Sometimes when I read personal development books they talk so very much about self love or self care. But I have not yet figured out what they really mean. What is self love? Is it shopping till your dropping? Fill your home with things you think you need? Over eating or eating in fancy restaurants? Grooming yourself? Joining endless personal development trainings? Always on the go with the next exciting adventure? Sitting at home watching Netflix endlessly? Reading hundreds of books per year? Well… here is my take on it.
Last night I was sitting with my partner in front of the TV watching Netflix. There was a bowl of Halloween treats in front of us. I made a conscious decision at that instance that I am not going to eat from those treats. In this instance, I knew, that if I had eaten from these treats, my body would have felt uneasy. For someone who loves sweets and treats i at that particular instance have taken care of myself.
Here is the thing, self-love is not a continuous state of mind but a series of decisions you will make at a given instance during your daily life. The collection of these decisions that you make during these instances of your day collaborate to your better wellbeing. Self-love is not an unchanging state. It comes and goes depending on your level of consciousness towards the decisions you are making.
Another example, few months ago, I was invited for a dinner. The food was amazing. The drinks were even better than the food! So, I deep dove in all of what was there! I made that unconscious decision to do so. I paid the price physically that evening and mentally the next morning. It was a weak moment.
These series of decisions we make every instance about what thoughts are we going to cultivate and build upon, what nutrients are we going to place in our bodies will eventually contribute to your state of self-love.
Self-love ≠ selfishness
This is an important point to make. Realizing that you need to take care of your body and mind and how crucial it is for you to do so, in order to live a happy life and enable yourself to be open towards helping others, is the most selfless action you can take. The essence of self-love comes from within yourself, towards yourself, without annihilating the people around you, their needs, priorities and their road towards happiness. Realizing that they too, have the same pursuit just like you are makes you careful to the delicate balance that life brings.
To bottom line: As an example, If you are financially capable of shopping till you are dropping and that gives you a feeling of self-love and does not harm your finances, family, dependents endants, then be it. It is worth keeping in mind that extremities indicate possible lack, themes, patterns or deeper issues that you might want to look at. Excessive eating will harm you (as another example). Gambling could drive you to addiction and overcompensation for a bigger lack…
Always ask yourself why am I doing the things I am doing? Is it making me a happier person?