"Self-love has many meanings to many different people. Defining it is paramount to creating and maintaining it."
Whether you are interested in Tantra, personal development, finding love, or steamy sex, the term “self-love” will come up over and over again. But what is self-love? How do you know if you love yourself?
When I first heard the term “self-love,” it was so esoteric and abstract, I didn’t know what to do with it. Someone asked me, “Do you love yourself?” Then, that voice in my head answered, “Yes.” Is it that simple? Can I now move on in my life never to ask the question again? Clearly, there is more to loving myself than that.
Where does that “Yes” or “No” come from? Could it be coming from the ego, the same part of us we often seek to rise above? Is it coming from our heart, and if so, is that a heart we feel is broken or a heart bursting with love. Can we even trust our own answer to the question, “Do you love yourself?”
There is power in the emotional response to the question that can come with little thought. Perhaps this is the heartfelt answer; the answer that is screaming to come out of someone because they are proud or because this is the moment they decide to accept support and do the inner work they have been avoiding.
There is also a lot revealed in asking for clarity. “Do you love yourself” is such an important question, but one that could also be answered with some questions back:
“What do you mean by “love yourself?”
“How would I know if I loved myself?”
“Do you mean at this moment, or always?”
Is self-love something that is constant, or could it be fleeting? If I ask you if you love yourself today, the answer could be “Yes,” but in two weeks, it could be “No.”
I can’t coach myself, let alone someone else, on self-love without knowing if we are talking about the same thing. Self-love has many meanings to many different people. Defining it is paramount to creating and maintaining it.
I like to first hear someone’s immediate response to the question if they have one. I want to see if their heart bursts out of their throat. Sometimes it’s as though they have been waiting their whole life to be asked this question so they could proudly proclaim “Yes,” or be so vulnerable to cry out for help with a soft and shaking, “No.”
After the initial response, I will then come to a common definition of what self-love is so we are on the same page as we create a coaching plan or enter into a Tantric Awakening Experience together. I don’t coach people on a whimsical idea of love. I coach on results that my clients can see, touch, and feel. To do that, we need to have a common understanding of “self-love.” It’s the same when someone comes to me seeking a partner for a romantic relationship. We need to define what a romantic relationship looks like to them, or my client and I could be working toward two different goals.
I define self-love in two ways. One is foundational and the other is behavioral.
Do you feel you deserve to be loved by yourself and others?
Do you make conscious decisions that serve you?
The first category is the foundational self-love that can be the source of a person’s problems or the thing that motivates them to push past any adversity. The answer to this question is often rooted in the love that was felt or missing when they were a child, and that they may in-turn experience in romantic relationships through their life. If they do not feel that they deserve to be loved, that is the first place we need to start working because it is very likely that they are not making decisions that serve them, or if they are, they are doing it under unnecessary stress and duress. If you do feel deeply and honestly that you deserve to love and be loved, then we can begin work on the behavioral side to self-love.
Unless you are a master, every decision you make in your life will not necessarily be one that serves your higher-self and goals. That is OK. We are not attempting to become perfect when it comes to self-love; we are attempting to become present. Once we are present to it, we can experience it, expand it through Tantra, and share it with others. This is why you hire a coach or healer; someone to guide you into noticing if the decisions you make in your life are conscious and serve you, or unconscious. In many cases, people make conscious decisions that don’t serve them for a little while, and then they become habits and move into the realm of “unconscious decisions.” I still call them “decisions” even though they are unconscious because I do not want to take the power away from my client to change them or “break the habit.”
As you step into the realm of personal growth and the journey inward (or perhaps you are deeply immersed already), the idea of loving yourself will come up often. Make sure you know what self-love means to you. What does it look like in your everyday life? How can it be the compass that guides you? If you decide to work with a coach, be sure you agree to what self-love is so you can tune the compass to true north, before you start navigating.