What is self love and how to love yourself?

I am sure you’ve seen me mention self love in a lot of my previous posts (this one particularly)… and maybe you wonder why this whole “love yourself” business is so important? What does it have to do with finding romantic love? How can it help you in your search for true love and connection?

Self love is a big buzzword lately, but it’s not one that will go away that soon. And that is because it is truly the solution to many of our human-condition issues. When we love ourselves we get to enjoy much more of life’s treasures, and get much less of its troubles.

And no, it doesn’t mean you are selfish if you do so.

How does that work? Well, I’ve made a video blog here (my first one!) to answer all those burning questions.


Do you feel you love yourself enough?
Do you sometimes feel guilty when you take care of your own needs first?
What are your thoughts on the difference between being selfish and loving yourself?

Please join the conversation in the comment section. Thank you.

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10 Responses

  1. Ms Jones says:

    Hi Petra – I like the video format very much. It is very direct, clear and thought provoking.
    I like the topic and the video brings life and to this topic that you express so often in your blogs.
    I was very moved by it.
    Ms. Jones

  2. Adam says:

    Hi Petra, I also liked the video and it is clearer now what you mean by loving yourself. I have noticed in your articles, and a lot of other places, the frequent use of the word “need”. This can be such an awkward word, and I wonder sometimes if it does get over-used. For example, someone might say they “need” a car to get to work, yet presumably they chose their job and their place to live, so is this really a “need” or an indirect choice in the end? Sometimes I think “needs” are really “wants” but people don’t like to use the latter out of fear of sounding selfish. It could be argued that all humans really need is the basics for survival (food, water, oxygen, shelter), everything else comes down to desire or choice.

    • Petra says:

      Hi Adam, thanks for the heads up! I do understand “need” can be interpreted in many ways. What I refer to is our natural preferences and ways we operate – things that make us happy. There are things we love doing, and ways we love being that make us happy – which I guess you can call preferences or desires, not needs. We can forgo those for someone else but then we become truly miserable over time and it gets harder to be around this person if we can’t operate in a way that makes us feel good. For example, if you have a preference to have a lot of alone time, then you don’t want to be surrounded with people all the time. That’s what I call a personal need. That is what you call choice or desire, and you can call it selfish, in a sense that it’s something we want to do for ourselves. Thanks for commenting and hope it’s a bit clearer now.

  3. La Passionista says:

    Hi Petra, I liked the video format too. One question that always occurs to me when people talk about loving yourself is, how do I know that I’m really loving myself (I feel that I am, and I have had years of therapy and done countless workshops over the years) or that it’s something else (selfishness, neediness etc). I suspect it must be the latter as I have been on my own for such a long time and am obviously not attracting anyone! That to me is the essential issue to solve.

    • Petra says:

      How do we know we love ourselves – great question. I do believe that when we do, we know. It’s like truly loving someone – you know when you do. When you don’t you’re in doubt. When you love yourself you have peace in your heart, and you don’t doubt your level of commitment to others. Your needs for love are largely met from inside – so you only ask from others what they want to give. Because you feel fulfilled, you have much more to give to others, but you also pick very carefully who you’ll give to, because you can’t give to everyone, so you select people who truly love you and deserve your love, care, time and attention. You don’t feel like people are taking things from you, and even if they disappoint you and do something against your will, you don’t resent them because you understand they are only acting out their own limitations. You know that if someone doesn’t appreciate what you’re giving to them, just the act of giving and being good is enough because you’ll always get it back if not from the same, then from another source. I hope this helps, it’s such a huge topic and I see now I’ll have to blog more about it!

      • sabina says:

        Thanks Petra. After watching your video I thought I had reached a place where I love myself, but when I read this response I realized this is far from true. I definitely feel unsure about whether I love, or even fully like, myself, even though I’ve come a very long way in my life and have become more and more comfortable with who I am in recent years. I struggle with continuing to feel a sense of lack, of need or discontent, and seek it externally in many ways, even though I practice and am deeply passionate and dedicated to mindfulness, connecting to a deeper sense of self, etc. I think the sense of lacking comes from ego clinging, or wanting something outside of myself, a situation, person (especially a relationship), etc. to fulfill me and make me feel alive and worthy. I really do understand the importance of fulfilling one’s own needs for love from the inside, however I am struggling to achieve that despite a strong wish to do so. I also think this is stopping me from finding love with another person.

        • Petra says:

          Thanks for commenting. Would you like to talk about it? We can explore together what could be the best next step for you. Just get in touch for a consultation (via email or Contact/Work with me pages). Take care.

  4. mark says:

    Petra, real difficult.to find love. I have to want to give and other has to want what I give. Maybe getting to these points is where.there’s flexibility or real negotiation. Seems hugely complex, to the point of futility.

    • Petra says:

      I agree it’s complex, but it’s worth it. You’ll see it gets easier the more you know and love yourself, and treat yourself well. Then the right partners come into your life. Take care and thank you for commenting.

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