What does Self Love mean

Self -love is an outgrowth of self-discovery, self-acceptance, self-development, and self-care. You must first know who you are, be accepting of that, constantly develop yourself and care for yourself. All these four elements are important because you cannot love something you do not know intimately, you cannot love something you do not accept, you cannot love something you do not nurture, and you cannot love something you do not care for. Self love therefore is constant work, not an automatic state of being.

What is the difference between self-love and self-care?
Self-love is a mentality or an emotional landscape. If I love myself, then caring for myself will come easy. Therefore, self-care is the physical manifestation of how I already feel about myself. Self-love is an internal state of being whereas self-care are things or activities, I do or do not do, to show what I am already thinking or feeling about myself.

How can we practice self- love?
We master self-love through self-discovery, self-acceptance, self-development and self-care.
a) Self-discovery then involves self-reflection and self-introspection. Who am I? What makes me happy? What makes me tick? What makes me unhappy? It is a self-loving thing to do things that feel authentic to who you are and are aligned to your goals. You could do this by journaling, remembering who you used to be growing up, doing activities, and taking part in hobbies that you like and making a list of your values.
b) Self-acceptance means making peace with what you find out and not judging yourself, ridiculing yourself, hiding or minimizing yourself just to fit in or for the comfort of others. Here it helps to positively affirm yourself, hang around with like-minded people, creating a tribe or community where you feel comfortable being the finest expression of yourself.
c) Self-development is the recognition that you need to grow, change, learn and heal as an individual in order to thrive in life. So it is constant self-work, which could be academic, that is furthering your education, or networking and attending workshops. It could also be learning emotional skills such as how to be confident, how to master emotional intelligence, how to forgive in relationships etc. It could even be physical, e.g. challenging yourself to complete a marathon race, get into shape etc. Here things like making vision boards come in handy, being organised, sticking to set routines and time plans, reading, listening or watching motivational or inspiring material, forming new habits, getting accountability partners and making commitment cards etc.
d) Self -Care would be anything you do for yourself to bring you joy, peace and general wellness. Giving yourself what you are already giving others. Putting yourself first. Giving from your excess. Taking responsibility for yourself. Asking for help. Telling the truth. Activities such as making gratitude lists, celebrating your achievements, rewarding yourself, having fun, scheduling me time, where you just unwind and be with yourself maybe over a beverage of choice etc.

Why must we practice self -love?
We practice self-love because that is how we get to be functional, effective and progressive individuals. When you love yourself you are confident, assertive, discerning, can have healthy relationships, can complement others, are self-respecting and can thrive career wise, because you have got your back, you want the best for yourself and you put in the work required to get there. People who love themselves, have a great relationship with themselves, and are generally optimistic people, who enjoy life.

How does self-love and self-care contribute to Self-confidence?
Self-love leads to self-confidence because you accept who you are and nurture yourself, regardless of what others may be saying or doing around you, you feel comfortable in your own skin, you affirm yourself and do not need external validation. People who lack confidence are not in touch with themselves, and therefore need outside approval or permission to exist. Their life experiences are limited.

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