The self-love movement seems to be keen on extra softness.

Take that bath, no you don’t need to push yourself, relax, it’s ok to cancel your commitments, take it easy, you deserve it!

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t believe in stressing ourselves out and hustling to get a bunch of things done. Harsh language, aggressiveness, and negative self-talk are not love.

Yet the other extreme is also not true: love is not always soft, accepting, and allowing everything to just be and let go. It is not loving to allow ourselves to step in our best interests, not take challenges, and eternally be short-sighted and cope with life.

Sometimes, it is loving to get a massage, and, other times, it is loving to go work nonstop on that dream of yours.

Which brings the question:
What is self-love?

What Is Self-Love?

As the term self-love has gained massive attention, its meaning seems to be inclined toward grooming and cutting ourselves slack. It’s not like well-being has no role to play, but is this really it?

What if self-love was the exact opposite: because you dream about writing that book, you go and sit and write it (instead of keeping getting baths and cutting yourself slack).

The thing is, out of love for ourselves, we attune ourselves to what is contributing to our growth, and go for it instead of stagnation. And so we nurture our visions and dreams, to create and live the life we want to live.

Out of love for ourselves, we do not allow the mind and emotions to hijack and control us. 

Self-love is the biggest healer and propeller towards transformation. Out of self-love, we know there is more to us, we know there is more to life. Out of self-love, we heal and outgrow what is keeping us stuck. Out of self-love, live our purpose and we realize our potential.

Watch my free video class “Live from the Heart,” a concise video class for you to identify what is blocking you, and learn how to listen and connect to your heart.

Love Knows When Enough Is Enough

Love is strong, and stands tall and firm. When we cannot do that, chances are we are not being loving — we are actually being fearful in desguise.

And so we say no to ourselves out of self-love.

This might seem contradictory, as you are saying no to yourself in order to say yes to yourself. How is that possible? 

The you that is getting the “no” is the one bound to your ego, living in fear and stuck in past behaviors and wounds. The one you are saying “yes” to is the true expanded you, the one that is locked inside and trying to emerge.

And so we don’t overeat, don’t overdrink, don’t oversleep, and don’t evade reality. Again, we don’t let the mind and emotions run us. We return to the steerring wheel of our lives.

Think about it: would a loving mother allow her child to have ice cream whenever the kid wants? Or would doing so be weakness, and a loving mother knows how to be loving & firm? 

When I try to conceptualize what love is, the word that comes to me is nourishing.

Love wants you to grow and thrive. When we cut ourselves too much slack, we don’t grow — we stagnate.

To grow, sometimes we need to rest. Other times we to make it happen, show up, and challenge ourselves.

Rest too much, nothing happens. Work too much, burn out.

As any plant will teach us, a certain amount of sunlight and water are needed for the plant to grow. Much more and much less sun and water, the plant doesn’t thrive and dies.

Likewise, love knows what is not nurturing, and it knows it better not to do it — in the name of love. Otherwise, whatever one was trying to nurture, will certainly die.

Love is not allowing and tolerating everything. Quite the opposite: love doesn’t allow that which steps on love. Just like as a society, we don’t allow murder, for instance. In the name of love, we don’t accept what breaks love.

Taken from that, self-love requires, above anything, discernment.

Watch my free video class “Live from the Heart,” a concise video class for you to identify what is blocking you, and learn how to listen and connect to your heart.

Discernment: The One Thing that Will Change Your Attitude

Discernment to understand what is needed at any given time — and what is not acceptable. 

Is it time to go for a race, or to take a bath? When are you pushing yourself too much and hurting yourself — and when are you getting yourself off the hook too easily?

Discernment to distinguish between what is impactful for what you want — and when you are just stressed and busy with meaningless things.

Above anything, truth serves love and so love with truth invites us to cut with our excuses and lack of intention.

In a society of comfort zones, comfort foods, and all kinds of escapisms behind screens, we forget that we grow through challenges, for it is through challenges that we outgrow ourselves and go beyond our limitations.

Our society is becoming too tolerant of things that step on love. We must watch out to not allow this into our lives, for it truly does not serve us. 

Allowing ourselves to constantly take it easy in the name of self-love and self-care can easily deviate us from healing and growing. The result: exacerbating our comfort, and lowering our tolerance to risk-taking. Our nervous systems become more and more sensitive, unable to deal with any type of stress, fear, and change. Fear wins.

Love is strong, and acting on self-love requires us to be strong in our own hearts. 

Maintenance vs Growth

There’s a difference between living well and growing. It’s a difference between maintenance, like doing the dishes and keeping the house tidy, and actually making our dreams come true.

If you are a high-maintenance person, I ask you: is your maintenance blocking you from growing?

Too much self-care can be excessive maintenance —an escapism from growing, even. It is not hard to understand why: growing takes a lot more energy than maintenance. 

If you are stuck in too many self-care and life admin, chances are you have limited your room for growth. 

Again, don’t get me wrong: maintenance is needed. What would be the point of growing but living poorly? We are to take care of what we love. Living well allows us to overflow — we cannot give what we don’t have. 

What is your ratio between maintenance and growth? 

Keep Moving Forward

In a universe always expanding where change is the only constant, there is no standing still. Here, the nature is to keep walking. Sure you can change your pace, at times you might run, and other times walk leisurely — yet, you need to keep walking, for there is no standing still. 

We are not here to stagnate. Life moves — stagnation is the only thing life doesn’t do. When we stagnate within, we cut a part of our connection to life itself. This brings great suffering. When we’ve done that, it takes some effort and pain to reconnect back. 

A heart must beat, one must breathe, night follows day, a river with no current is a swamp. Fighting against the need to keep moving is fighting against life itself. 

We are here to discover who we truly are, to go beyond our self-imposed limitations get out of the cave — and enjoy it all. Out of self-love.

In this way, saying no to our habits and ways that are stopping us is actually saying YES to our higher selves. 

It’s about self-awareness: seeing what lies behind our choices, for sometimes we use self-love as an excuse when we are actually choosing fear and death.

Living takes strength — and so does loving. And so, out of love, we better create that strength muscle, for life surely requires it. 

Enjoyed this piece? I invite you to watch my free video class “Live from the Heart,” a concise video class for you to identify what is blocking you, and learn how to listen and connect to your heart.

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