Today, I want to talk about the difference between self-love and self-care. And how to get to that place, where you are able to love yourself. It is not an easy thing. I bet you can see it when you look at the people around you. We are beating ourselves up, we are pressuring ourselves and are our own harshest critics. That does not sound like love, does it?
So how do you start loving yourself? Well, it’s not something that happens overnight. Like all really powerful and beautiful things in life, they tend to need time and care to grow. Sometimes, it seems like somebody suddenly changed overnight. But this way to go about self-love, instant-love, is rarely working out. And I would be tempted to say, that even sudden changes have been a long time in the making.
So what about self-care? Fairly straightforward: Self-care is the practical part and self-love is the goal we are striving for. Put into a metaphor, you could say, that self-love is the seed or flower – depending on the stage you are in – and self-care is what makes it grow and bloom.
What I’m saying here is very practical, hands-on: You need to practice self-care consistently to be able to generate gradually more self-love.
Here is the thing about love: you can’t just grasp it, attain it, and keep it safe. Love is not a thing. It is alive, ever expanding, it interacts and either it is love towards yourself or love towards others. At least these are the only ways we can experience love, live it, practice it – always in a dynamic way.
When we care about other people, that’s love in action! And only by actively doing so, can love be.
The part that creates the movement, which makes it possible for love to be experienced in a dynamic way, is self-care or care towards others. But since we are talking about self-love, the corresponding way to express and create more love is self-care.
Here is another thing about love: It grows exponentially! And the more love is expressed, the more love there will be. So out of love more love is born. Isn’t that just fabulous?
Now let’s tie this all together: With self-care, you can express and grow self-love at the same time. Because self-care is just the practical name of love. And with that love towards yourself, you’ll let the beautiful seed grow and bloom.
Self-care consists of many different subsets of actions. One of them, for example, is just being attentive towards yourself. Caring in this sense means focusing. Giving yourself the time and space to just be with whatever is. Not trying to fix anything, just getting to know yourself with an open heart and mind.
The message you get from interacting with yourself is kind of a backward thing. You hang out with yourself, and so you start believing, that you are “okay” to hang out with. After a while, it can shift to “nice” or even “lovely”. And at some point, you might feel great joy if you’re just being with what is you. Bit by bit your system starts rewriting the messages, it has gotten somewhere along the way of childhood and adolescence. It starts questioning the judgments you might have about yourself. Because after all, you can’t be that bad, if you want to actually spend time with yourself, right?
Self-care can also mean tending to your health, to your body, to what you need right now. Maybe there is an emotional wound, that needs more than just attention. Maybe being very gentle and soft-spoken in your internal dialogue will do the trick. The wounds always speak of healing. You just have to listen and be ready to give what you need.
So self-care can mean a lot of different things. And everyone has their own path to get to self-love. But first of all, it is really important to realize, that there can be no self-love without self-care. There is a road towards self-love and it is paved with care.
Do you take time daily or weekly to sit with yourself? To tend to your heart, to your wounds? Are you ready to take on the journey towards self-love? Check out options to work with me on this topic: http://lifewithmyself.com/talk-to-me
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