Self-Love – What Does That Even Mean?

jenny-sansouciThe other night, my roommate and I realized that P!nk was in town, playing a show right by our apartment. We had a mild freak out and started looking up tickets immediately. As we looked, we realized that her tour was called “The Truth About Love Tour.”

“P!nk…she just gets it!!” I exclaimed while running across the apartment to plug my iPhone into the speakers. We excitedly played our favorite P!nk songs for each other and pointed out the lyrics that really hit us like an arrow through the heart.

Of course, the only natural thing for us to do at that point was sit down on the couch and have an epic talk about love (this happens pretty frequently at my apartment). There’s just something about music that helps us to understand ourselves and our relationships better, to go a little deeper.

While we were talking through how we feel about romance and men and love, my roommate said to me, “you know, I think it just all comes down to practicing more self-love.”

“Ugh,” I thought. “Not that again.” I think I actually smirked.

It seems like the answer when it comes to navigating relationships is always this abstract thing called self-love. It’s not like I have a problem with the concept… it’s just that I never really know how to actually put that into practice. I need tactical solutions. I know some people say to stand in front of the mirror and say “I love you” to yourself 50 times a day, but that has never really been my thing.

I started wondering. What are the actual practices that go into self-love? If self-love is really the answer, I would get to the bottom of it.

I tried to think of the times when I practiced more self-love than usual, and I started to realize a few things.

When I feel like I’m about to get sick and my immune system is low, I eat the cleanest, most beautiful foods and juices, I am extra gentle with myself, I read books, I wrap myself in blankets, I light candles, I rest. Those things feel like acts of self-love.

When I know I’m going to see a guy I’m interested in, the few days before I see him, I always treat myself with extra care. I keep my apartment sparkling clean. I get a manicure and pedicure. I eat foods that I know will keep me feeling my best. I exercise daily. I sit in a sauna and sweat until I feel refreshed and renewed. I take radically good care of myself. Those things feel like acts of self-love.

Ok, so now I have a glimpse of what self-love can actually look like as a practice. But why do I practice self-love the most when I’m in “damage control” mode… or worse, when I’m really just doing it for someone else? Yikes! What would it be like if I treated myself like that all the time – for no particular reason… except that I just want myself to feel good? I think my life would transform.

I decided right then and there that I would try a new experiment. When I wake up each day, I’ll get out my journal write – “What would it look like if I radically loved myself today?”

So I’ll go from there. I have a feeling that maybe, just maybe… I might find out the truth about love. 🙂

What does self-love actually look like for you? When do you find yourself practicing self-love the most? What might happen if you practiced it more often?

Love,

Jenny

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Jenny Sansouci is the publisher of HealthyCrush.com and health coach for Dr. Frank Lipman in New York City. She’s a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition with a certificate in Food Therapy from the Natural Gourmet Institute. Her intention is to share the most life-enhancing, vibe-raising resources she can find! Follow her adventures on instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

  • George

    Self love equals self worth. In other words knowing your value and never putting yourself secondary to anything or anyone else or compromising your life. It doesn’t have anything even to do with trying because if you are truly in a place of self love having an untidy apartment etc just would not be comfortable for an individual.

    • Thanks, George! I agree. Most days, though, I need tactical practices to get me in the self love mindset. 🙂

    • Guest

      I think it’s meaning is different for everyone.

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for sharing, George! -TDL Team

  • Self love starts with self compassion and talking to myself at least as nicely as I talk to the dog or cat… 😀

    • Sylvia

      That’s simple but great advice 🙂

    • Obsessed with that, Todd! So funny and true.

  • Love

    Yes. Self love. To me it is knowing my limits and respecting them. It is moments of true self acceptance of my true nature not of my egos self image. It is forgiveness. It is choosing to see things with love. And it is papering too!

    • Knowing your limits and respecting them. That’s so good.

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for sharing! -TDL Team

  • sue

    Accepting yourself, flaws and all.

    • Aw…

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for commenting, Sue! -TDL Team

  • You are so beautiful and sweet! I love your advice. I agree that I take the best care of myself when I’m coming down with something or getting ready to see someone I care about. Thank you for your advice today and I plan on trying more of this self-love out. Have an amazing day! – Kilee

    • Thanks, Kilee! I’m with you.

    • The Daily Love

      We love hearing this, Kilee! Thanks for reading -TDL Team

  • Jill

    Sometimes the answer(s) are derived from reflecting upon and answering one powerful question. Thanks for putting it out there and reminding me “Less is more” ♥

    • Yeah! Totally. Just asking yourself the question is super powerful.

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for reading, Jill! 🙂 -TDL Team

  • David H. Breaux

    Hi Jenny and readers,

    Self-Love=the maxim “Know ThySelf.” Then, all other life details fall into place.

    With compassion,
    David H. Breaux

    • Thanks David. Getting to know myself a little better every day.. 🙂

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for commenting, David! -TDL Team

  • Ema Baksa

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and helping us become better at self love. Also, welcome to The TDL family. 🙂 xo

    • Thank you Ema!! Happy to be here. 🙂

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for helping us welcome Jenny to the family, Ema! -TDL Team

  • Jeanne

    Thank you so much for shedding some “tactical” light on this area. I love the concept as self-love as a practice/process and not just a means to an end. Brilliant! Self-love to me is a moment to moment choice to feel good. One practice I have is SLOW DOWN to find some space where I can be more compassionate in my thinking, more empathy towards my efforts and more love towards simply existing. Jenny, thank you for sharing your beautiful insights with us! xx

    • More love towards simply existing. This is brilliant. Thanks Jeanne. 🙂

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for reading, Jeanne! -TDL Team

  • Guest

    Sometimes I feel selfish when I practice self love. I get a massage monthly and it’s always been for the stress I store in my right shoulder and thoracic area and it relieves the pain and soreness for a couple of weeks. I also know that it’s a good health practice, because it releases toxins. I like to shop too, but what gal doesn’t. I feel guilty because I want to look nice. Not for someone else, but for me. I exercise and eat as clean as I can possibly afford to, and it’s not cheap. Not for someone else, but for me. I get up early to workout and to mediate and read ACIM, because my spiritual practice is important to me. Not for someone else, but for me. I’m probably a bit obsessive about the number on the scale, but I want to be healthy. Not for someone else, but for me. So I guess the practice of self love in my world is the desire to maintain health so that you can be there for others. The guilt? There shouldn’t be any. Everyone needs to do what makes them feel good so that they in turn can be better for others, and not feel guilty about it. Then you can be ready to rock and roll when an opportunity to serve steps into your path. Thank you Jenny.

    • Thank you for sharing your self-love practices. I agree we shouldn’t have any guilt when doing nice things for ourselves. I once heard someone say “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.” If we stay ready to rock and roll, we don’t always have to scramble to get ready when things do show up. 🙂

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for reading and sharing 🙂 -TDL team

  • akire

    means not criticizing my self, being compassionate with myself, accepting myself just as I am human. fall down getup keep going. Taking care of my body mind and spirit being kind to my self.

    • I love that. Fall down, get up, keep going. <3

    • The Daily Love

      We love it! Thanks for sharing 🙂 -TDL Team

  • Hadley Gustin

    Another powerful, blog, Jenny! Really well put, and I love the topic and the questions you ask. I find self-love in the conversations I have with myself (in my head, of couse, lol!) and in the choices I make daily. For example, deciding to get more beauty rest, drink more water, practice yoga when I’m feeling sluggish, etc… are all acts of self-love. When I consciously talk to myself (in my head, of course, lol!), I’m always saying the most positive things that break the auto-pilot cycle of negativity. That is self-love. I guess what I’m trying to say is that self-love to me is finding the courage to act and behave as you genuinely and authentically would in any given moment. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be gentle with yourself all the time or run yourself ragged either. Instead, it’s in making the choice to be ourselves as often as possible that we truly express self-love. 🙂

    • Thank you, Hadley! Love your insights. My roommate said to me today, “self love is fluid. It doesn’t always mean doing everything on your to do list and it doesn’t always mean taking time to rest on the couch. It looks different every day.” Very good. Very good.

    • The Daily Love

      Thanks for sharing, Hadley 🙂 -TDL Team

  • draagen

    I have spent most of my life self-loathing, rather than self-loving. I’ve understood the importance of self-love, but had a hard time DOING it. I finally made real progress when I considered how I treated others I loved, and started treating myself the same way. Compassion, patience, understanding, encouragement, kindness, honesty, gentleness; all these became part of my deliberate practice, and the more consistently I DID it, the more I FELT loving toward myself.

    • That’s so sweet. I totally relate to that, treating people I love better than myself sometimes. Gentleness is a tough one for me but I’m working on it. 🙂

    • The Daily Love

      So great to hear! Thanks for reading! -TDL Team

  • KT

    For me getting a bit of therapy naturally cleared all the negative chatter away but identifying and underlying fear I’d been carrying for years. It’s been amazing to notice the difference in how I treat myself and then others automatically too.

    • Talking it through w/ someone is totally the best way to come to new insights and realizations. Therapy for the win!

    • The Daily Love

      Happy for you! Thanks for sharing 🙂 -TDL Team

  • hello

    Self love for me looks like taking time, listening to my body and asking, what do I need now? Do I have high energy or low energy. If I have low energy just resting, if high maybe doing something exciting. It also means saying no appropriately. Thanks!

    • That’s good — resting when you have low energy. I usually try to power through or have caffeine — both strategies end up making me more depleted in the long run. And yeah, saying no is the best. Thanks!

    • The Daily Love

      Listening to your body is so important… We agree! Thanks for reading 🙂 -TDL Team

  • Kendra W

    I love that through self awareness you discovered your self love often stemmed from when you were practicing it for others. I think you and I have that in common. And I’m looking forward to putting your strategy in place for my own life 🙂

    • Awesome, Kendra. Excited for you. Well, excited for us both. 🙂

    • The Daily Love

      So great to hear, Kendra 🙂 -TDL Team

  • choosing love

    I started to really start practicing self love when I decided to consciously CHOOSE LOVE daily since the end of August when I would read an inspiring reason to CHOOSE LOVE on a daily index card. I numbered the cards from 1-31 and each day headed the card with I CHOOSE LOVE and then I would write why, it might have been something inspirational I had read or sometimes something that I needed to get out. It is now December and I started a new set of index cards as I had been recycling my last batch. It puts me in that frame of mind to start my day and I have to say, what you focus on expands, I feel the shift, life has been throwing me some heavy stuff lately but I feel myself being able to accept it easier than I could ever have imagined a few months ago. I battled with rejection, abandonment, loneliness, heartache but rare is the person who hasn’t. Understanding the wise words of THIS TO SHALL PASS helps me as I wake up to choosing love daily…Thank you TDL for everyone you bring to us to inspire and help us all evolve to be better in this ever changing World…HUGS

    • Wow….super powerful practice! I love that, thank you for sharing with us.

    • The Daily Love

      Love reading your thoughts on Jenny’s post! Have a great day 🙂 -TDL Team

  • Mistermal

    If you don’t love yourself, what’s the use of someone loving you?