What does it mean to really love yourself?

What does it mean to really love yourself? I find this to be one of the most difficult questions you could...

What does it mean to really love yourself?

I find this to be one of the most difficult questions you could ever ask yourself, because loving yourself is such a complex and deep state of being.

In what follows, I offer you my vision of what I think loving yourself really means. It has taken me many years to understand what self-love is, and a number of years more to be able to give myself this kind of love. But once I began, I finally felt free. I had found a new way of being that brought me peace, happiness, and joy. And the magical thing about it is that I didn’t need to search outside of myself to find all that. After a decade-long pursuit of unattainable ideals, the search was finally over. I had found love, deep within me, where it had been waiting for me all along.

Because the magic of self-love is not something that overcomes you, but rather something that you create for yourself, I invite you to do the following. Find a quiet and peaceful spot to sit yourself down, pour yourself some of your favorite tea or make yourself a cup of your best coffee, and unplug yourself from any possible distractions. This exercise will help you to give yourself the time and attention you deserve. Grounding yourself this way, and being fully present for what follows, you are already taking a step towards self-love.

A word of caution is necessary before we move any further. The love I will talk about, and try to untangle and explain for you below, is not the same as romantic love. Of course, it is heart-centered, beautiful, and warm, but it is also much, much more.

Loving yourself means putting yourself first, even being selfish at times, and making sure you are well taken care of by you, yourself… before you even think about taking care of others. It is putting yourself at the heart of everything you do.

Loving yourself also means accepting yourself with all your flaws, all the negative aspects of you, and all the things you don’t really like about yourself. Maybe you procrastinate sometimes, or you get upset when you’d really rather not. Or perhaps you would like to be less emotional or sensitive all the time. Whatever it is, loving yourself means understanding and accepting that you cannot be whole without those sides of you, too.

Loving yourself is showing compassion for the person that you are. And by this, I don’t mean the perfect version of you that you aspire to be, but rather the imperfect version – the real you, as the vulnerable human being that you are.

What does it mean to really love yourself

Yes, loving yourself can be difficult. It requires consistent thought and determined action, especially because it’s so easy to slip back into a state of not loving yourself so much, and of fear, resentment, and even hate. With this in mind, loving yourself is also very courageous, and requires you to be brave and strong, as the process asks you to be honest with yourself and to really look at who you are and what you stand for.

Loving yourself demands that you accept your faults, your mistakes, and all the wrong turns you ever took, along with all of the bad decisions you ever made, and demands that you embrace all of that – with no exceptions – as an integral part of you. Knowing and accepting that you are perfectly imperfect, just as you are.

Loving yourself means being thankful for your body, your mind, your soul, your feelings and emotions, your unique way of seeing the world, your way of interacting with others, and your way of being in the world.

Loving yourself means loving absolutely everything about yourself: the light, the dark, and all the shades in between. It is saying to the universe: look at me, here I am, this is all that I have to offer, all that I am, all of this is me.

And then, after all is said and visible, after taking a good look at yourself in your entirety, it means deciding to befriend, accept, trust, enjoy, protect, grow, and nurture all that you have seen.

To me, that is what loving yourself really means.

But, however beautiful it is to think of you as a complete and self-loving human being, loving yourself is a never-ending journey. Whether you accept your flaws or not, whether you show compassion for yourself or take good care of yourself or not, if self-love is what pulls you forward, that is all you need. And if you don’t at times, even that is okay. Self-love never goes anywhere – it’s always there, ready for you to go back to.

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