self love

Self Love: The Chronic Misunderstandings and the 25 Signs You Need It

Self love rests at the heart of all love, yet most people completely misunderstand what this form of love actually is. Hence, they fail miserably when it comes to how to find self love. Because of that, all their other relationships suffer, especially the romantic ones. 

True self love, although frequently misinterpreted, is actually quite simple. Most make this important personal experience of love far more complicated than it needs to be. Others make it a set of to-do list items that inevitably they can never accomplish. With that, our failed attempts at self-care turn into the very opposite of loving ourselves. 

Some people scratch their heads and wonder, what is self love? Some people consider it to be getting a massage, going to the gym, getting your nails done, going out with friends. While those are expressions of self-care, you could do any of those things and still judge, criticize and even hate yourself. 

Genuine self love has everything to do with the quality of your relationship with yourself. Simply, it is about having a relationship with you. More specifically it’s about having a loving relationship with you because far too many actually have an unloving, even abusive, relationship with themselves. (Be gentle with yourself if that feels like you. With a clear, and more importantly, a true understanding of self love, you can legitimately and undoubtedly find your way out of a painful relationship with yourself.) 


Who needs to practice this form of love?  

Everyone needs to practice self love. Everyone needs to feel and experience it. Although often thought of this way, self-loving is definitely not just for women or those with a feminine sexual essence. Masculine beings need as much of this personal love as feminine beings. Every single human being needs it. 

We need a love of self more than we need romantic love. Romantic love depends on self love. 

Genuine romantic love is supporting each other in our own self love.

Joanna Shakti

We cannot be happy nor in love without knowing how to experience genuine love with ourself. We can certainly have what appears to be success without loving ourself, but we’ll never experience true satisfaction and fulfillment, or even the real joys and pleasures of life, without a deep rooted experience of self love. In reality, many seemingly successful but actually unhappy people have an immense lack of personal love. 

You have, of course, heard the old adage, “You can’t love another until you love yourself,” and no matter how much you don’t like hearing it, no matter how much you might deny its truth, a love of self is the foundation of every happy successful romantic partnership. 

As a matter of fact, if that adage irritates you, your soul, your being, is probably silently begging, “Please see me. Please love me.”

In reality, more people than most would care to admit have no idea what real loving of self is. If we’re willing to look, we’ll find evidence everywhere for how much we all need a big dose of radical self love. Our relationships, and truly our world, suffer because of our lack of understanding, our misunderstanding, of this fundamental and foundational form of love. 


25 Signs you need to learn how to find self love

Since most people misapply the idea of self love, and because so many believe it to be selfish, we can’t see the signs (and therefore problems caused by) the lack of it in ourselves or in our partners. 

So let’s explore 25 telltale signs that you need to learn how to find self love… 

  1. You constantly put others needs ahead of your own
  2. You think caring for you is selfish
  3. You lose yourself in a relationship
  4. You’re good at self abandonment
  5. You experience co-dependence or enmeshment in love
  6. You try to get it right
  7. You have perfectionist tendencies
  8. You settle for less than your true desires
  9. You experience resentment
  10. Your romantic relationships don’t seem to work out 
  11. You’re exhausted or ill
  12. You have a constant critic on your shoulder
  13. You judge others harshly
  14. You beat yourself when you make a mistake
  15. You avoid conflict
  16. You’d describe yourself as a people pleaser
  17. You’re a “nice guy”
  18. You don’t want to be high-maintenance
  19. You feel insecure or have low self-esteem
  20. You over apologize
  21. You’re great at giving in to compromise 
  22. You aren’t great at setting boundaries
  23. You’ve lost sight of your needs and desires
  24. It’s hard to say no
  25. Your sex life doesn’t thrill you

Now that we know that, collectively and individually, we are starving for loving attention from ourselves, let’s answer the very important question, “what is the definition of self love?” so you can recognize it and create it for yourself intentionally. 


What is self love?

To clear up the chronic misunderstandings, and clearly and practically answer the question “what is self love,” we must consider it in the context of relating. Self love means having an intimate loving relationship with yourself. Intimacy in this context refers to closeness and connection with yourself. Relating to you, loving yourself, is actually no different than relating to and loving another. When you genuinely know how to self love, you give yourself time, attention, care, comfort, compassion, encouragement and the like, just as you would a beloved. 

Self love means that you don’t criticize, judge, beat up, and ignore yourself. How long would a relationship with another last if you did these things to that person? Not long. 

Going deeper, loving yourself also means that you have your own back so that if another person lets you down (and even the most conscious loving person will in a romantic relationship), then you know you’ll be ok. This authentic self love and self relationship turns dependency and codependency in romantic relationships into interdependency where real love and soul partnership can thrive.

Learning how to self love gives you the strength, courage and roots to open your heart fully to true love shared with another. 


How to find self love 

Let’s continue to simplify this often vague concept of self-love, turning it into something even more concrete. While self love isn’t something we can seek and find, it is something we can feel and create. When you understand what it really is, you can start clearing the way for it to happen naturally.

Just as Rumi says about love itself… Love for you already exists. You simply have to remove the blocks and barriers to it. To discover how you might be blocking self love, let’s get familiar with it’s primary qualities… 

  • Compassion 
  • Kindness
  • Acceptance
  • Embracing
  • Understanding
  • Presence
  • Attention
  • Care
  • Tenderness 
  • Vulnerability 

Reflecting on these qualities, are they not the very things you want to both experience and offer in your romantic relationships? Are they not signs of unconditional love? 

They are signs of unconditional self love as well. If you want these in your romantic relationships, start wanting them in your relationship with yourself too.

When you build an authentic loving relationship with yourself, your whole life will change. Your romantic life, your emotional well being, even your physical well being will improve when you genuinely know how to practice self love. 


How to practice self love in a relationship

As we begin to understand how to practice self love with ourselves, it’s critical that we also know how to practice self love in a relationship. When it comes to romantic love, as we said above, losing ourselves in a relationship flashes a big red flag indicating our need for personal love. This lack of practice in loving ourselves when in relationship then continues to breeds resentment and self abandonment and the insidious harm it creates in our romantic connections. 

So in order to see more clearly how romantic love requires a personal love first, its easiest if we look at the soul love stages. The first of the three stages is actually authentic self love. In this stage, when we experience authentic personal love we create an internal experience of Ecstatic Authenticity™  where we know who we truly are and we genuinely like who we are. As a matter of fact, when we step into Ecstatic Authenticity, we are no longer willing to be anything but ourselves, no matter what anyone else might think.

Without diving too deeply into the details of the stages, it’s important to note that the transition from the first stage to the second stage – the stage of Ecstatic Intimacy®, Loving Soul-to-Soul and Soul Partnership – requires embracing ourselves so we can make the transition into authentic relating with another. 

Self love at this transition point means that you are able to love yourself so well that you are willing to be seen in your imperfections, vulnerabilities, and even weaknesses as much as you are willing to be seen in the fullness of your dreams and desires. 

Self love is the only way to trust love.

Self love is the only way to know love.

Self love is the only way to experience true love. 

In our programs we clear the way for all love to thrive. We know, without a doubt, that this habit of loving yourself is absolutely essential to a lasting soulmate relationship. Yet, we also see that it’s one of the most difficult lessons for many to learn.  

However, when we unravel the myths and misconceptions, practicing this kind of personal love does become quite simple to understand and embody. Living it and feeling it comes with support, patience, and practice.

Practicing it puts you on the real path to Love.



Since 2006, highly conscious men and women, with a commitment to extraordinary relationships, have chosen Ecstatic Intimacy to find and cultivate the relationships with themselves that open the doors to soul-to-soul intimacy. Ecstatic Intimacy believes in true love, for all. You too, are invited…

*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.

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