In a world where many of us were raised to put others first, the notion of self-love can often feel selfish. For some people, it might bring up images of tree-hugging hippies or self-absorbed narcissists. But, as many psychology studies suggest, self-love is essential to maintain our mental and emotional wellbeing.
Self-love is a way of being with yourself that is caring, nurturing, and supportive. Loving yourself means valuing and appreciating who you are as a person. It also means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your own needs to please others.
Self-love can look different for each person because we all have different ways of taking care of ourselves. For some people, it may look like staying in bed all day. For others, buying something expensive, going on a vacation, or ending a relationship.
Deciding what self-love looks like for you begins the moment you ask yourself the following question:
What is the most loving, nurturing, and supportive thing I can do for myself in this situation?
Answering this question for yourself and taking the necessary action will undoubtedly send you in self-love’s direction.
To support you along this journey, here’s a self-love poem written by some beautiful unknown person, clearly inspired by Kim McMillen’s poem When I Learned to Love Myself, and often attributed to the great Charlie Chaplin.
As I Began to Love Myself
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is AUTHENTICITY.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it RESPECT.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it MATURITY.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it SELF-CONFIDENCE.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it SIMPLICITY.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first, I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is LOVE OF ONESELF.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is MODESTY.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it FULFILLMENT.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection WISDOM OF THE HEART.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know THAT IS LIFE!
Imagine the transformation you would experience if you applied the wisdom in this poem to your everyday living! What kind of person would you become as a result? Surely, someone who loves themselves fully.
The great Chaplin himself once said, “It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.” It also takes courage to love yourself fully.
From my heart to yours,