Self-love is a big topic these days — not just in the yogi community, but everywhere. Now that social media is such a powerful tool that provides a platform for everyone voice their opinions, lots of people have been inspired enough to become self-love activists online.
To those who are pretty far from being completely and unconditionally loving toward themselves, however, the idea of being so self loving can seem ridiculous. Unfortunately for them, lack of experience in the self-love department coupled with first impressions of self-loving people can communicate the opposite of what self-love really is.
Here are just five of the most commonly believed myths about self-love.
Myth #1: Self-love is selfish
Self-love may have a lot to do with the “self,” but when practiced correctly, it’s anything but selfish. Think about self-love this way: If you can’t fill yourself up with love first, how will you be able to give any to others? When you love yourself, it positively affects your thoughts, feelings, and actions — meaning it also positively affects other people.
Surely, you can’t go around trying to be loved by everyone in hopes that it will make you love yourself. There’s nothing wrong with making yourself a priority while still being compassionate toward others. In fact, here are five ways self-love inspires selfless love.
“Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if you sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give and nobody will care for you.” — Karl Lagerfeld
Myth #2: Self-love means settling for less
Before you reach a state of unconditional self-love, you have to practice self-acceptance, and for many, this translates to giving up on working toward being better. It’s easy to assume that those who love themselves just as they are don’t care about improving themselves.
Believe it or not, you don’t have to give up one for the other. You can still love yourself now and work on self-improvement. Self-love is about recognizing that life is a journey, and that it’s worth embracing every stage of yourself, regardless of where you are right now.
“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” — Brené Brown
Myth #3: Self-love means being happy with yourself all the time
Because self-love is obviously a positive state, some people assume that once you start loving yourself, you literally have to be loving yourself constantly, no matter what. It’s as if self-love is supposed to be the big cure for self-judgment and self-criticism and all sorts of other negative behaviors. And if it isn’t, then people think they’re doing it wrong.
The truth is that self-love is messy and imperfect. It means falling back into old ways of thinking even after years of practicing self-love. There is no requirement to be content with yourself at all times — only that you can be aware of how you feel, whatever you’re feeling, and that you are willing to be self-compassionate during those darker times.
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely” — C.G. Jung
Self-love is more than what it seems on the surface. Just know that nobody can tell you exactly how to love yourself, because you are the only one who can discover that for yourself.