What is self-love? Self-love is not the same as narcissism. It is simply an acknowledgement of one’s own happiness or advantage and working towards achieving it. Self-love or ‘love of self’ is a basic human necessity and should not be regarded as a moral flaw, akin to vanity and selfishness. It is synonymous to the French amour-propre concept. According to philosopher Jean Jacques Rosseau, amour de soi or, self-love is primitive and compatible with wholeness and happiness, while amour-propre is an unnatural form of self-love that arise from societal approval. Rosseau felt that amour-propre is a corrupt concept that leads to vice and misery. Why is self-love necessary? Most people consider perfectionism as the greatest form of self-love. It is because society wants us to be perfect and devoid of any flaws. However, what society does not teach is that life is full of flaws and nobody is perfect. It is the acceptance of one’s true self with all the flaws and defects is what self-love actually is. Self-love helps one come out of depression and anxiety strongly. Although there are many negative connotations to the term self-love, there is no harm in loving oneself. It teaches you to be independent so that you take care of yourself better instead of depending on others to do it for you. Self-love also encourages you to develop healthy habits: loving one’s body, soul and mind. Thus, people who love themselves often refrain from doing something that might bring upon negative impact as a consequence. Another benefit of loving oneself is that it encourages you to take care of your mental health. It helps in reducing anxiety, stress and lessens procrastination, thereby allowing you to perform more productive work. How to practice self-love? A bad day does not mean you are unworthy of a good life. An unfortunate year does not signify that you do not deserve to be happy. So, whenever you are going through a tough time, make sure to smother yourself with love and affection. Here are a few ways to practice self-love: Begin each day by affirming yourself with something positive, no matter how tough a time you are going through. Tell yourself how well you handled the situation or, how lovely you look today. Compliment yourself with something that will make you smile. Remember to hydrate yourself frequently and take in plenty of healthy food that will nourish your body and help you get past the day. Exercise, not because you should look beautiful for others, but because your body requires blood circulation for leading a healthy and long life. Even a 10-minute run should do wonders to your body and mind. Stop believing everything that your intrusive thoughts say about yourself. Your inner critic is evil and lacks zero positivity. Surround yourself with affectionate and caring people who enjoy your company; take compliments with a smile and express your gratitude without shyness. Stop comparing yourself with others for there is a place for only one person like you and that is you. Hence, comparing yourself with others is not practically logical. Step away from restrained and toxic relationships that hurt you. Your self-worth and happiness are worth way more than holding on to a toxic relationship. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how insignificant it is. Remind yourself how proud you are for achieving even the smallest things so that you can encourage yourself to achieve something more significant. Encourage yourself to be adventurous and step out of your comfort zone and try something new. The feeling of achieving something unexpected is wholesome. Embrace your flaws and what makes you different. Do not let the beauty and lifestyle magazines fool you with their perfectly shaped models. The human body is not meant to be perfect and that’s what makes you beautiful. Take some time off your day to sit back and relax. Meditate, for it brings close to yourself. Strive to achieve your passion, something you always wanted but refused to believe that you actually can get it. Patience is the key. Be patient and persistent to yourself and slowly watch yourself evolving; you cannot bring about any tremendous change in a single day. Be true to yourself; be mindful of what you think, want and feel. Treat others the way you want others to treat you: with kindness and respect. Be grateful for your existence and for battling a day and coming out of it unscathed: find at least one thing to be grateful for in a day. Feel free to ask for help from friends and family whenever you feel stuck in a loop. There’s no loss of self-esteem if you ask for help. Learn to say NO to people, even if they are extremely close to you. Your comfort should be your priority. Learn to get over your mistakes and forgive yourself. Try remembering three embarrassing situations of others. We are sure you don’t remember. Similarly, others do not remember your embarrassments as well. Write down how you feel every day, especially memories or ideas that hurt or haunt you. Releasing the thought out of your mind helps you to relax. Spend time with yourself: grab a cup of coffee, tea, wine and sit down for a few minutes to connect with yourself without distractions. Come to terms with your past trauma and try to acknowledge it. Find a corner that is absolutely yours: your happy place, where you can sit and spend time without getting bored. Make efforts to amend with old relations who still matter to you. Have fun with yourself: watch a movie all by yourself, snuggle under a blanket and just feel self-sufficient. 5 habits of self-love every woman should practice Self-help books are a great start to learn about self-love techniques, especially, if you are a woman. For years, women are taught to be somebody’s mother, daughter or wife. Eventually, society expects women to compromise and sacrifice at the cost of the happiness of their loved ones. In fact, many women still believe that womanhood is all about motherhood, being a caring and loving wife and take care of the family. It’s time that women understand their self-worth and start caring for themselves without depending on others for appreciation. Here’s how women should learn to love themselves: Independence: Being financially independent is liberating. You do not have to explain to your sponsor where and how you spend your money.Make mistakes: Just because society considers women to be perfect does not mean you are perfect. Nobody is. Make mistakes and learn from them.Your outward appearance does not sum up your value: You are worth much more than you think you are. Eat those extra carbs without guilt. Trust yourself and your instincts: Learn to be independent. Make your own decisions without depending on the male members in your life. Put yourself above everybody else: If you need some rest, sit back and relax. If you feel uncomfortable at certain public or private occasions, voice your opinions. Talk about politics, finance, business because that forms the backbone of our country and you must know about it. Pat your back and love yourself a little bit every day!