What is self-love?

An online magazine recently asked for my thoughts on self-love. We say it a lot but do we know what it means or entails? My head went round and round analysing different actions that confirm I love myself; I critically and quietly asked myself about things I did that could have made someone treat me with disdain because it showed them I did not value myself.

I recall a time when a boyfriend went silent on me without any warning, quarrel or otherwise, and I looked for this man, pleaded with him to say something. I apologised for things I hadn’t done but he never seemed interested at all. Then, there was a girlfriend, we used to laugh a lot and make fun of other people. One day, she got mad at me for something I said to her about her boyfriend. Both relationships ended badly.

At least the one with the girlfriend was rekindled a few years on. Did my actions in the course of these relationships make them despise me; did I show them too much love while depriving myself of the same? 

Self-love is what you feel for you. Majority of us love to express love for everything and everyone around us but do not know how to shower ourselves with sufficient love. We seem to know how to love everyone but ourselves. Society in the past could have contributed to this and our parents passed it on. Today is when you will see messages promoting self-love and making us appreciate the fact that you have to love yourself first before you can genuinely love another person. It’s great to love, but even greater if there is plenty more left in the reservoir.

For you to be described as a loving person you ought to have shared love with people that never expected it, and as you did, so you never expected anything in return. The world being round though, what you let out somehow finds its way back to you. 

Pauline has a hearty laugh, says thank you and hello to strangers over and over. One day I asked what she gets out of that and she said she loves herself before anybody else, and that helps her in the quest to express love openly and genuinely to those around her.

That made a lot of sense; because of the love for self and the fact that one wants a cheerful, happy life they focus on learning about themselves, discover what makes them happy and what could possibly make others happy, it becomes their goal to spread happiness. An important lesson somebody like that learns is that for them to share and spread love they need to love and value themselves even more.   

The relationship you have with yourself is important and determines how you relate with other people. Self-love isn’t for you; it’s what teaches you how to love the world. The challenges of life that could make you doubt or hate yourself are only meant to make you a better person.  To help with self-love and self-discovery, try spending time alone, the moments of personal reflection are the best at teaching you about life and love.