Have you ever wondered if there was a difference between self-love and self-care?
I honestly used to think they were the same thing. After doing some research and reading THIS article and THIS one I came to some really important new conclusions on what self-love truly means, and I'm hoping it helps you too.
Essentially, self-love is an umbrella term that covers three important aspects of self-love. As you read on I'm guessing you might be surprised by what the self-love umbrella encompasses.
First, an important aspect of self-love is, you guessed it, self-care. Self-care is an important aspect of self-love! Self-care is an action term and requires you to show action to yourself in ways that your mind and body are craving. Maybe a nice bubble bath while reading a favorite book or watching a show, or maybe carving out time to care for your body however that may look for you. Maybe you see a therapist, or wake up early to accomplish things before your kids get up. Self-care can also look like setting boundaries with those around you to ensure your mental and emotional health are taken care of. Practicing self-care means you are learning to recognize the physical and emotional needs your mind and body have and are working to address them.
Second, self-love is caring for others. Honestly this one surprised me because I feel like my entire day is devoted to caring for those around me. Yet as I read more on the idea and gave it more thought I came to realize how truly powerful this concept can be in growing love for myself.
"You cannot be self-centered and fulfilled. It's impossible. When you give to, help, or otherwise nurture the needs of other people, you are simultaneously nurturing yourself." -Dara Poznar (read full article here)
Isn't that beautiful? Have you ever felt that feeling that you aren't meeting the needs of those around you? Maybe you feel disconnected to your spouse or child but it feels like just one more thing to have to connect with them. Well this was a mindset shift for me. When I choose to play make believe with my daughter, or watch a show and actually cuddle my husband without my phone (yikes!) I am showing them love while simultaneously boosting my own self-love. Showing love to others is a way to show love to yourself. But let's be clear, that doesn't mean you have to only show others love to feel love for yourself. That's where burnout and resentment enter. Instead, practice self-care by setting boundaries and clear expectations with those you love, you can have boundaries in place to ensure your loved ones feel of your love while not losing sight of your needs.
The third and final concept of self-love, according to Poznar, is receiving love from others. Again, I was surprised by this one too! What does receiving love have to do with practicing my own self love? But then it clicked. Receiving love means letting go of control, which for me is VERY difficult. I can take care of others and myself just fine, but allowing someone else to serve me requires letting go. It requires me to be humble, admit I need support with something, and then patiently wait for that support to arrive. Let people love and serve you, and in return you boost their self-love and your own. By allowing others to love you you admit that you are worth loving, that you are worth someone else making the time to stop and care for you.
Self-care is essentially defined as taking care of yourself physically and mentally by carving TIME out for yourself, and we all know the famous saying that the best way to spell time is LOVE. When you practice self-care you make TIME for something that will provide mental, emotional, or physical support for you.
So yes, self-care is absolutely an essential part of self-love but they are not one in the same.
The second article I mentioned at the beginning is a short one and absolutely worth the read! What I loved about this article is that it breaks down what self love is versus self care. Essentially self-care is a tool we use to show ourself love by doing things that boost our emotional, mental, and physical health. Self-love, however, goes much deeper, and essentially means accepting and loving yourself for where you are at right now, and recognizing that deep down nothing about you needs to be fixed.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the article written by Jennifer Mulholland and Jeff Shuck:
Aren't those quotes powerful? You do not need to fix anything about yourself, just practice some mental health and physical health tune-ups as you see fit. Most importantly, extend yourself self-love by choosing to treat yourself with kindness in your thoughts and actions.
Our mindful Monday prompt this week is a prompt pulled from the J.O.T. Daily and J.O.T. Youth Journals called "Opportunities to Love Myself". Now that you know the difference between self-love and self-care what are ways you are going to practice self-love this week? Remember you can absolutely include self-care ideas in your list, but don't forget to think through the other ways of self-love as well.