“I feel so good, I just want to self-love at home, at work and all over the place,” joked my client, David (not his real name). It was at the end of one of our sessions, after a breakthrough for him on self-love. He had finally understood and experienced self-love beyond a concept.
For many, the term “self-love” can be multifaceted and confusing, like the word “love.” Many people are familiar with the concept of self-love but not with the experience of it. I’ve had many clients feel bad about not having “self-love” without even knowing what it is, other than that they don’t have it.
Let’s first clarify what it’s not: Self-love is not Narcissism, selfishness or disregard of others. Those traits come from a place of insecurity and fear, which is the opposite of self-love.
At the core, self-love is: self-worth, love and self-acceptance. Self-love is something with which we were born. Babies don’t ponder about whether they are “worthy” of milk. When they’re hungry, they cry and then simply have it. A part of self-love is acknowledging what you need and allowing your “self” to have it.
Due to external factors as we grow up – such as family, culture, religion, and other forms of conditioning, a lot of us start to disconnect with self-love. Rather than realizing it’s something that we already have, it becomes something we have to “achieve,” like so many other things in our lives. Self-love is not something for us to “achieve.” It’s something with which we need to remember and awaken. That’s why it’s called “Self-love.”
Some theories make self-love seem unattainable. For example, it is often said that: “to truly love someone you need to truly love yourself first.” After helping literally thousands of people for more than 15 years with this issue-this is misleading. I’ve known many people who truly love someone but don’t necessarily love themselves. It’s particularly common among mothers. Can you imagine how the world would be if no one could love anyone unless they truly loved themselves first?
Keep in mind that a lot of people don’t know what self-love is other than that they don’t have it. Doesn’t this seem unattainable?
Not only can you love someone – even when you don’t have a grasp of self-love – you can learn more about loving yourself through loving others. And yes, the reverse is also true, the more you love yourself, the more you can love others. Love encourages more love. It has no rules or limitations.
Love is love. It is spacious, expansive and infinite. Beneath the theories and confusing concepts, self-love is simply an extension of love. It’s already within you. So, like David, you can enjoy it at home, at work and all over the place.