Social media seems full of happy, smiling, loving, and carefree people. But is it really so? Does the image also hide depth? Or is it just possible that sadness is “not shared”? The well-known psychological phenomenon of the “halo effect” of smiling photos can blind what is not publicly displayed. This means that what appears as the most “liked” – usually funny and confident photos – also overshadows other co-creators of reality. For example, those who doubt themselves, do not know how to love themselves, and who thus find themselves under constant pressure from their surroundings, demands, and criteria by which they judge who they are. With this article, I want to point out this part of the coin, since self-love may not be hiding even behind the smiling face of your friend on FB. And we come to the root of the matter!

If I wanted to simply define self-love, the formula would be:

For a closer explanation, it’s about accepting yourself as you are, with all your mistakes and weaknesses. Self-love is not about excessive self-love, egoism, or excessive self-focus, nor is it about any narcissistic expression of self-love. Unhealthy self-love can also manifest in selfish behavior, such as sacrificing oneself for others beyond one’s limits and health, being a workaholic who forgets to take care of themselves, or neglecting basic rest for one’s body and soul. However, healthy self-love is an important element for us to be able to love other people!

Psychologist Leon F. Seltzer, who deals with the evolution of the self, speaks of so-called self-compassion or self-care in connection with self-love. According to his professional opinion, we should recognize the obstacles, insecurities, and damaging realities around us that prevent us from understanding that we are doing things as well as we can. We need to stop evaluating ourselves according to certain standards that “prescribe” who we should be, which prevent us from realistically assessing what we can expect from ourselves. In simplicity – you need to accept and appreciate yourself more for who you are, not judge yourself based on given criteria. The recipe is to constantly try to bring yourself to a kind and attentive self-recognition, which then leads not only to unconditional self-acceptance but also to unconditional self-love. We can also find the right path by answering questions such as: How critical am I of myself? Do I give up everything if something doesn’t work out, or do I realize that I am growing and can try to do better next time? After all, even the wise men of ancient times said that no one is born wise. However, we need to distinguish between “wisdom of knowledge” and “wisdom of the heart.”

So how do you start loving yourself?

-Discover who you are! Stay alone with yourself in silence, be honest with yourself. Ask very close friends you trust for help in rediscovering yourself. However, in the end, you will have to come to it yourself.

-Discover your weaknesses and be proud of them! Our weaknesses are a manifestation of our humanity and at the same time a plus for us, as they can give us confidence and relieve the pressure that is exerted on us through the environment and media under the “brand of perfection.” A great danger is also for so-called personalities with perfectionist traits who try to be perfect in everything. These traits can be partly innate or acquired by upbringing, or according to the well-known psychologist Alfred Adler, they can also be influenced by the order in which we were born. Of course, this can also be worked on!

-Learn to be humble and not play a “role” in front of yourself! Self-deception prevents us from recognizing our true selves, gives us a false idea of what is not really real and what we are not.

-Be good to yourself! Do not curse or humiliate yourself if you succeed at something. Everything, even the bad, if we take it positively, supports our personal growth. And be kind to yourself! Have you heard that if someone has lower self-esteem and looks in the mirror every morning and says to themselves that they are beautiful (of course, if someone does not believe in themselves in this area, we do not cultivate narcissism in ourselves!), or that they are brave and should trust themselves, eventually it will fill them with so much self-confidence that they will believe it and their self-esteem can move towards healing their personality? Therefore, it is better not to say phrases like: “Oh, how stupid I am!” “I can’t do anything!” “I’m nothing.” “I’m a nobody…” It is better to replace these sentences with: “Today, I will do it!” “Next time I will do better, I will learn from it!” Simply put, be your own friend 😉

-Learn and reflect! You can also keep a journal where you will write down how you are working on certain things, how it is moving you forward, where you can learn from mistakes, what to avoid next time, and what works very well.

I hope these 5 tips will help you cultivate healthy self-love and also love for others 🙂 To conclude, I want to share a quote from Leon F. Seltzer, who said: “To feel happier, keep in mind that it’s only your relationship with yourself that counts, not what’s around you.” The most beautiful gift you can give yourself is unconditional love. So we can ask ourselves: “Is our self-love healthy enough to move towards others?”