“It might be hard to love yourself sometimes, but it is harder to not love yourself.”
The author Christine Arylo says self-love is a tree. Self-worth is the trunk, and the life-giving branches are associated with the following qualities.
– Self-awareness and self-honesty
– Self-compassion and self-forgiveness
– Self-respect and self-honour
– Self-pleasure, or self-joy.
Let’s unpack this metaphor a little.
Self-Worth is fundamental; it is absolutely crucial. It is knowing you have value because you exist and, simply, because you are you.
It is something you’re convinced of in your heart, and at your core, despite what other people might think, or say, about you.
1. Self-Awareness and Self-Honesty: This relates to wanting to know – and to own – everything about yourself. Your values, opinions, attitudes, beliefs. Who you want to be, and how you want to live your life.
It’s also being in touch with all your feelings and reactions, and knowing you’re accountable for choices and decisions.
2. Self-Acceptance: This is being at peace with, and accepting, who you are – with your personality, and your weaknesses and quirks.
Also, it’s resisting the temptation to compare yourself to others.
3. Self-Care: This is being committed to caring for yourself, and honouring your limits, and noticing your needs (Your physical, emotional, mental, psychological, relational and spiritual needs).
Also, it is knowing when you really need to reach out for support … or when you need to withdraw from the world for a while.
And self-care is also knowing when you’re bored, or need a change, or when you need more stimulation, or a new relationship.
4. Self-Compassion and Self-Forgiveness: This is being gentle and kind with yourself, especially when you’re weak, or when you’ve failed, or made mistakes.
5. Self-Trust: This is knowing you can hear and trust that quiet inner voice, and being willing to respect and listen to your intuition.
6. Self-Esteem: This is seeing you have value, and endearing qualities. It is moving through this world with a quiet confidence, believing you are able to create for yourself a life that has meaning, and is beautiful, and good.
7. Self-Empowerment: This is making the decision to fully own your life, believing you have talents, experience and strengths. It is setting your own goals, and then going after them. It is knowing you’re tenacious, and can push through trying times.
8. Self-Expression: This is being genuine and authentic in your life. It is sharing the real you, in a way that’s comfortable. It is sharing thoughts and feelings, opinions and ideas through honest self expression, and open dialogue.
9. Self-Respect and Self-Honour: This is setting healthy boundaries in every part of life, and requiring other people always treat you with respect.
Also, it is making personal choices that align with your core values, and speaking of yourself in ways that demonstrate respect.
1o. Self-Pleasure or Self-Joy: This is making time for pleasure, for the things that bring you joy. It is doing things you love; things that make you feel alive.
Also, it is nourishing your inner life, and seeking happiness – because these are important; they are things that you deserve.
Some Final Prompts and Questions
Look at your trunk … and at each of your 10 branches … then think through your answers to the following:
– How strong are each of your branches?
– Do any of them need some tending?
– Are you able to identify what has weakened or deadened some of the branches?
– What can you do to encourage new growth?
– Is the trunk the branches spring from strong, and healthy and stable?
As you do this, remember that we have all have some scars, and self-love is a journey that continues throughout life.