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An often-asked question is: what is self-love? There are many other questions surrounding it. The other day I was asked if self love is akin to being selfish? The simplest answer is: Self-love is knowing yourself.

Understanding self-love

Self-love is not selfishness, as we understand selfishness. We are many beings at once in this physicality, in the sense, we are living many aspects of the self, shaped and driven by the external environment that impacts the internal and vice versa. In all of these, the feeling of fragmentation comes as you play different roles in different situations. Within that, the oneness/unity with self is lost in trying to fulfil the demands and expectations of others, as well as fitting your own therein.

In all this ‘mayhem’ the connection with self is lost. It is like being plugged to too many station signals all at once and feeling the chaos of it all.

Self-love is bringing self-connection back, in the way of re-claiming it. It is uniting with self (at the heart), like it’s your birthright. Self-love is unity with self; it is like coming back home (within the heart centre). It is living the innate goodness that is present in the heart.

Individuals tend to feel guilty in expressing self-love, in saying: “I love myself.” Actually, guilt lies in the way self-love is defined. For example, putting your needs above others at home/family front may invoke feelings of guilt, however, in living your needs with them, one will not feel guilty. It is possible to fuse and merge your wants and needs with others. That brings joy. Else, the feelings of isolation can take over.

Dents on self-love

Any limiting feeling, such as that of isolation and/or self-judgement, puts a dent on self love. How can an individual get out of a negative feeling to enjoy self-love? This can be done by neutralising your emotions, that is, by lowering your expectations from a person, situation or an experience.

Expectations breed contempt, agony, suffering and ill-will. Self-love can be explored by dropping expectations from others as well as from the self. To explain this further, when you take a certain action and expect some result, you sit (and you sit heavy) on that expectation but when the outcome is not as per your expectation, you start dwelling in notions of judgement, failure or blame: “he/she or I am not good enough, nor not worthy or not capable.” You get the picture, these feelings hurt your love for yourself. This is distancing yourself from you.

Go back and connect with yourself: “I am capable.” “He/she is capable”, “I or /he/she is worthy.” “I am my potential.” “He/she is their potential.” “I am my limitless possibilities.” “I am me in my grandness and purity, All things are possible.” These are pieces of your self-love.

You have to come home (that is, gather yourself in your heart centre) and piece them together to be in unity, in wholeness and in totality, to re-claim all the positives that you are. Living with positives is living with self-love. Self-love is far from selfishness. Self-love, or the love for self, is discovery of self and the potentialities that are hidden in you.

Self-love is healing

Self-love is also an opportunity to repair your past memories should the need be felt. Issues of guilt, regret, longing often stops us from sitting and conversing with self. Processing such emotions is exhausting. Indeed so. Therefore, there is no need to process, that is, live it. It is not required. What is required though is to go back- as an observer- to extract your learnings from it and walk out. That is it.

The past can’t be changed. What can be shaped is the present and the future. The learnings of the past are to be employed in the present and future to make them both better. This is course correction and shedding of the baggage of the past. In this repair, one can live and experience self-love.

Disclaimer: Urmila Rao is a chakra balancing meditation coach, Theta Healer and a sound therapist. All the ideas expressed herein are her own and not professional advice or medical prescription. She can be reached at: