Love Yourself: How do I love me? Let me count the ways.

By Lalaine Chu-Benitez

So. Your week on social media can be charted through your one hundred selfies. You spend a stupendous amount of your disposable income on make-up, bags, clothes, shoes, gadgets – things that you think will make you look appealing to your legions of Instagram followers. You like to wax poetic about how much you deserve the best things in the world, and how you like to take care of yourself, and how everybody should try to think, look, and live like you. Certainly, you are self-involved. Certainly you are self-obsessed – but self-loving? Ah, that’s where we hit a snag.

Self-love is probably one of the widely promoted catchphrases of the new age. You’ve heard it from the world’s most popular opinion leaders – from Beyonce, to Michelle Obama, to Deepak Chopra, even from our very own Bo Sanchez. You see the concept discussed on talk show upon talk shows, chick flicks, books, sites online, and etc. Yet considering how common this new age philosophy is – very few seem to neither really practice nor even understand it.

And then you look at Filipinos; us folks who have been reared on a steady diet of selfless love and sacrifice; who get into trouble for being over-eager to take care of our families and relatives without leaving anything for our own future; and for whom being pragmatic, when it comes to matters of the heart, is as rare as the Kohinoor diamond.

Sometimes, when you look around, you see very little signs that there IS indeed love for self.
But don’t get me wrong, self-love is not about being an egotistic narcissist, drowning in one’s own ‘delusions’ of grandeur, or having the ability to be loud and being able to summon superficial bravado. Nor is it just about giving yourself “me time,” a spa day, or a much needed make-over.

Honest to goodness self-love requires something deeper than just these superficial “feel good” things. It is about true self-acceptance and having self-esteem – knowing and embracing who you really are – your gifts and your limitations both. It is about realizing your importance and the importance of truly taking care of yourself. Moreso, it is about having self-worth – being aware of your true value, and having the chutzpah to demand what you deserve from life, and the discipline to exercise self-respect.

Love Yourself: How do I love me? Let me count the ways.

So while the tendency for you is to focus on the outside, it may well be worth it to delve inside of you and to nurture your one and only ‘you,’ because only then can you truly do justice in sharing love to those near and dear to you.

My dear Illustrado’s, take time to blush, to hug and to kiss. But never forget to save yourself the biggest love gesture of all. And for goodness sake, put the camera phone down.

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