Intimacy and Relationship Coach, Tracy Ziman Jacobs, writes about her views on Self-Love.

Everyone is talking about self-love. Instagram is abuzz with posts encouraging self-love.

Now, I for one, am a great believer in self-love. Yet I have my own definition of self-love…of course. I wonder if instagrammers have the same idea.

Growing up

Since I was a young girl, I have always been told that ‘if I want others to love me, then I must love myself’. Loving oneself can be quite a difficult ask of a teenager who is growing up and is constantly comparing herself to her peers. In addition, the other challenging aspect for a growing adult is that of building self-esteem. All of these concepts feel like pie in the sky. How exactly do you build self-esteem, when you don’t really know what self-esteem looks and feels like?

Achieving self-love and self-esteem.

Firstly, by doing the exact opposite of what women have been programmed to do from the beginning of time. That is, to think of myself before anyone else! Even my children.  I apply the same analogy as the airplane and the oxygen mask. First help yourself and then attend to others. If I am hungry, I am moody and have no patience for my children, therefore I must eat. If I am tired, I must rest. If I need time-out, I shut my door and must be left alone for a while. Why? Because I need to fill my own cup so that I have the capacity to give to others. If I am empty, how can I be available to those who need me?

Self-actualization

I have come to realize that I am the most important person in my world. I am the only person who I can rely on. My opinion is the only one that I need. I know exactly what is good for me and what I need to avoid. However, I also know when I need to seek advice about things that are out of my realm of expertise. I know that I am my own best friend and that although I do like the company of others, I am never bored.

My opinion

Above all, self-love and self-esteem can be achieved through self-pleasure. Self-pleasure as I know it, is an experience of touching ones’ body in a conscious and loving way. We practice self-love by making love to ourselves as we imagine a lover would. Slowly and with intention. We learn to accept ourselves as sensual beings, giving in to our own experience of what pleasure feels like. We explore our bodies and learn what turns us on, what feels good as we learn to truly, love ourselves. Free from any external influences. Free from any external expectations or any external agendas. As we bring ourselves to climax, it is only ourselves who we can say, “I love you” to. What better way to learn to love oneself? If repeated often enough, we begin to walk taller, think more creatively and become a far more sexy and sensual self.