Excerpted from If Love Is a Game, These Are the Rules
At its core, loving yourself simply means believing in your own essential worthiness. It is nurturing a healthy sense of positive self-regard and knowing in your heart that you are a valuable link in the universal chain. Loving yourself also means actively caring for every facet of yourself. It shows up in every action you take, from putting on a sweater to protect yourself from a chill to leaving a job that does not fulfill you. It means tuning in to your own wants and needs and honoring them the exact same way you want your partner to attend to you.
Not everyone grows up to have an innate sense of high self esteem or worthiness. In fact, most of us need to work at it to some degree throughout our lifetimes. Each person feels insufficient in one or more areas, whether physical, intellectual, financial, or in interpersonal dynamics, emotional maturity, or spiritual growth. However, respecting, nurturing, honoring, and cherishing yourself is your birthright and something you can learn.
Loving yourself is the best way to learn how to love. Love is an action that requires certain understandings, skills, and capacities. By practicing loving yourself, you train yourself to advance to the next level – loving another.
Only when you have successfully mastered taking care of your own needs can you know how to extend that same attention to others. When you respect the validity of your own thoughts and feelings, you can apply that consideration to others. When you believe within yourself how valuable you are, you can then bestow authentic affection on a partner.
If your objective is to play the game of love and win, then learning self-love is the first step you must take. Before you can roll the dice or even place your playing piece on the board, you need to tap into the inner reaches of your heart and soul and discover all that you are worth.