Number one rule: respect and compassion
The boundary between self-love and egoism is easy to define. You may love yourself unconditionally as long as you don’t begin to oppress others in doing so. Self-love means that you are fully embracing yourself, but at the same time continue to treat others and their needs with respect and an open heart. If you truly love yourself, there’ll be plenty of love going around to share with others.
Self-love in moderation
Self-love is trending and for good reason: establishing a healthy connection to yourself is the foundation for a harmonic life. It also sets us up to develop good relationships with other people. However, the line between self-love and egoism is thin and many of us have a strong penchant for the extreme and individualism. In conversation, for example, this can result in people cutting each other off valuing their own words more than those of others, all under the guise of self-care. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself well and focusing in on what it is you need from time to time, but it’s important to maintain a good balance and keep the ego in check. If you’re unsure whether you’ve already crossed the line just check in with friends or family to explore whether your self-compassion has turned to self-obsession.
“No” – a powerful word with drawbacks
Sometimes the first step towards loving yourself is to be more assertive – in other words, being able to say “no”. Cancelling a dinner date with a friend can be tricky, but the rewards may include some much-needed quality me-time. Once you’ve learned just how liberating saying “no” can be, you’re likely to reject invitations more often. But be careful not to decline all social contact as that can quickly lead to isolation. With just a little bit of effort you can remain diplomatic and sensitive in your communications with others and these efforts tend to be rewarded with sympathy.
How much self-love is healthy? The anti-ego emergency tip
If you’ve found yourself on the other side already and egoism dominates, try to stop focusing on yourself and start doing something good for the people around you. For inspiration, here are three self-less gestures:
#1 Pay someone a sincere and heartfelt compliment. You’ll likely make their day. Give it a go!
#2 How about baking a cake for your colleagues at work? You don’t even need a special occasion…cake is always appreciated.
#3 Send someone you love a postcard. Just a few hand-written words through the letterbox can make for a wonderful surprise.
Author: Konstanze Teschner