In today's time, it's easy to declare love. I love Rihanna. I love Apple. I love pizza. I love traveling. I love the last Avengers movie. Even I love you, to another person. At the same side, we find ourselves saying "I love myself" in our own thoughts or to other people, in the hope of convincing them that we do indeed love ourselves. To prove that sentiment, we buy Rihanna's latest single, Apple's latest gadget, a box of freshly baked pizza, a ticket for two to a picturesque beach, tickets to catch the upcoming new Marvel film, and even the affection of someone else. But no way those acts reflect that we truly love ourselves because loving ourselves does not require the approval of someone else's nor the material things that only give fleeting pleasure and satisfaction.
Love for ourselves is reflected in our habits, those things we do with discipline and with autonomy that we almost take them for granted. They appear common and ordinary because we do them very often, if not daily. But despite that, they say a lot about how we treat ourselves and eventually whether we love ourselves or not.
We can categorise these habits into three categories: physical, mental, and spiritual. While it's nice you show love for yourself physically, you must also apply it to the other two. Paying attention to only one category does not fully demonstrate true love for ourselves. We must do our part in each category because we are a physical, mental, and spiritual being, not just a part or a piece but a composite. What are these habits that show we do love ourselves?
You eat healthy. If your body is a temple will you let anyone especially yourself desecrate it? No. You must provide your body with energy and nutrients. Junk food doesn't do that. It slowly destroys your body.
You take proper rest. If your body is an engine will you let it work non-stop without maintenance and fine-tuning? No. You get tired and you need to recharge. Your body deserves rest.
You stay active. If your body is a bird will you keep it stuck in a cage where it cannot fly? No. Your body is made to move and put those muscles to use. Living a sedentary lifestyle kills you slowly.
You read. If your mind is a muscle (well it is, if you know what I mean) will you not put it to use? Of course not. Reading keeps your mind sharp and teaches you new things. It's one of the things that keep your mind growing.
You do new things. If you are a traveler will you go to the same place over and over again? No. You need new experience, skills, places, and events to grow. In short, you need new. Doing and being with the same thing for so long hurt you more than you know.
You improve your skills. If you are an axe will you let your edge dull as time goes by? No. Learning a new skill is something. Getting better at it is something else. Your mind benefits a lot with every progress that you make on a specific endeavour.
You don't allow negative thoughts. If you are a drinking water will you allow impurities to contaminate you? No. Thinking negative things consumes you and turns you into a pessimist. It does you a lot of harm.
You keep only the essentials. If you are on a sinking boat with lots of barrels in it will you keep those barrels safe in the boat as it sinks faster? No. The more you keep in your lives things such as material possessions, emotional attachments, useless relationships, and purposeless activities, the more you lose out on your true self and identity. A good life does not mean it must be complicated.
You don't compare yourself against others. If you are a sapling will you compare yourself against a hundred-year old tree? No. Acceptance begins with yourself and that includes accepting that your path is your own, not someone else's. Work on improving your life instead of unfairly comparing it against other people's.
You ponder about life. If you are lost in a city will you wander aimlessly? No. You'll decide where you need to go and make your way to where it is. Life is meant to be experienced and understood. It can only have meaning if you actively give it meaning. If you don't define our lives, you'll die an empty shell.
Do you practice all of these habits? If not all, then any? Perhaps, it's time to re-assess your habits to check if you indeed love yourself. One of your greatest weapons in pursuing your dream is love for yourself. If you have it, you will fare greater against the challenges and hurdles ahead of your journey. They can try but they can't douse the flame that burns within.