Self-love and Compassion

On Self-Love and Compassion

It’s February, and Valentine’s Day is less than a couple weeks away. Today Valentine’s Day is no longer just about romantic love, it’s also a time celebrate self-love.

When I started Maison Noelle, I intended it to be a means of encouraging other women to love themselves as they are. From personal experience, I know how important such encouragement can be. 

But sometimes, no matter how much we practice self-love, we might find ourselves feeling less than fulfilled. 

We try to do everything right: set aside enough ‘me’ time; establish healthy boundaries; and treat ourselves to the rewards we deserve - yet we can’t shake off the feeling that there’s still something missing. 

What could it be?

One of my favorite writers, Henri Nouwen, once wrote in his book You are The Beloved:

“A love of ourselves... enables us to give wholehearted love to our fellow human beings.”

In other words, self-love makes it possible for us to love others freely and wholeheartedly.

Think of the last time you did something good for your loved one, or maybe even a complete stranger. How did you feel afterwards? Without self-love, you might be inclined to look for recognition or approval in their reaction. But with the security of self-love, you probably felt joy regardless whether or not they recognized the good that you did.

This is why in addition to encouraging self-love, I decided to focus on philanthropy as a part of Maison Noelle’s mission. By opening our hearts to others who are suffering, we are invited to step beyond our self, and discover what we were missing through compassion:

“Here we see what compassion means. 
It is not a bending toward the underprivileged from a privileged position; 
it is not a reaching out from on high to those who are less fortunate below; 
it is not a gesture of sympathy or pity for those who fail to make it in the upward pull. 
On the contrary, compassion means going directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there.”
- Henri Nouwen, Circles of Love

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