“My hope. My life. My Love. I love you. You made me live the love, with you it’s a thousand love. With each look at you, I love you. Oh I love you. I love you all over again…”

These words are not only part of a song from Egypt`s most famous singer Oum Kalthoum, but rather phrases that we all use on a daily basis. They are very easily said, maybe even to someone we barely know, but they aren`t easily felt, even towards ourselves. While we can appreciate, praise and love someone else without hesitation we seldom have the same affection towards ourselves. Criticizing ourselves is more acceptable than loving ourselves.

According to psychologists we are more likely to stick to the negative imprint of life which impacts our whole existence. The reason behind this is the “negative bias” of our brain, which leads us to being more receptive to unpleasant news. It`s as if we are hardwired to record and recall negative incidences rather than indulge in the memory and thoughts of positive ones. Self hate becomes more acceptable than self love. For some, an act of self love actually appears to be egocentric, or being self-centered.

You might ask yourself what self-love really is, where do you feel it, how do you do it, how safe is it and so on. Since we are all unique individuals, answers to these questions vary from one person to another. It is something you have to discover deep down inside of yourself to be able to define.

First of all, there is a difference between loving yourself and being in love with yourself or your ego. While the first example represents the natural condition you were born in, the second taps into a sea of insecurities based on the way others see you. Once interaction with others becomes difficult and evolves into a quest to prove something we lose our focus of self-love and buy into the perceptions of our outer world. Suddenly, others become the mirror we so desperately want to have our self-worth reflected in. We believe them and doubt our own judgment of ourselves by seeking approval in everything we do by constantly feeding the feeling of not being “enough”. “I`m not good enough”, “I’m not thin enough”, “I’m not successful enough” become the mantras we repeat.

Loving yourself is the essence of existence. If you can`t feel it anymore, fake it until you believe it. We’ve all heard sentences like these because they work. They really do. As conscious human beings, we are capable of controlling and steering our thoughts, beliefs and actions. There are some traits of self-love which you can cultivate. You have to work to blow the dust off your inner gem. It’s simple, yet equally hard. But there is a way out and to reach a healthy level of love for yourself you need to develop habits of caring, protecting, forgiving, appreciating, respecting, believing, valuing – all from yourself to yourself. Then you may even feel that you yourself are actually the love of your life, that you are indeed enough.

By Selma Köhn, of The Wellness Hub