We know it’s important to love ourselves, right? But what does it really mean to love and care for yourself?

For some people, self-love means taking a warm bath or pampering themselves with a massage or manicure. Yet, the elusive self-love that we seek requires something deeper than anything we can “do” for ourselves.

Self-love means finding peace within ourselves — resting comfortably within the depths of our being. We might find temporary respite by doing something to nurture ourselves. But a deeper inner peace requires cultivating a certain way of being with ourselves — a warm and nurturing attitude toward what we experience inside.

Being Gentle with Ourselves 

It’s often easier to be kind and gentle toward others than toward ourselves. Judgmental voices from the past may have left a hidden residue of toxic shame, which blocks us from honouring — or even noticing– what we’re really feeling.

Allowing Our Experience to Be as it Is

Loving ourselves means experiencing our feelings just as they are. Oftentimes, we try to push away unpleasant experiences and cling to pleasant ones. But as Buddhist Psychology suggests, we create more suffering for ourselves by clinging to pleasant things and having an aversion toward painful feelings.

Embracing the Wisdom of Not-Knowing

If we’re honest with ourselves, we might notice that we’re often not clear about what we’re feeling. Our feelings are often vague and fuzzy. If we can allow ourselves to pause and make room for ambiguity and patiently welcome and explore our blurry, vague feelings, they may gradually come into clearer focus.