Whilst self-love seems to be a hot new topic, the real origins of self-love go back thousands of years.
From Taoism beliefs highlighting the importance of “ziran”, to the modern day displays of self-love, the concept of loving oneself has had quite the journey through history.
Given it’s such an important part of physical and mental health, we decided to take a look at where self-love has come from, and where it’s headed.
The Meaning of Self-Love
So, what does self-love mean? Although the definition can be quite broad and diverse, the simple explanation is that self-love is an action or feeling toward oneself, from a state of love. And Oxford defines the word love as "an intense feeling of deep affection." Essentially, self-love is feeling deep affection for yourself! How nice is that?
But, self-love often is frowned upon. Why, you ask? Let's dig deeper.
Ancient Traditions of Self-Love
Across many cultures, self-love has shown its face throughout history in a variety of ways. This idea of loving ourselves, and thus sometimes putting ourselves first, was not always welcome. For example, Buddism philosophy states that our own desires are the root of all evil.
Contrastingly, Aristotle explained how self-love can actually be beneficial if approached in the right way. In his book Nicomachean Ethics and Eudemian Ethics, Aristotle explained that if self-love is based on selfish personal gains, then it shouldn't be considered a good thing. But if self-love is to achieve principles of virtue (things such as honest, goodness and morality), then it is in fact a good thing indeed.
The Current State of Self-Love
Even to this day, self-love is controversal. One side of the controversary claims that to act and feel self-love is to think that you are above others; self-love is thus considered a selfish act. On other side of the argument, it is explained that you cannot love others without first learning to love yourself. Therefore, self-love is actually a selfless act.
One positive benefit of social media is that this modern day tool has given people a platform to love themselves and spread that message to more people. There are more books, TV shows and movies talking openly about the the positivity benefits of self-love. With mental health consistently battling a stigma, modern self-love examples have done great work in turning self-love into a more globally recognised practice.
Whilst it has taken some time, self-love very recently has become a more socially and professionally accepted tool. Looking after yourself, by any method that you choose, has become key to a happy, fulfilled life.
Now that you've learned a little more about the history of self-love, and you're looking for new ways to practice self-love in your own life, getting active is an easy win! Not only does getting active provide you with benefits for your physical health but mental wellbeing also.
With classes and activities to suit anyone’s fitness needs, we invite you to come into Virgin Active and organise a free tour today. Start your own chapter of self-love with us today.