Why Self-Love Isn’t Selfish


People often wince at the idea of loving themselves. They think of Narcissus gazing at his reflection in a pool and imagine self-love is selfish. Selfishness, though, is different to positive self-regard. When you are selfish, you put your needs first, even if doing so hurts someone else. When you love yourself, you open your heart and teach yourself how to love others.

How self-love primes you to be selfless

People who don’t love themselves can love others, but huddled in the back of their minds dwells neediness. Until their need for self-acceptance and compassion is satisfied, they search outside themselves, attempting to become whole. They give love with strings attached rather than unconditionally. As a result, everyone who becomes emotionally entangled with them faces the impossible task of meeting their needs.

Self-love promotes expansive, unconditional love for others. When you know you are worthy and understand how to meet your emotional needs, then you are free to love without strings. People you care for benefit from the unconditional love you give as it helps them feel lovable, and they begin to love themselves too.

How to love yourself

Self-love isn’t about admiring your reflection or thinking you are better than other people. It’s about appreciating and cherishing yourself. When you recognize you are valuable, your confidence shines and attracts positivity. To love yourself more, view yourself through someone else’s eyes. When you look at yourself this way, your sight is unobstructed by insecurity and illusions of worthlessness.

See through the eyes of someone you admire but don’t know. Pick someone who embodies qualities to which you aspire and imagine stepping in their shoes to become them. How would you describe your qualities as seen via the character you’ve chosen?

No doubt, your self-perception will alter positively, and you’ll recognize you are valuable. Self-compassion may even arise in your heart. If so, sit with the feeling for a while and allow it to expand. Practice the exercise several times a week. Also, use your inner voice to speak kindly to yourself, offering forgiveness when you make mistakes and praise at other times.

Be your best friend from now on rather than relying on anyone to improve your emotional state. Encourage yourself to stretch outside your comfort zone and carry out acts of self-care. Take time for fun and pleasure and discover how to make yourself happy.

Self-love, far from being selfish, allows you to love others unconditionally. You’ll learn to stop relying on people to make you whole. Instead of wanting those you care about to jump through hoops to please you, you’ll show them how to love themselves and be happy like you.