Whitney Houston once sang that “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all” A wonderful phrase but have you ever tried doing it?

The ancient Greeks differentiated between:

•    Eros (romantic, passionate love)
•    Philia (affectionate love)
•    Agape (selfless, universal love)
•    Storge (familiar love)
•    Mania (obsessive love)
•    Ludus (playful love)
•    Pragma (enduring love)
•    Philautia (self-love)

The Greeks understood that to care for others, we must first learn to care for ourselves.

As Aristotle said, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.”  The critical word in understanding self-love is “Care” because, if you have not learnt to care for yourself, care for others is not possible, and things fall into some level of neediness and dependency. In order to care for yourself; you first need to honour the value you represent in your creation.

Once you can recognise your worth, you can positively see your contribution and recognise others’ value. Recognising your contribution allows you to build a community. We often hear trite sounding comments such as: “You have to love yourself more.” “If you only loved yourself, this wouldn’t have happened to you.” “You can’t love another person until you love yourself first.” These statements explain the colour blue to a colour blind person if you have not had a personal experience of self-love.Gaining consciousness of loving yourself is a learning experience that deepens over time.

The relationship with yourself is the one relationship where you have no choice over who you will get. When you are born into a family, you still choose who your primary relationship will be with, or you can always select multiple parental figures. You don’t get to choose your family members, but you can still decide how much you will interact with them. You can choose your friends, and you can choose not to be friends with them. When it comes to being with you, you will get what you are going to get, and there is no escaping. You are stuck with you twenty-four seven.

It is easy to focus on what is missing, which does not work when you compare yourself to others. There is likely to be somebody better than you in almost every aspect of you, and by the same token you will almost always find someone that is worse off in every comparison.  There must be a reason why each one of us is so unique.

I don’t have a conclusive answer, but it makes sense to suggest that you have arrived here with all the capacity to fulfil your potential completely, regardless of what you and I may perceive as missing or broken in ourselves. The journey of self-love starts with self-acceptance and then self-care.

Self-love isn’t something you can obtain through a beauty or wardrobe makeover, nor can you get more of it by reading something inspirational? No-one else can make you love yourself more.

Self-love is not merely a state of feeling good. It is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to:

•    Accept our weaknesses as well as our strengths,
•    Have less need to explain away our shortcomings,
•    Have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning,
•    are more centered in our life purpose and values,

Here are seven ways to cultivate self-love

1. Become mindful. People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel, and want. They are aware of who they are and act on this knowledge, rather than on what others want.

2. Act on what you need rather than what you want. You love yourself when you can turn away from immediate gratification to what you need to stay strong, centred, and moving forward in your life, instead. By visiting focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behaviour patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.

3. Practice good self-care. You will love yourself more when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions.

4. Set boundaries. You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.

5. Protect yourself. Bring the right people into your life. There isn’t enough time in your life to waste on people who don’t want the best for you. Most often it’s better just to let these people go.

6. Forgive yourself. We humans can be so hard on ourselves. The downside of taking responsibility for our actions is punishing ourselves too much for mistakes in learning and growing. You have to accept your humanness before you can truly love yourself. Remember, there are no failures; if you have learned and grown from your mistakes; there are only lessons learned.

7. Live intentionally. You will accept and love yourself more, whatever is happening in your life when you live with purpose and design. Your purpose doesn’t have to be crystal clear to you. If you intend to live a meaningful and healthy life, you will make decisions that support this intention, and feel good about yourself when you succeed in this purpose. You will love yourself more if you see yourself accomplishing what you set out to do. You need to establish your living intentions, to do this.

If you choose just one or two of these self-love actions to work on, you will begin to accept and love yourself more. Just imagine how much you’ll appreciate you when you exercise these seven-steps to self-love. The more self-love you have for yourself, the better prepared you are for healthy relating. Even more, you will start to attract people and circumstances to you that support your well-being.
As always C Beyond Health is here to serve you as far as:

  • The highest quality supplements
  • Personal recommendations
  • Live blood analysis
  • Organic- non-GMO-, vegan-friendly, gluten-free foods
  • Life coaching to guide you through these tough times for and even more health and wellness.

Come see your health differently. Visit our website or come and see us in the Hemel and Aarde Village (call 028 316 2848) or Eastcliff Village (call 028 312 4299).