Valentines day is a day OF love. “LOVE” is a phenomenon that has been the subject of controversy since the beginning of civilization, from poets to artists to psychologists, scientists, and religions. But today, we are going to talk about a different kind of love, and that is SELF LOVE.

What is self love?

The dictionary defines it as:

Self-love

noun

  1. regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than a narcissistic characteristic).

So lets separate this from narcissism.

Narcissism

noun

  1. excessive interest in or admiration of oneself.
  2. selfishness, entitlement, lack of empathy, and a need for admiration.

There is a common saying, that one cannot love others until one can love oneself. This may or may not be true, as there are plenty of people who feel love with passion while still needing work on loving themselves. But can they accept love from others fully? Do you yourself believe that you can be loved completely?

Lets start there. Self love begins with allowing yourself to be loved, completely. And, well, with loving yourself, completely.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha

Self love is knowing that you deserve love. Now I’m going to be honest, since the concept of “love” itself is such an enigmatic topic, I cannot tell you one ultimate word of wisdom that defines what you need to be striving for. But, we at Breaking Taboo can offer you some landmarks on your journey of self discovery.

Here are six guidelines you can use every day, to help inspire your journey to the top of the self love ladder.

1) Work on accepting yourself, and accepting what it is you want to work on.

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” – Mark Twain

We all have so called flaws, but it depends on how you choose to look at it. What if we chose to see our “flaws” instead as, “opportunities for growth”? In fact, lets do that right now. Lets decide to replace the word “Flaw” with “Opportunity”. That’s it. Next time you see something in yourself that you want to change, just see it as an opportunity to change and grow. That leads us to…

2) Allow yourself to grow.

“Love dies only when growth stops.”  – Pearl S. Buck

In order to accept ourselves, we must accept the changes that naturally occur in our lives. Fighting it only creates self doubt and missed opportunities for you to expand your level of self awareness and self achievement. And, achievement in any area of your life- even small achievements- lend itself to growing your own self esteem.

3) Strive for having healthy self esteem.

“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.”
– Maxwell Maltz

This is easier said than done, since our levels of self esteem is often deep rooted and formulated by our past experiences, which we cannot undo. But there are many programs, seminars, books, videos, healers, and therapists that are at your disposal to use! You don’t have to be defined by your past, and you CAN create a you that is confident.

4. Practice positive self talk.

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.”
– Harvey Fierstein

Here at breaking taboo, we are all about killing silence to save lives, and sometimes what we tell our own selves simply isn’t true. When we use words such as “I can’t”, or “I’m not that good”, it’s just our mind’s way of trying to protect us and shield us inside the tiny little safety bubbles that we are used to surviving in. What you tell yourself every day is powerful. So powerful, that you can choose to tell yourself something different, something that actually helps you instead of harms you. Try replacing the words “I can’t” with “I can”, and “I’m not that good” with “I can learn how to do it”.

5. Practice self compassion    

“Self compassion is how we recover.”  – Sheryl Sandberg

Loving yourself does not mean stay happy go lucky all the time and shut off any feelings of sadness or anger. In fact, that would be the opposite of self-acceptance. Yes, I know we just spoke about positive self talk, but we also need to allow ourselves to feel. Afterall, that is what makes us human. We are all allowed to have bad days where we just want to wallow in our bed- even mental health advocates experience it. No one is perfect, and that is perfect in itself. When we fully accept ourselves, we love our imperfections as a part of our whole, perfect picture. Be compassionate to yourself when you are feeling down, know that it is ok to feel that way, it’s ok to share, to ask for help or retreat- as long as you understand that this is temporary, and soon, you’ll allow yourself to feel better.

6. Love love love

“Love is the true means by which the world is enjoyed; Our love to others, and others love to us.” – Thomas Traherne

I’ve been told that I love too many things. You know what I say to that? That there is no such thing as too much love. Love, whatever that wonderful feeling is, when practiced, is gained back in multitudes. If you want to practice loving yourself completely, practice loving others completely. Even if that other is your dog or your cat, or your special someone. Even if that other is your undying passion for the work that you do, or the cause that you are striving for.

I’m sure you have heard the saying “Joy shared is twice the joy”, well love shared is much more than that.

That’s it! We’re keeping it short, sweet, and precious, just like Valentines day. Hope this inspires you on your journey of self love. Happy Day Of Love!

~Serena Sun