Difference between self-love and self-care


Shrenya Soni

Psychology Associate

Let’s imagine a mother and her child. The mother wants to teach the child how to behave and the child refuses to learn. What does the mother do? She pampers the child, she tells the child how much she loves her and how much she believes in her. This helps the child acquire self-confidence and accelerates the process of learning.

Humans are a social animals, we form associations. We do need people around us, but what we need the most is ourselves. We need to be caregivers to ourselves. We need to love ourselves and we need to care of ourselves.

By doing this we not only sustain ourselves but also fill our soul with positivity and self-confidence. If we do not like the kind of person we are, how can we ever expect the world to like us? We become the person we want to be. Now there are different versions of self-care and self-love that we have heard and we often use these two phrases as synonyms of each other but there contain distinct meanings and if we understand what they mean we are in for a healthier mental health. So let’s discuss the differences between Self Love and Self Care:

What is Self Care?

Self-care can be defined as any activity that we voluntarily do in order to take care of our physical and mental health. Good self-care is the key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. So how can one indulge in self-care?

1. Starting with the obvious, one must follow a healthy diet.
2. Getting rid of all self-harming behaviours such as overeating, binge watching Netflix, excessive spending on frivolous stuff, etc.
3. Sleeping adequately: adults need 6-8 hours of sleep each night, so let’s take time to sleep well.
4. Exercising regularly, it’s not only good for our physical health but also for our emotional health. It increases serotonin levels, leading to improved mood and energy.
5. Practicing relaxation exercises and meditation.
6. Spending enough time with our loved ones.
7. Doing at least one pleasurable activity every week. It may going to the cinema, meeting friends, cooking, or just pamper ourselves in the salon.
8. Even though it is highly underrated, looking for opportunities to laugh and laughing our heart out.

What is Self Love? ?

Self-love is often confused with self-care and it’s important that we know the difference between the two.

While self-care is primarily nourishing our physical body, self-love is about nourishing our soul. Self-love is in an unconditional feeling of love, appreciation and acceptance of oneself.

So how do we actually practice love towards ourselves?

1. Practicing good self-care: A healthy mind and body helps in focusing in having a positive outlook towards our body. We become more careful and value our quality of life. So while self-care and self-love are not really the same, self-care is an essential ingredient of self-love.
2. Being mindful by becoming aware of our likes and dislikes, our interests and disinterests. This helps us understand ourselves and the kind of person we are which will further help us grow on the path of self-love.
3. Focusing on our needs rather than our wants. We know we love ourselves when we can turn away from something that feels good and exciting and towards what we need to stay strong and centered. By staying focused on what we actually need, we turn away from automatic behavioural patterns that get us in trouble, keep us jarred in the past, and decrease the self-love.
4. Setting boundaries: We love ourselves more when we set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm us physically, emotionally and spiritually, or barely express who we are, over a sustained period of time.
5. Protecting ourselves: Bringing the right people into our life. Surrounding ourselves with positive vibes and people who keep pushing us to our absolute best.
6. Forgiving ourselves: We can sometimes be very hard on themselves. Let’s practice being less hard on ourselves when we make a mistake. There are no failures if we have learned and grown from our mistakes; there are only lessons learned.
7. Living intentionally: Instead of living a meaningless life, let’s feel every step, because if our intention is to live a meaningful and healthy life, we will make decisions that support the intention, and feel good about ourselves when we succeed in this purpose.

So now, we understand the difference between self-love and self-care and practice both because if we don’t, we are missing out on a lot of peace and happiness.

Most of us have a lot of responsibilities in our life: financial, educational, family, etc. However, we also have a responsibility towards an incredible person who’s our real partner for life: our own Self.

View more content by Shrenya Soni

Discussion Board

What are your thoughts about self-love? How do you practice it in your daily life?

We often forget to take care of ourselves while taking care of practically everything else! Great article Shrenya 🤩
Madhuri Loonia
Really it ia a grt artical ..v all know first to take care of our emotional and physical health but v forget to do so and suffer a lot .thank u for such an artical which remind us about selfworth and self care😊
A great reminder to love ourselves ❤️ amazing article!
Ankana Mitra
Such a beautiful article. Much love to you ❤