"Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world" – Lucille Ball

Foreword: A chance quote on FB attracted a comment from my friend where she complained that some people stretch self- love to the point of being selfish and insensitive. I knew, the people who she was referring to were not indulging in self-love but a close evil cousin of it.

That is how this note was born. I felt it was important to write about what I understand of self-love.

This has been a process of discovery and at the face of it, may look ironic. The fact of the matter is that self-love actually has nothing to do with selfishness. In fact people who understand what Lucille is saying here know that it is just the opposite. Loving your self is first acknowledging what your soul craves for. Once you know your cravings, the next step is to try and feed them. Only through those deeds will you feel satisfied and accomplished. It is through the same deeds that you will do more for others.

Let us consider a few possibilities.

  • Having smiling faces, love and kindness all around you maybe a genuine need. Deep down, maybe frowns affect you, friends in trouble disturbs you, parents and children being sick unsettles you.
  • Looking good and staying fit could be very important to you. Your self esteem maybe entirely dependent on being able to be 'present' in every situation, turn up fresh at work every morning.
  • Becoming a more evolved human being, to see more than what meets the average eye could be your goal.
  • To be calm under stress and not give in to brash and petulant behaviour maybe important to your self esteem as well.

Supposing you know that these things are absolute necessities. Now, see how they will affect your behaviour with people around you. In case of the first situation, you will know and acknowledge that not caring for people who you love will result in a vicious circle of unhappiness. You will know that kindness begets kindness, love begets love and you will be more sensitive to other people's needs. This is not the same as being dependant on others for your happiness, mind you. It is merely having the knowledge that you cannot seek or get happiness with disgust, tears and trouble around you.

If you are the kind who hates comments on extra weight, lethargy or laziness, you will take care of your lifestyle, you will watch what you eat, you will get enough sleep. You will know that you make 'yourself' happy by doing that and hence you will go after it. Everyone who comes in contact with you will find your energy infectious and your well being – an example.

The best way to evolve, is to read. That is if you cannot travel to your heart's fill. The more you read, the more the windows to your heart open, the more you learn to accept.

Spending some me-time, quiet soulful hours in the day, where you can reflect on the events around you, your reactions to them, your emotions towards them; what you need to step down or step up, will leave you more sorted. You may even learn the very precious and difficult art of saying 'no'. The wonders it can do your interactions is nothing less than magic.

Most people interpret self-love as paying attention to oneself in a way one craves attention from others. This is a way of the weak and it leads to a path of further weakness. Those who seek happiness in trying to attend to themselves only, do not know their soul. They invariably land up distancing themselves so far from the needs of their soul that one day, nothing remains of it. That will be the day, when you may wake up to learn that it is indeed only you who is really interested in you. That will the day, self-love will be dead, forever. Don't get there.

(The author originally published this on her blog).