What is self love?

Do you love yourself? That’s a loaded question, isn’t it.

The words “self love” are everywhere these days. It goes beyond drinking green smoothies, or treating ourselves, or liking the way we look. All that fluff is a part of self love. However, I’ve come to learn that self love is a lot of work. And everybody has a different relationship with it.


If you asked me two years ago what self love is, I would’ve given you a big shrug.

If you asked me one year ago what self love is, I would’ve said something about confidence and given you a smaller shrug.

Two weeks ago, I had an epiphany as I was writing about new beginnings.

Self love is unconditional.

Let’s take a moment to let that sink in…


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Anndd…we’re back.

Think about all the people in your life. You can include fictional characters too if that helps (it certainly does for me)! Think about someone who you believe is extraordinarily talented, amazing, and inspirational. Somebody you would walk through fire with. You want to see them flourish in their good times. And when they’re feeling down about themselves, you want to grab them by the shoulders and scream “how can you not see how incredible you are?!?!”

Even if they do something you don’t agree with, you would never abandon them. You want to support them in their vulnerable moments. You have no doubt in your mind that they can achieve anything.

You should also feel that way about yourself.

That’s what unconditional self love means to me.


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I remember crying my eyes out to a friend. He told me to believe in myself more. I asked “Am I supposed to have faith in myself even when everything’s going wrong and nobody believes in me?”

He replied, “Yes. Especially then.”


You see…we’re trained to sell ourselves. We’re trained to find reasons for deserving nice things. 

You want this job? Why should we hire you?

You’re interested in this person? Why should they date you?

Why do you deserve it more than everyone else who wants it?

This is why I think so many of us struggle with self love. We ask why we deserve to feel good about ourselves. We treat self love as something we have to earn. We continuously try to prove ourselves worthy. And we ruthlessly tear ourselves down when we feel like we’ve fallen short. 


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Self love is not a prize. It is not a competition or a job interview. It is one of the only things we’re actually entitled to in life. And building self love should be a priority.

If you treat self love as something you need to compete for because there’s not enough to go around…well…I hate to break this to you, but you’re never going to understand it. I’m calling myself out as much as I’m calling out any of you!

It took me a long time to stop turning a blind eye to self love. Just two weeks ago, I figured out what self love means to me. And it’ll take a long time for me to live by it.



What does your journey with self love look like? What does self love mean to you?


Hugs and kisses,


You can also find me on my personal blog 

Author: Jin Cao

I am a multi-faceted designer, fashion blogger, makeup enthusiast, lover of cats, and connoisseur of ramen! Writer of LeggingsandLacquer.com Main fashion writer of Onahjung.com Find my work at Jinmartini.com

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