Self-love refers to the act of valuing one’s own happiness and well-being. Self-love is a kind of acceptance that can be described as an unconditional sense of support and caring and a core of compassion for the self. It might also be considered a willingness to meet personal needs, allow non-judgmental thinking, and view the self as essentially worthy, good, valuable, and deserving of happiness.
Self-love can also lead to improved relationships. The idea that a person should practice self-love before attempting to pursue the love of others is one that is accepted by many, and research has shown that practicing self-love and self-compassion is likely to improve well-being in the context of interpersonal relationships. People who have self-compassion and practice self-love generally report feeling happier and more authentic in their relationships, and thus, they may be better able to assert their needs and opinions. Further, those who practice kindness and compassion on a personal level first may be better able to show kindness and compassion to others and are generally more likely to do so, as the ability to care for and love one’s self generally indicates that one will experience a greater capacity to love and care for others.
It is generally considered to be normal for people to have periods in which they feel better about themselves and periods in which confidence and self-esteem wane. After failing at an important task, for example, one may question personal ability and self-worth. Self-love is considered to be an ongoing act, rather than a constant state. For many people, it takes effort, attention, and mindful attempts to practice self-compassion and affirm and accept oneself.
Those who find it challenging to practice self-love or have barriers that make it difficult for them to experience compassion or love for themselves may find the support of a therapist or other mental health professional to be beneficial as they explore the reasons behind these difficulties.