What is self-love and how can we differentiate it from the often overused term ‘self-care’? Although it may look and feel different for everybody it is fundamentally the consideration for one’s own well-being and happiness.
Self-care, when done right, is an act of self-love. Taking the time to care for your body and your mind is an important part of self-love, but it goes much deeper than that. It’s more than about putting yourself first. It’s the process of becoming content and comfortable with how you are and honouring all your abilities.
So why is it that loving yourself and putting yourself first deemed to be selfish? Why does it seem next to impossible to do? Perhaps it’s because the act of self-love forces you to pause and take a step back to reflect and become self-aware.
And because we are complex human beings, it can be a source of great uncomfort when we are asked to ponder on our own thoughts. For those of us who haven’t spent time alone with our thoughts, contemplating our thoughts and motivations can provoke our anxiety.
For some, this is a momentous task and it may seem easier to solve all of the world’s greatest problems before tackling our own demons. If we channel all of our energy into a task, it can be a source of positive change in us. But in reality, positive life changes only happen when we start working on what is happening from within.
But there are obstacles on our path to self-love. A lot of the messaging we get from the world contradicts the importance of loving yourself. It tells us that our worth comes from other people and that we need another person in order to complete us.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, we are once again bombarded with insurmountable merchandise to purchase on behalf of someone else. However, it is worth noting that this is one of the many other holidays where retailers take advantage of consumer’s pockets.
By purchasing Valentine’s Day goods, you are giving them more reason to push the same thing over and over again. In reality, though the greatest gift you could give yourself is self-love.
We can’t purchase things and call it love. Love is not a plane ticket, dinner for two or Costco’s biggest bear. It is much more than that. Between people, it is shared laughter and memories made. For yourself, it is deep understanding and great compassion both on the good and bad days.
Oscar Wilde once said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
So where does one begin the journey to self-love? There are many ways to do this and, of course, it will be different for each individual. From experience, I discovered a few key things that worked for me.
I discovered simple acts like eating nutritious foods, exercising and journaling every day, and going on solo-dates. During this period of time, you will realize what is important for you. This is when change truly begins.
When you love yourself, you are making a difference in your self and that will transfer in many other aspects in your life. Your relationships will improve, your productivity increases and your outlook on life will be positive.
Loving yourself first sets a foundation for strong friendships and romantic partnerships. It gives you the tools to navigate the world in a positive way and increases resilience in difficult times. Self-love is a crucial element to a fulling life.
This op-ed was written by a University of Saskatchewan undergraduate student and reflects the views and opinions of the writer. If you would like to write a rebuttal, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kristine Jones A. Del Socorro
Graphic: Shawna Langer / Graphics Editor