Why Self-Love Is So Important?
by : Lola Malaika
Buddhist teachers, psychologists and Yogis often say that if you want to find happiness and peace of mind, you need to find peace within yourself. You need to allow yourself to quietly rest in the depths of your own being. But most essentially, you need to love yourself.
Do you love yourself?
In the West, most of us are never taught about the importance of self-love, neither at home, nor at school. We tend to confuse self-love with vanity, narcissism, arrogance or something egocentric. Rarely do we connect it with positive qualities, like self-confidence, inner harmony, or a sense of healthy pride. However, the lack of self-love is actually one of the main reasons why we stay in abusive relationships, hold onto the jobs we detest, and suffer from numerous health problems. Without a sense of grounding and integrity that self-love provides, we may be chronically unsatisfied with who we are and what we have achieved in life.
Self-love, known as Atma-Prema in Sanskrit, and Philautia in Ancient Greek, is the most natural and healthy state you can experience. It is a key to joy, which does not depend on other people, money, power, fame, social status, education, or even faith. It is just between you and you. Self-love allows you to be your own guru, your own best friend, your own psychologist, your own family, and your own endless source of love. Once you realize that, you instantly become more peaceful and compassionate towards everything and everybody, as you understand that there’s nothing missing in your life. Loving yourself makes your whole spirit expand.
How to cultivate self-love:
- Grounding. Ground yourself in your truth, your authenticity and your faith. Find a quiet place where you can contemplate, meditate, self-reflect and have an honest dialogue with yourself. Create a sense of intimacy with yourself and investigate the landscapes of your heart. To be able to love yourself, first of all you need to know who you truly are.
- Softening. Tap into your nervous system and see where you are located. If you constantly feel irritated, anxious, worried, tensed or stressed, it means that you probably persist in a defensive, sympathetic dominance—a “fight flight freeze” response. To counterbalance, you need to find some ways to “melt” your body-heart-mind and learn how to switch into parasympathetic restorative mode. “Melting” activities include Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Yin and Restorative Yoga, Art Therapy, Touch Therapy, sound healing, soothing breathwork, etc.
- Forgiveness and self-compassion. Can you forgive yourself for your mistakes and failures? Can you embrace them fully and then let them go? Think about life as a laboratory — a place where you experiment, practice and play. Learn to accept and process not only joy and success, but also your embarrassment, your darkness, your evil thoughts, and failures. It is a very raw and painful process, but simultaneously an extremely liberating one. Learning to forgive yourself and others can finally establish a sense of inner peace, which your heart longs for and deserves.
- Authentic self-expression. From childhood, we have been told multiple times to keep the mouth shut, sit down and wait, or behave “normally”. As a result, many people live with undercurrent fear to be authentic and express themselves fully. We often feel embarrassed to speak in public, or articulate our true emotions, desires and thoughts. It is time to liberate yourself from fear. Learn to wear what you want, say what you want, eat what you want, do want you want. Do not tolerate unnecessary pain or mistreatment. Reclaim your voice, your confidence, your creativity and your freedom. Allow yourself to be YOU.
In reality, the practice of self-love is more than just loving yourself. It is loving the essential inner self that resides at the center of all of us. Some call it soul, some call it spirit, some call it Buddha-Nature.
Self-love inspires you to recognize and reconnected to your cosmic, wild, honest, unlimited self. We all should celebrate our cosmic selves, because this is who we truly are.