Self-love is often misunderstood by many as selfishness in disguise. Those who have been taught to always put the needs and wants of others before their own needs and wants have a hard time seeing how loving themselves more could benefit anyone else other than of course themselves.
In reality, self-love sets the foundation for what we need to wholeheartedly connect with others. It puts us in touch with the reality of how we are all the same and yet all so different at the very same time, and that we are all worth of love.
Confused? That’s okay! Here are a few good ways to start thinking about self-love and how it actually inspires you to be a more caring, selfless person toward others.
Awareness vs. Ego
Self-love comes from a place of awareness rather than ego.
Here’s the difference between awareness and ego: Awareness involves complete acceptance of both the good and bad about ourselves. This is often uncomfortable to do. Ego, on the other hand, makes love conditional by only accepting the stuff we like about ourselves.
Awareness comes from quieting the mind, which is why yoga can be of such great help to develop greater self-love. The ego, however, relies entirely on the mind and reveals itself in the form of that little voice that never shuts up, because it’s constantly calculating what it needs to do to inflate the perceived “good” qualities about ourselves while seeking to suppress, criticize, or fix the perceived “bad” qualities.
With greater self-love comes a greater capacity to take responsibility for how you influence others.
You can tell a narcissist apart from someone who truly loves themselves by what they do when they influence other people around them. Someone who has more narcissistic qualities might disregard other people’s negative reactions by either acting out, or considering it to be not their problem.
Self-loving people, however, know that they are responsible for regulating their actions and behaviors around others out of respect and empathy toward them. Even if they don’t like how another person reacts in response to what they themselves have said or done, a self-loving person will send them love and kindness anyway with complete awareness and acceptance of their differences.
Self-love requires self-compassion, which teaches you how to be more compassionate toward others too.
Self-compassion involves treating ourselves like our own best friend. To be compassionate toward ourselves, we have to be aware and accepting of all our emotions.
The more we become aware and accepting of all our emotions, the better we get at becoming aware and accepting of other people’s emotions as well. This is called emotional intelligence, and you can improve it in your very own yoga practice.
More Love to Give
When you truly love yourself, everyone you interact with benefits from the best version of you.
When you are happiest, and when you are embodying your most authentic self, the world gets to enjoy your gifts. Without filling yourself up first with enough love, you won’t have much to give.
This is why the types of people with more of a skewed view of selflessness are always running around trying to help everyone while they’re also always stressed out, anxious, drained, or even suffering from a number of physical ailments. They’re not aware of the love they need to give to themselves so that they can be their best versions first so they have more to share with everyone.
Embracing (Not Comparing) Our Differences
Loving your own uniqueness makes you appreciative of how unique everybody is.
People who are more concerned with their self-importance are blinded by their egos and are not really practicing true self-love. Self-love is an open-minded and fully accepting state not just of yourself, but of everyone else too.
When you realize how unique you are and that your uniqueness makes it impossible to compare yourself to any other person, you start to become more aware of just how much every other person you interact with is unique as well.
When you think about self-love in this kind of way, it makes a lot of sense in benefiting everyone else too. Sign up for our free self-love ebook (by scrolling up and entering your email address) for useful hints on how to strengthen your relationship with yourself.