I had an ah-ha moment recently. I started to think about the idea of self-love and self-compassion as separate entities. This wasn’t something I had considered until I really started to examine my own healing journey through the lens of being spiritual and allowing space for forgiveness of self.
Something I grapple with is: When people talk about self-love what do they mean?!? What do they really mean? How does this show up in their lives and mine?
Right now, self-love is the rage. It’s all anyone talks about and is often conflated with self-care. We want everyone to show themselves self-love through self-care, both of which can look as different as the bodies they are being projected from. I see it all over social media: SELF-LOVE. LOVE YOURSELF. SELF-CARE. But are we really practicing what we preach and spending the time to be one with our inner self? Do we spend the time to confront our demons and loving ourselves wholly with no question OR are we simply jumping on a bandwagon of self-love for the Instagram-worthiness of it all?
Self-love is the simple act of showing yourself love. I’m not sure self-love accounts for forgiveness of self or showing yourself compassion when it comes to the various things that happen in life. Some would probably argue that’s not actually the case but I’ve been reflecting and I can love myself and not have compassion for myself and vice versa.
For me, self-love is one way of acting in a loving way toward ourselves. It can be defined as regard for your own happiness. But when you allow space for self-compassion you are going deeper than self-love. For me, self-compassion is about accepting and honoring all aspects of your life, from failure to perceived inadequacies or suffering. Self-compassion is honoring where I am, forgiving myself for my monkey mind, giving myself space for feeling and healing, and for not being able to let things go as easily as some others.
To have compassion for myself is allowing for all emotions and all feelings without getting hung up. Loving myself means accepting myself in all forms. Compassion for myself is forgiving myself for my negative self-talk, my judgement of my body, my intense feelings of jealousy, my bad days (or weeks) and ultimately moving on because I know these things do not define me. They are not all of me. They are simply pieces of me.