When I recently performed a thesaurus search for "Self-Love," The results were surprising, and reminded me about our confusion about this term as a culture. Narcissism, Conceit, Vanity. These are the perjorative words that are considered synonymous with the phrase Self-Love, a phrase that, to me, beckons peace, freedom and happiness.
How does the Self-Love I teach and promote differ from Narcissism, Conceit and Vanity? Well, the latter terms. in my mind, refer to an inflated, unrealistic, perhaps even delusional self-concept. A pretense that we are perfect, entitled, superior. Narcissism has us self-obsessed, arrogant, haughty. Conceit has us feeling better than others and above it all And in Vanity here is a denial of anything dark or imperfect about oneself. On the contrary, When I speak of Self-Love, I am referring to an open-minded acceptance of the true self, flaws and all. An acceptance that, as humans, we are imperfect, emotional, messy, and yet we are deserving of love all the same. Like our love for a child who is testing boundaries with tantrums, or for the puppy who wets on the floor, when we are truly practicing Self-Love, our hearts are open wide with compassion and full of best wishes for our growing, learning, emerging selves.