love elsewhere.
If you never learn to love yourself, you’ll never be able to give love to others. Just like you can never fill a broken vessel, you can’t pour from an empty one. If you never filled your “vessel” with love, you won’t have love to give to others.
You deserve to have an unfractured vessel that can hold all of the love people want to give you. You deserve to have an unfractured vessel that can pour into others.
But you are the only person who can create this unfractured vessel. You are the only person who can love yourself in the exact way that you need to be loved. Once you figure out how you need to be loved, you are the only one who can teach others how to love you.