Self-love is the love of oneself.
In 1956 psychologist and social philosopher Erich Fromm proposed that loving oneself is different from being arrogant, conceited or egocentric. He proposed that loving oneself means caring about oneself, taking responsibility for oneself, respecting oneself, and knowing oneself (e.g. being realistic and honest about one’s strengths and weaknesses). He proposed, further, that in order to be able to truly love another person, a person needs first to love oneself in this way. ~Wikipedia
We give so much of ourselves to so many people that we many times forget that in order to be fulfilled in L.I.F.E. we must put ourselves first on the list. Unfortunately, we have been raised in a society where to think of self first is considered selfish. We have all been taught codependent behaviors that keep us bound to pleasing others while denying our own happiness.
“This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou ‘canst not then be false to any man.” ~William Shakespeare
When we are not true to ourselves we cannot tend to our own needs because we are invested in the needs of others. We hear the small voice inside of us saying, “What about me?”, but society has imposed shame upon having putting ourselves first, so we are quick to suppress our instinct for self-reflection and self-love. This is not healthy and results in deeper pain and suffering as we continue to look for someone to recognize our feelings too.
The turmoil you suffer from being there for others when they don’t seem to be there for you is a product of codependency. It is putting others ahead of yourself for the potential gain of love and respect. Being a people-pleaser means you are going against your own intuitive nature to take care of yourself. You have neglected the number one person you should be loving and that is YOU!
Self-love in many cases leads to temporarily disappointing others as you learn to set new boundaries to take care of yourself. The same people you have given so much to will begin to retaliate and accuse you of changing because they are not getting from you what they were before. This is true, you have changed. You are now investing love into yourself first, which is the first law of nature. Even the mother lion feeds herself first before dragging the kill home to her young or she would not be strong enough to defend them while they eat. This is self-preservation and it is the first law of nature.
Love is not a feeling, it is a KNOWING. It is an action of care of self first and going deep within to know you have great value and worth and to stand in it. Self-love means you are invested in nurturing yourself so that you are open to attract more into your experience in every area of abundance of living. Self-love means you care about yourself and like the mother lion, you know that you must take care of you in order to be available for others.
Stop feeling guilty about loving yourself. You are not being narcissistic, selfish or self-centered because you take care of yourself first. You simply realize that you are important enough to deserve your own love!