While the two may sound alike, self-care and self-love are very different. In the simplest of terms, self-care is what we do for ourselves and self-love is how we feel about ourselves. Both are extremely important for overall health and wellness, and somewhat dependent on one another to restore and maintain balance in our lives.
What is Self-Care?
As above, self-care is all about taking care of ourselves through action. Life can be hectic and extremely taxing on us. Self-care tactics help to restore balance and restore our sanity. It’s not all about vanity or the outer appearance either.
Sure, pedicures and hair appointments are great, but simple things like meditation, coffee with a friend, or listening to an upbeat playlist are just as important.
Self-care is taking the time necessary to rejuvenate our mind, body and spirit. Yes, it’s necessary. We give so much of our time and energy to serve others. Family and work are typically the main areas where we spend our time and energy, but when we are running on empty, we aren’t doing anyone any favors.
That’s why self-care is so important. For us to be able to put our best foot forward without feeling depleted.
What is Self-Love?
We are taught to compare ourselves to others’ progress, starting in early childhood. It’s meant to be an incentive to learn new things, but it actually wreaks havoc on our self-esteem and confidence as adults.
If you’re constantly watching your neighbor and comparing your life to theirs, successes and failures alike, it’s virtually impossible to feel whole. To feel good enough in your own skin.
No matter how many self-care tactics you engage in, without self-love there will always been the nagging feeling of inadequacy or habitually questioning your decisions.
Self-love is about accepting what is and doing the best you can to achieve the life you want. It’s about getting to know yourself on an intimate level and really, genuinely having love for yourself.
Try looking in the mirror and tell yourself, “I love you.” It’s not at easy as it sounds. Many of us immediately start pointing out flaws and reasons for disdain or self-loathing. We resort to negative self-talk and tear ourselves down.
What’s the Difference?
Self-care is actionable whereas self-love is internal and an emotional connection with oneself. You can do all the self-care techniques to make your body feel rested, energy restored, confident in the way you look… but without self-love, what do you really have?
Self-love is a deeper connection with yourself and trusting yourself to have deeper connections with others. It’s about being okay with the fact that you can’t really control the future.
Life is going to happen, whether you’re ready or not. But when you practice self-love you have the confidence and are secure enough in yourself to know you will get through it.
How are They Connected?
A form of self-love is in listening to your body and giving it what it needs, specifically self-care. They both require that we live in the moment and be present, sometimes just with ourselves. Both also insist we understand that we are individuals and how we think, feel and act are unique.
Self-care and self-love, when done intentionally, can transform our lives and help create a healthier, happier existence. In times of crisis, we seek out self-love to help on the frontlines of battle and self-care to make sure we are prepared for the fight.
Both are essentially about honoring our body, mind and spirit. One without the other is like missing a key ingredient to a recipe. You might be able to find a substitute, but the outcome won’t be the same. Essentially, it’s all about investing in yourself.
Feeling like you are worthy of the investment and carrying it out. It’s a beautiful union when it all comes together. Often times when one is established but the other isn’t quite developed, it feels as though something is askew, not quite balanced or finished. The puzzle isn’t complete.
The soul isn’t completely at rest. When both are incorporated, self-care refuels the tank and self-love gives us the faith and conviction that we can go the distance come what may. They could quite possibly be the Ying and Yang of life.