By: Laura Saldana ’17, University of Maryland Health Center, HEALTH Works Peer Educator
Self-love isn’t a new idea but it can sometimes be a difficult concept to understand. It’s something people have to learn to do and it may take much longer than most realize.
It’s about accepting yourself, where you came from and where you are now.
It evolves with time, changes with experience and expands with you. It’s no easy feat which may be why so many people find themselves struggling to do something that sounds so simple: loving themselves.
So how exactly can the abstract idea of self-love be so powerful? And how exactly can it be achieved?
Because every person is different, ideas about self-love will vary from person to person, but that’s the beauty of it.
Self-love is an indication that you have enough confidence in yourself to accept your idea of how to love yourself despite another’s point of view.
People can be unaware of just how important self-love is because we place so much value on other people loving, accepting and approving of us. Although I won’t underestimate how important it is to feel wanted and needed by other people, it is even more important that we stay true to ourselves by loving, accepting and approving of ourselves first.
We get caught up in being the person someone else wants us to be that even when they do accept us, we question whether our genuine selves could’ve gotten the same job done.
Are we being accepted for the sake of other people or for ourselves?
This is what makes the idea of self-love so captivating. It isn’t for anyone else but oneself. No one cares if you’ve gotten a handle on your strengths and have come to terms with your weaknesses. However, you care and you very well should because it’s those same strengths and weakness, highs and lows that make you the beautifully unique individual you are.
Self-love is all about a loving acceptance of the self.
It’s about putting aside the negative thoughts and building yourself up each and every day to become a better person. It’s not competitive or shallow. It’s not selfish or self-absorbed.
It’s a learning process with it’s own ups and downs. It’s about being honest with yourself, opening yourself up and nurturing yourself.
In time, it will become more evident that the relationship we have with ourselves plays into the other parts of our lives such as our jobs, our health and well-being and our interpersonal relationships.
To make each of these aspects the best they could possibly be, doesn’t it make sense to strengthen the core of them all? That core stems from you. These other aspects of our lives are made stronger with self-love.
This is why self-love is not a selfish love at all.
In order to give yourself fully to other people and be truly present in every moment, you must know and trust in yourself as a person. You must know who you’re putting out there.
Self-love originates from within and radiates out of you. This is why you must know, but more importantly love, the person you’re becoming because it is the one you’re presenting to the world.