People generally don’t love people who love themselves. They’re narcissistic, conceited, bigoted, selfish and, well, just full of themselves.

So how does that reconcile with self love?

Self love is completely different. It’s about taking care of yourself as you would someone you love dearly, a spouse, parent, daughter or son for instance. And that’s OK.

It’s about taking care of what we put in our bodies, what we eat, drink, swallow, smoke, sniff or inject, and how much we consume. It’s about getting exercise that improves the workings of our vital organs, the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. It’s about the thoughts, opinions and narratives we allow into our heads and how we allow those to influence and shape us. It’s about the time we take for ourselves to rest, recover and plan for the future. And it’s about our purpose in life, what we stand for, where we want to go and what we want to achieve.

The safety announcements on every airline across the world include the exact same statement; “Please fit your own oxygen mask before attempting to help others with theirs.”

This is exactly what I mean by self love.

In a nutshell, if we’re in no fit shape ourselves, our ability to help others is severely limited.

So what can we do? I went through some pretty torrid times. Here’s what’s helped me turn things around…

1. Watch What You Consume.

Treat what you put into your body as fuel (that is exactly what it is). If you owned a $300,000 Ferrari, you wouldn’t put low grade crap in the fuel tank. Your body is much more valuable, treat it as such

2. Move your Ass.

Roughly 2 in 3 adults in the western world are overweight or obese. That puts extra strain on the body and it’s ability to work efficiently. Eating better and in the right quantity will help, but exercise will directly boost the working of every major organ, give you more energy and make you feel a lot better about yourself

3. Install a guard at the entrance to your mind.

There’s loads of negative crap out there and if we’re not careful we can allow it to contaminate us. The regular media, social media, even friends and family can fill our heads with toxic thoughts and sooner or later we become toxic ourselves. It doesn’t have to be that way. We all have the power to choose where and what we focus on. Of course we all need to stay informed, and we can do that by looking at the facts. We don’t need the negative opinions, commentary and uttering of others, so leave them well alone.

4. Schedule ‘me time’.

I choose to wake early each morning and start my day whilst others are still sleeping. They won’t distract me and I won’t disturb them. I use this time for me, to set up my day by planning, practicing gratitude and meditation and exercising. By doing it early, I know I am able to give others my full attention when they’re up from bed too. But when you do it is less important than doing it. Make sure you do.

5. Find your purpose.

You are not a job title, a label or a number. You are special and you have the ability to influence things beyond your wildest dreams. Having a purpose is an extension of self identity. It enables us to live with passion and energy. If you’re struggling to find a purpose take some time to analyse what really matters to you most. If that still doesn’t work, think about what makes you mad as hell, and think about how you can do something to address it.

In summary, self love is not selfish. It is not self centred. It is simply ensuring we get ourselves into the best position possible so we can then help and support others.

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