Self-Love. What is self love? To put it very simply is to describe it as  loving oneself. However, when you really ponder on it and think deeply about it, you'll realize it encompasses a whole lot. I once heard that to know what something is, it is wise to first identify what it is not. Self-love is not pride, it's not arrogance, it definitely is not selfishness, neither is it narcissism. It is much more than all of those. The art of self love is to first know oneself, it's to know who you are and who you're not. It is also about making necessary decisions to further better yourself, it is to consciously choose happiness.

Personally, there are a few things, I have learnt over the years, either from experience or by observation; things and decisions that are about valuing oneself. For instance, there comes a time in your life when you have to stop conforming and living up to society's standards. The point where you stop living your life based on what others think about you. Don't get me wrong, I still believe a lot in wise counsel. I also don't believe you should have an absolute disregard for what people think. Moderation is just really key. By the way, the way to go about that is not to be screaming all over internet and cyberspace about how you don't care what people say about you. Honey, if you have to remind us every second of every minute of every hour of every day that you do not care about what people say, you probably do. That being said, conforming to society's standards is not ideal.
Speaking of society and people, loving yourself also means deleting toxic people from your life. Perhaps, this should have come first but it's in no order anyway. There's no way you can love yourself and still, you constantly allow any type of person(s) walk into your life and treat with you with utter disrespect. Sometimes, it really is not malice, you just realize that this person brings you nothing but trouble and stress. For your own sake, just quietly excuse such people from your life. If there is one thing I now know for sure about friendship, it is that it is mutual. If you give yourself emotionally into a relationship and the other person just constantly takes advantage of you, it is time to walk away. Evaluate your relationships and make sure that they are worthwhile. Life can be long, there's no point wasting it on people who don't matter.

Another thing I have learnt, this one from experience is the importance of God in your life. Believe me when I say if you have any iota of love for yourself, you will cling to God. It is not about just being a Christian, it is about living a life pleasing to God. It is about consciously making the decision every time to have a relationship with him. It probably is better for you to be cold than to be lukewarm. Because even the bible says that God will spit out lukewarm people. Don't just have a lip service, make sure your heart isn't far away from God. This will be evident in how you live your life and the daily decisions you make.

Loving oneself takes a lot of commitment and dedication. It is absolutely necessary. Even though, most times you probably don't just get up one morning and decide that hey from today, I gotta start loving myself. Eventually, you'll realize from certain actions that you are truly falling in love with who you are. When you see yourself embracing both your weaknesses and your strengths; when you realize your determination to improve yourself, you love yourself. I like to sometimes think it comes with age, or should I say maturity? For instance, I recently realized that even though I am not on any particular diet, I have become more conscious about what goes into my stomach. I have not cancelled anything from my diet, except maybe Coke and Pepsi—which I stopped taking years ago—but I try to be sensible about what I consume. And I don't even have a weight problem. I have found that most of the time, what really just happens is that many of us lack the necessary discipline to control ourselves. Look at Gabourey Sidibe. She is obese and I do not mean that to spite her. There is no way anyone can convince me that the young woman doesn't despise herself. Her weight issue is a cause for concern, yet anytime it is brought up, she makes obnoxious remarks about how she doesn't care what people think. The last straw that broke the camel's back was when she said people could go on insulting her size/weight, what matters is she's rolling in jets and spending lots of money, some of those people will never have. What?! I do not not have a medical degree, but I can not count on one hand the number of diseases I think she is susceptible to just by the reason of her weight. I know some people may have gone overboard with insulting her, but I also know that it is important for her to be healthy. I did not say slim, I said healthy. As long as you are fit and healthy, good. Loving yourself is knowing that you need to take care your self; mind, soul and body.

Inspire yourself. Educate yourself. READ. I can not emphasize on that enough. You don't necessarily have to read fancy books; read articles that engage your mind, take random quizzes and puzzles, engage in intellectual discourses and  constructive debates. This of course is not an exhaustive list. There are many more ways to constantly love yourself, some of which I am still learning. What I know without a doubt though is that there is absolutely no way you can love someone else, without first loving yourself.


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