Self-Love vs. Self-Care

Elizabeth Craig
4 min readApr 18


Photo by Author

Self-love and self-care are such popular concepts these days, you can’t make one click or take one step without seeing something about either or both. On one hand, these terms have become so saturated in our world that it makes me want to come up with new terms. On the other hand, I know that this saturation means love and care are popular topics, which means people are engaging in all kinds of things to embody both. That makes me happy!

To me, self-love is believing you deserve to love and be loved simply because you exist. It is trusting in your divine right to believe in yourself, love yourself, and seek and experience happiness, regardless of what others believe about you. It transcends physical beauty and is in alignment with your truest and most authentic self.

If you don’t believe you’re worthy of your own love, there’s a lot of digging ahead of you. What experiences in your past led you to believe that? Can you break them down and tease them apart to better understand them? Is it possible that whatever someone said or did to you to make you feel this way was a result of their own pain and insecurities? Is it possible that their behavior had nothing to do with you, other than using you as a trash receptacle to hold all of their garbage? Don’t believe them. You’re enough and you always have been.

Self-love is the foundation upon which we build absolutely every other relationship in our human experience. Self-Care is the behaviors, thoughts, beliefs, actions, and activities you engage in that sustain and strengthen that foundation.

There’s a lot of controversy over what is considered proper self-care activities, but my thoughts are this: only you can decide what is self-care for you. For one person, that may be waking up three times a week at 5:00 a.m. to row with her rowing team. For another, it may be the indulgence of a pedicure that he saves up for each month. For me, it’s sometimes giving myself permission to take an entire day and do nothing but write. It’s different for all of us and no one can tell you what self-care means to you.

The point is to engage. Self-care is kind of like self-love in that respect; if you don’t believe you deserve it, then you need to figure out why and perhaps who is making you feel this way and why you’re allowing them to do such a thing. Maybe it’s time to consider that they’re making decisions for you that only you can make for yourself.

I once had a friend that was going through a difficult time while parenting her two young kids. She was a stay-at-home mom and found herself overworked, stressed, and pretty miserable with the daily doldrums of parenting. I told her to take a break. She looked completely clueless as if she had no idea what I was talking about or how such a thing could even occur. I told her to consider asking a neighbor, calling her mother, hiring a babysitter, or anyone she trusted to come to her home one time per week for 2 or 3 hours to give her a break. Wide-eyed, she said she didn’t even know what she’d do with the time. I told her she’d get her favorite magazine, head to the nearest Starbucks, sip the most indulgent latte she wanted, and zone out into blessed oblivion. She was mesmerized by the thought. Then she said to me that her husband would never allow it.

What?? If you follow me, you know what I’d say to all of that so I’ll spare you the rant.

If you’re not sure what you can do to care for yourself just a little better, consider what you’d do with your time if people and general adulting weren’t considerations. What activities make you instantly salivate when you see yourself engaged in them? Write that list and start implementing even one that you can make time for. You’d be surprised how time somehow stretches for you and before you know it, you’re checking off that entire list.

You deserve to love yourself and you deserve to do whatever it takes to maintain that love. You don’t need permission to accept this notion but just in case you think you do, here it is.

Permission granted.

. . . . .

If you’re ready to start your journey into self-love, you can reach me here and here.



Elizabeth Craig

Author. Sellf-Love Photographer & Coach. Educator.