As a therapist, I hear many accounts of individuals struggling with the idea of self love. Many people confuse self love with self indulgence, a sense of entitlement, self absorption. self centeredness, and frank narcissism. “I bought that new purse because I deserve it.” “After all, for how hard I work, I’m entitled to a vacation.” “It’s an all-about-me day.” Most often these indulgences do little to fill the bucket of self esteem or increase genuine love for self.
Self love requires the ability to gain a little distance from oneself, to slip out of the current state of mind, particularly if that state of mind is loaded with emotion. Self love requires being able to look at yourself from an outside perspective, and from that vantage point notice, admire, love, be curious about, the miracle of the unique individual you see there–as if you were the most adoring parent to the person you are today.
From that perspective loving yourself means being able to orient, guide, and provide what that person needs. Ask yourself these questions from that appreciative perspective:
- What are the experiences that make you thrive?
- What inspires you?
- What makes your heart sing?
- What gives you energy?
- What restores you?
- What brings out the best in you?
- What grows and expands you?
- What are the challenges you need to bring forth your potential?
Being able to orient yourself toward nurturing, caring, and providing for this precious person who is you is what self love is all about.