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Self-love has rightly become a buzzword that we’re all familiar with, encouraging us to do more of what makes us feel good, and practice kindness when it comes to the things that don’t. Accepting our emotions, desires, and true selves has certainly helped many of us to look past negativity and seek more wholesome, enjoyable lifestyles. Unfortunately, all is not well when we start to put self-love in the way of health in the first place.

After all, so-called ‘self-love’ practices that put our bodies at risk aren’t loving at all, even if they claim to be. Instead, well-implemented, effective self-love should be about protecting both health and wellbeing. Here, we consider three telling signs that your self-love efforts might have got a little off-track to mean that isn’t necessarily the case. 

Sign 1: Always giving in to your cravings

Self-love is all about giving ourselves more of what we want but, while there should be no end to self-love indulgences like positive self-talk, pamper sessions, etc., food indulgences should always be kept in check. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to a few chocolates at the end of a hard week, but let this go on for too long, and you’ll soon have to face things like doctor’s appointments, diabetes, and even treatments like Coolsculpting when weight gets out of control. To truly be kind to yourself, it’s therefore important to take a step back, limit your indulgences, and question whether that short-term pleasure is truly going to help you love yourself in the long term. 

Step 2: Choosing rest instead of exercise

Self-love shouldn’t mean pushing yourself, but if you always use this so-called kindness as an excuse to take to the couch instead of getting around to exercise, then it’s again time to make a change. After all, as well as damaging health overall, cutting out exercise too often can mean missing out on some of the best natural feel-good hormones out there. Hence, while it is important to listen to your body if you feel tired or otherwise strained, you should predominantly aim to motivate yourself towards exercise for true self-love benefits that don’t do damage in the name of imagined happiness.

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Step 3: Not calling out your bad habits

Acceptance is the name of the game where self-love is concerned, but it’s also important to check that you’re not using this as an excuse to overlook bad habits that need addressing. For instance, you might assume that allowing yourself to feel guilt-free about that drink or cigarette counts as an act of love, but let’s be clear about this – it doesn’t. Self-love is about realizing what’s good for you over what’s bad. Hence, habits like smoking, drinking, and so on, should never fall under that self-love circle. Instead, true self-love means recognizing the damage that you’re doing and taking positive steps to change that. 

Self-love can work wonders for your health and happiness, but only if you avoid the risk of using it as an excuse to harm your health in these ways.