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Definition Of Self-Love:

We hear so much about self-love, but what is it? Really? I believe self-love can be defined as a responsibility where we respect and cherish our existence, irrespective of our external circumstances. It is about being accepting of your good and bad parts and just being present in your current situation. And there is no such satisfaction higher than self-love.

Difference Between Self-Love And Selfishness:

Self-love and selfishness are very different and cannot be interpreted as the same. When you are selfish, you think everything revolves around you and your existence, and anything that goes against that is evil. 

On the contrary, self-love accepts negative events that can happen to you and are beyond your control. It is about learning to forgive yourself for your past and accepting who you are in your present, which creates hope for your future.

We live in a world where there are a lot of mental struggles, and thriving with positivity is not easy when you see those struggles around you for years. One of the biggest indicators of whether you will develop self-love and confidence and accept yourself is when you are surrounded by people who do the same. 

But when you are around people who are critical of themselves and of you, you will start questioning your choices, and your inner voice will end up becoming your critique, and that will affect every relationship that you have with other human beings. 

This is especially true for Asian culture, where we experience a lack of praise and compliments and constant critique for everything, major and minor, resulting in us doubting ourselves all the time. The effect of this can be terrible, as doubtful people end up making bad decisions that can impact their lives.

Difference Between Self-Love And Selfishness

Negative Effects Of The Absence Of Self-Love:

When you lack self-love, you depend on external validation to set your sense of worth. But this is not a good idea at all. If you are giving the power to other people, they can also take it away from you. 

So what will happen? If they praise you, your mental health will skyrocket, but if they critique you, you will think you are the worst person in the world. This sort of power should not belong to any other people other than yourself. Similarly, when you are in a relationship, your partner can make you feel horrible or good based on their mood. That’s because you have given your partner the power to make you feel so. 

In the absence of self-love, one forgets to care for oneself because they have this belief set in one’s mind that if one cares for oneself, one will be selfish. And that’s one of the most challenging aspects of self-love. Caring for yourself is not selfish. After all, you can only care for others if you are properly cared for. 

When people do not love themselves, they constantly doubt their abilities and question their worth, which leads to low self-esteem. This fosters the sense of being less in you. 

The lack of self-love reflects a lack of ambition at work, in relationships and in life, in general. The person withdraws themself from the social setting, wanting to remain cocooned in loneliness. 

The circle of negativity goes on and on and on. 

Negative Effects Of The Absence Of Self-Love

How To Cultivate Self-Love:

Now that we have talked about the negative impact of lack of self-love, how do you cultivate self-love from zero if you have never had any? 

If you are someone who grew up around elders who did not compliment or praise you enough to build good self-esteem, you have probably grown up into an adult who is okay with receiving the bare minimum. 

Also read: The Relationship Trap: Why We Self-Sabotage and How to Break Free.

Now, how do you know what you are getting is the bare minimum? Ask your friends and peers about how their parents or partners treat their accomplishments. Observe behaviour in other people’s houses, and observe people you know who are very confident about who they are and what they want. 

Some of the most common signs that you are settling for the bare minimum are-

  • Your emotional needs are left unmet. 
  • Their actions are inconsistent; they show love one day, and the next, they are distant. 
  • There is a lack of attentive listening; they only care about what is going on in their life if it relates to them. Other than that, how your day went or what you are feeling is not significant.
  • It feels stagnant; the conflicts remain unresolved, the effort remains unappreciated or unacknowledged, and there’s no sense of mutual growth. 
  • Lack of meaningful and deep conversations that reveal parts of who they are as a person and no reception of who they are as a person. 

The ones who love and respect themselves will have an easier time turning down something that does not align with their goals in life. If you are someone who has tolerated the bare minimum and has been too adjusting, it’s time to change that. Adjustment and tolerance are not a one-way street.

 Also read Prioritise yourself with these self-care ideas!

How To Cultivate Self-Love

When To Get Professional Help?

Professional help can be useful if you find yourself struggling with cultivating self-love. Self-love does not have to be an extravagant affair. It can be as simple as reading that book you have been putting off for a long due to responsibilities. 

Professional help guides you towards the recognition of lack of self-love and how you can cultivate it. They help you see-

  • how to recognise the negative patterns;
  • practising self-affirmations;
  • protecting your energy against what drains you;
  • healing old wounds;
  • being kind to yourself;
  • improving your relationship dynamics;
  • coping strategies to manage anxiety, stress, and depression;
  • challenging negative beliefs and
  • setting personal goals and working towards achieving them.

There are sessions of group therapy available, online or offline, if you find single sessions expensive.

When To Get Professional Help

You Now Know How To Cultivate Self-Love And How To Apply This To Your Life.

Once you have gained enough knowledge and applied it to your own life to love yourself, you can easily apply these ideas to your surroundings. 

You have to understand that a relationship is a part of your life and not the centre of your universe. You have to have hobbies, professions, and other activities that fulfil your day and not just depend on your relationship to give you all the happiness that you need.

Because not only are you putting too much pressure on someone to fulfil all your needs, but you are also lacking a sense of self by not doing anything other than being someone’s partner/spouse. 

If you build a life for yourself, take time to better your mind and your body, and are engaged in many activities, you will create a little world of your own, and that will give you extreme levels of confidence.

Applying Self-Love To All Walks Of Life: 

The act and sense of self-love are to be applied not just in your romantic relationships but also the platonic ones- with friends, family, and siblings. Basically, everywhere. 

  • One can be kind and still choose peace over drama;
  • Be empathetic and still uphold your boundaries;
  • Be accommodating and can still tell someone NO.

Walking away from situations that ruin your peace of mind is self-love. At the end of the day, you have to understand that all humans have their flaws and good sides, and it is your self-love and awareness that will act as a barricade that will prevent you from choosing wrong.