It isn’t narcissism or conceit that we speak of when we talk of self love, but of a positive sense of the self. It is self esteem and acceptance of ourselves that we’re talking of here.
What is self love or self esteem?
We all have faults; but equally we have our special talents. To take all of this together and perceive yourself as competent, worthy, and to be able to experience emotions such as a quiet pride in our own achievements and abilities. Self love is also the belief that you are worthy of love from others.
According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, who formulated the human Hierarchy of Needs, self esteem is a vital prerequisitefor us to be able to achieve our potentialities; what Maslow termed as self actualization.
This self actualization is only possible if you believe yourself to be capable of realizing it.
What self love can do for us
Self love determines not only what we think of ourselves but also what we think of others and how we react to others around. If you are able to accept and love yourself, you are also able to be more loving and accepting of others.
If you are in a space where you are able to forgive the mistakes that you make, understand yourself and have compassion and respect for yourself, you are better able to bring the same emotions of worthiness to an interpersonal relationship.
When you perceive yourself as worthy, you are able to face life and its stresses with greater optimism, positivity and confidence. It isn’t just that a person is able to be successful in the material sense of the word, but also successful in the creative, spiritual and emotional sense of the word.
Why a lack of self love can be problematic
People with inadequate self esteem, may be overly critical of themselves and may berate their own efforts as poor. Let’s be clear here – this is not an excuse for mediocrity, only an acceptance of our very real abilities and doing the best job we can within those limitations; taking pride in doing our best.
Pessimism and negativity; an inability and even an unwillingness to enjoy life can also be a result of low self esteem. An inability to handle even positive criticism and being overly sensitive to what others say is also a mark low self love.
Low self love individuals tend to say “Yes” not because they want to help but because they are afraid of incurring disfavor and are over eager to please others.
Low self love can also manifest in a general hostility towards others – because if you’re disappointed with yourself, how pleased can you be with others? You can neither forgive yourself nor others for perceived transgressions.
Lack of self love tends to be at the bottom of several issues relating to body image and can even be triggering of addictions, relationship issues and self destructive behavior. It is only when you have adequate self esteem that you are able to enjoy a fulfilling and complete relationship with others and the world around you.