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5 reasons self-love is not selfish


Sometimes when people hear the word "self-love" they associate it with the word "selfish," but I'm here today to tell you that self-love is not selfish. Self-love is empowering and inspiring. It's something we should all do every single day. Loving yourself doesn't -- and shouldn't -- take away from loving others, as being selfish does. Self-love allows you to embrace who you are and, as a result, be come better at loving not only yourself but others.

While self-love can be defined as an excess in self-pride, I prefer to think of it in terms of a feeling of self-respect and self-worth. I believe the more you respect yourself, the more you respect the world around you and the more likely you'll be to live a positive life, therefore projecting positivity into the world. Of course, there will always be those that argue that self-love is narcissistic and that loving oneself too much is just plain selfish. For those haters, I'm sharing these five reasons why self-love is far from selfish.  


5 Reasons Self-Love Is Not Selfish

1. Having respect for yourself leads you to have respect for others. Ever wonder why some people are so mean and judgmental? More often than not it's because they don't love themselves and are taking out the way they feel about themselves on others. If you want to live selflessly, loving yourself first is a great place to start because the more you learn to respect and love yourself, the more you will love and respect others, which, ultimately, makes the world a much better place.


2. Celebrating positive things about you supports a positive attitude about others. The more you value yourself and celebrate the good things about yourself, the more you will want to celebrate the goodness in others. When you are constantly looking down on yourself or focusing on the negative, it can be really difficult to find the positive in the world and in those around you. If you bring yourself up, you'll be much happier -- and more likely to bring others up as well.


3. Taking care of your happiness first leaves your heart open to caring for others. Putting yourself first might seem like the absolute wrong way to care about other people, but it's the best step you can take to making sure those around you are at their happiest. Once your happiness is taken care of and you really learn to love yourself, you free up your emotional time and energy to love others and focus on them. Dwelling on self-doubt and self-hate significantly takes away from others so loving yourself is essential if you want to have the energy to care for other people in your life.


4. Believing in your own abilities allows you to pursue passions that can inspire others. Once you truly start believing in yourself and focusing on your positive qualities, you'll be able to pursue your passions and spend time doing what you love. When you allow yourself to be who you are and follow your heart, you will be able to share your passion with the world. The more you believe in yourself, the more you will open up and share with others -- and what you share just might be the very inspiration someone else needs.  


5. Loving yourself makes you a happier, kinder, more positive person. The basic truth is this: if you love yourself, you be happier. When you are happier, you will be nicer and kinder and more open to others. You'll be more loving and more willing to trust, enjoy, and celebrate other people. You'll look for the good in yourself and in others and, as a result, you'll have a better relationship with yourself and with the ones you love.


Though some might disagree, I firmly believe that loving yourself is an unselfish act because it leads to a more positive life for you -- and the more positive your life is, the more positive you'll be about the things and people around you. It's easy to find excuses when it comes to doing something good for yourself. You can think of plenty of reasons why you should be doing something for someone else instead. But don't let that little nagging voice in your head tell you that self-love isn't worth it or its unobtainable. It's possible for every single person to love him/herself, but it's up to the individual to make it happen. If you aren't already loving yourself and you have any doubts in your mind as to whether or not loving yourself is selfish, I hope this article has helped you realize that self-love is, in fact, an unselfish act. 

I'd love to hear your opinion.
Do you think self-love is selfish?  

the ABCs of self-love


Today marks the two-year anniversary of Positively Present's launch! Hard as it is for me to believe, it's been two whole years since I started this site. To celebrate the anniversary (and self-love month!), I'm bringing back one of my favorite posts: The ABCs of Loving Yourself. Because this was one of the most popular posts I've written, this leads me to believe  people really do want to love themselves -- and they may not be sure how to go about doing it. Most people are very aware of the fact that self-love can be a challenge. Faced with all sorts of external influences and internal pressures, its all too easy not to love ourselves. But, deep down, most of us really want to. We want to believe that we are worthwhile, that our lives have value, and that we are deserving of our own love. But that's much easier said than done.

Today I'm republishing those ABCs of loving yourself (with a few updates and modifications) with the hope that someone (or many someones!) will read these words and realize that s/he truly is deserving of his/her own love. I hope people will read these and recognize that the path to self-love is not an easy one -- but there are so many ways to get started down that road right now. Here are 26 ideas to help you get started...


Accept your body.

Sure, there are things you can change about your body, but, for the most part, you've got to work with what you've got. Remember: you are who you are. You should love yourself no matter what shape or size you are. You are awesome. You are beautiful. You are YOU. Don't ever forget that!

Be who you are.

You are not your body. The essence of you comes from within -- from your mind, your personality, your heart. I often find it hard to remember that I am not what I look like, but, when I remind myself of this, I realize there is so much more to me than appearance. 

Cultivate a health environment.


Put yourself in a healthier place. Keeping fresh fruits and veggies around, eating healthy, and exercising are great ways to love your body (and yourself!). And don't forget to take care of your mental health. Consider meditation to get your mind in a calmer, happier place. 

Dive into self love.


Okay, so you're having trouble loving yourself. You look in the mirror and think, "YUCK!" Try looking into self-help books or blogs that encourage positive thinking about life and, more specifically, about body image. Sometimes reading up on loving yourself can really help you put it into action.


Embrace your abilities.


Think about what you do well. Your body is only a part of who you are. You might be a great writer, a great athlete, an amazing parent. No matter what you are, there is more to you than your appearance. Embrace what you're good at and spend more time indulging in these activities.


Forget about comparisons.


Stop comparing yourself to others. No matter what you do, you probably will not ever look like Heidi Klum or Brad Pitt. But that's okay! You are beautiful in your own way and you will always and forever be you. Accept yourself, love yourself, and stop looking to others to see what you "should" look like.


Get moving!


I don't know about you, but when I get in a not-loving-myself funk, I don't want to do anything. I just want to lay aroun and think about how pathetic it is that I'm not doing anything by laying around. Break the cycle. Get off the couch and use that awesome bod!


Have hope. 

Even if you're struggling with self-love, don't give up hope. It might be hard right now, but the more effort and time you put into it, the more you will learn to love yourself. Hope is crucial when it comes to learning to love yourself. Believe in your own ability to achieve self-love. 


Indulge in what you love. 


Every so often let yourself eat or do whatever you wouldn't normally. I'm sure you've read this a million times, but if you completely cut yourself off from something, you're more likely to go nuts the next time it comes along so let yourself indulge every once and awhile.


Join something fun.


Joining a group (or even starting a blog, which feels like joining something) can really help you with your image of yourself. Meet new people. Try new things. Being happy in general can make you happier with how you look so check out some groups you can join.


Keep thinking positively.


Ah, my favorite! Keep thinking positively -- no matter what. So you gained 5 pounds. So you got an terrible haircut. So what. Keep thinking positively! No matter how bad you feel about yourself, there is always something good. Focus on the good, the positive, and push the negative from your mind.


Let go of your past.


You were a size two in high school. Sure, that's super, but you're not in high school anymore. Remind yourself that this is where you are now. You may have been something else in the past -- thinner, prettier, more muscular -- but here you are now. In the present. Love who you are right now.


Motivate yourself.


You are the best motivational tool you have. Other people might encourage you, but only YOU can really motivate yourself. Do whatever you have to to remind yourself how great you are. Read books. Get off the couch. Talk to friends. Do whatever you have to to motivate your inner desire for self love.


Never say never.


You're looking in the mirror moaning, "I will never lose this weight." You know what? You're right. With that attitude, you won't make any changes at all. You'll settle, thinking there's no hope, and you'll be unhappy. If you believe you can change something, you can. Never say never.


Open up to new ideas.


Try something different. If you're not in love with your look, try something new. New clothes. New makeup. New workout routine. Experimenting with new things isn't going to solve your body image issues (that comes from within), but you can give yourself a little boost by trying out something new.


Put on your best outfit.


For those of you who read the post "rainy days and mondays..." you know that sometimes just a change of clothes can change your perspective. Don't stay in sweatpants all day. Don't settle for average or blah or you will feel average and blah. Dress up. Put in the effort and you'll feel a lot better about yourself.


Question your perception.


You look in the mirror. You see ugly, fat, tired. But is that what's really there? As I talked about in my last post, your mind can really distort your thoughts. Sometimes what we see isn't what's really there. Keep the positive thoughts in the forefront. Avoid looking for the bad and try to keep a positive outlook.


Remember what you love.


You hate your stomach, but your love your eyes. You hate your arms, but you love your thighs. Focus on the good parts of you. We often spend so much time obsessing about what we don't like about ourselves that we forget to spend time thinking about what we do love. Make a list of your favorite parts of you (including those that aren't physical!).


Stop judging.


You are your worst critic. You are judging yourself much, much more harshly than anyone around you is. Stop it. Stop it right now. There is absolutely no good reason to critique yourself in a harsh or demeaning manner. Love yourself first and the world will love you too.


Take time for you.


Your body is the only one you have. Take time to pamper yourself. Do whatever you have to do to get some quality alone time. Take a bath. Take a walk. Take a vacation. Whatever you do, take some time to be alone with yourself, to rejuvenate your body and your mind.


Understand your needs.


What do you really need? What makes your body happy? When you exercise and eat healthy foods, does your body feel better? When you get plenty of rest, do you wake up refreshed? Think about what your body asks for and give it what it needs. The better your body feels, the better you will feel about it.


Vacate your mind.


As Chania Girl mentioned in the comments section of the post "13 ways you distort your thoughts," sometimes we become prisoners in our own minds. Sometimes we obsess about our looks and our appearance to the point that it's unhealthy. If you're doing this, stop. Get out of your mind and free yourself.


Watch what you say.


Are you always saying to your friends, "Ugh, I look terrible." or "This make me look fat?"? If so, think about what you're saying. The more negative things you say about yourself, the more you will start to really believe what you're saying (and others might too). Try, just once, saying, "Wow, I look great!"


X-ray your desires.


Think about -- I mean, really think about -- why you want that piece of chocolate cake or that new handbag. Will external things make you feel better? You bet! But the feel-good feelings are only temporary. Lasting happiness comes from within so give some thought to what you really want.


Yank yourself out of a routine.


Routines can be deadly. They set us in patterns that feel old and tired, that make us feel as if we are old and tired. Some routines are good and necessary, but what routines do you have in your life that aren't good? What can you do to change them, to make them more positive experiences?


Zap any negative thoughts.


Last but certainly not least! Getting rid of negative thoughts about yourself and your body is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Whatever you need to do to do this, do it. Read books. Go on a retreat. Get rid of negative people in your life. Whatever you do, be positive about you!


As so many of us know, self-love is a hard thing to master. Too often, we have issues about our appearance and body that hinder us from thinking positively about ourselves. It is essential that we rid our lives of negative self-talk and, instead, focus on what is wonderful about the people we are. If you aren't doing so right now, start loving yourself. It is the first and most important step to living a positive, present life.



are you sabotaging your own happiness?

To truly love yourself, you have to support your own happiness. You have to be 100% behind yourself, supporting your own actions, choices, and decisions. If you don't think that accurately describes you, you've got some work to do! First and foremost, you must believe that your happiness is worthwhile. As Buddha has said, "You, as much as anyone in the universe, deserve your love and affection." And in order to do that, you must value your own happiness. 

Sad as it is to say, too many people are actually sabotaging their own happiness -- and most of them are doing so unknowingly. In life, there are many things we cannot control. We cannot control other people. We cannot control the weather. We cannot control some of the circumstances we find ourselves in. But we can control is ourselves. And too many of us are not taking our own happiness into account -- a sure sign that we're not giving ourselves the love and affection we deserve. 

Take a look at this list of questions and answer them honestly. Don't just breeze through them. Really think about them and ask yourself if you find yourself doing these things. 


Do you always say "yes"?

Do you always say "no"?

Do you take on too much? 

Do you waste time on things that make you unhappy? 

Do you spend time with people who cause you unhappiness? 

Do you sleep too much? Not enough? 

Do you eat foods that will keep you healthy and strong? 

Do you speak to yourself with a tone of self-love? 

Do you spend enough time laughing every day? 

Do you believe in yourself? 

Do you surround yourself with those that believe in you? 

Do you spend time outdoors, in nature, or with animals? 

Do you read and/or learn about subjects you're interested in? 

Do you feel inspired? 

Do you strive to inspire other people? 


How do you feel after you asked yourself these questions? Do you realize now that you could be sabotaging your own happiness? While it's quite easy to blame things or people or situations, more often than not, it is we who bring ourselves down by doing too much or not doing enough. If you want to be able to give the world all you have to offer, you have to take a step back from how you're living and really examine your answers to these questions. Do you like the answers you see? If not, what can you do to change them?

Though it may be hard to admit, there's a chance that you're standing between yourself and happiness. It's up to you to take a good, hard look at these questions and understand what you need to change in your life. If you want to love yourself, you have to treat yourself with love. You have to live a life that inspires you and leaves you feeling fulfilled, not drained and unhappy. Choose to love yourself by choosing not to stand in the way of your own happiness.