Self-Love… Taking Care of YOU
An interesting discussion yesterday about self-love took place in our house.
It started with me basically saying you have to love yourself before you can love others.
I mean, really, what does “love yourself” mean and what is “self love”?
Well, the answer is one that really applies to everyone and is foundational to things like self-esteem, self confidence, and certainly, self-respect.
In a way, they’re correlated.
Doesn’t matter if you’re 10, 12, 15, 16, 25, 50, 75, or 100, these things matter.
Self-love essentially says you’re taking care of YOU in as many different ways you can in order to give, fully, to others.
You know how in airplanes they tell adults to put their oxygen masks on FIRST and then take care of children around you… well, the concept here is strikingly similar.
If you put yourself first, and take care of YOU, it’s easier to give your best self to others.
If you find yourself taking care of others FIRST, you’re often depleted and have no energy to take care of yourself at the end of the day.
I sometimes find myself in this rut and I have to RESET and pull myself out.
It’s a slippery slope.
So, what kinds of “take care of yourself” are we talking here?
A high level look would include inputs, maintenance and outputs and several ‘sub-topics’ within each.
✅ Inputs would include things that go into your body: food, liquids, air, nature, conversations (trusted advisors / friends), reading, media, chemicals, substances, hygiene products, learning / building skills, what we see, sounds, lighting, etc.
✅ Maintenance would include sleep, exercise, stretching, clothing, mindfulness, cleanliness (personal & your immediate environment), setting boundaries, setting goals, commitments, being responsible, integrity, bringing your passions with you, personal grooming, gratitude, practicing skills, self-protection, security, friendship, resourcefulness, creativity, laughter, measuring progress (baselines & self-assessment), achievement, empathy, coping, self-talk, checking your work, feedback loops, community (support systems), finding/going to your “happy place”, etc.
✅ Outputs would include speaking, writing, singing, dancing, art, manners, giving to others, respect for others, showing up, new experiences, acceptance, celebrating successes, sharing, contributing, expressing emotions, etc.
An in-depth look into any of the sub-topics above would reveal just how deep our own self-love can go. I’ll do separate posts on each of these at some point soon.
The more you know, understand & take care of yourself, the easier it is to move forward with an air of confidence and authenticity that is not easily shaken. It’s about valuing yourself and understanding your own self-worth.
—> side note —> an air of confidence is not the same as having an inflated sense of oneself or arrogance. When taken to extremes, the value of oneself and one’s own importance over everyone else’s leads to narcissism. Also, this isn’t the same as being self-centered. That’s when everything is about you and not about others, at all.
👣 Think of the sub-topics above as ‘stepping stones’ and they all lead to a path of self-love and each one needs to be looked at individually, in some capacity, and considered regularly as you go through life.
Not all at once, but they all matter in the scheme of things and almost all of them relate to choices we make – in other words, we, for the most part, get to choose our own paths, but they’re made up of many small steps.
And, if we spend too much time on any one of the small steps, as in, if we do nothing but read or exercise or dance, we suffer major imbalances and consequences overall.
🔺Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests a pyramid that starts with basic needs as it’s base and fine tunes all the way up to self-actualization.
Self-actualization is really not far off from self-love and isn’t a “I finally made it!” type of destination. It’s an ongoing ebb and flow of life where we feel like we have some semblance of control one minute and then feel a bit off-balance the next.
The more we can take care of for ourselves though, the easier it becomes to deal with external influences in a rational manner that provides value instead of being a burden or a victim.
Self-love, peace and happiness to each of you.
PS – yes, I left out intimacy and all that comes with it… that’s no longer a part of self-love, by definition.
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