How I Realized That Self-love Isn’t Selfish
“‘Love yourself’ is a famous phrase we hear a lot. It is not a new idea. And yet, explanations of self-love seem a bit primitive and almost superficial—take time for yourself, care about yourself, get a massage. These are all great things to do, but do these reach the depth of meaning that our soul truly craves? Are you reaching the level of depth required for self-love, or only looking at the surface?” asks Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani.
Read on and be empowered by Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani, author of the new 2023 book Becoming Flawesome, as she shares her journey from being on top of a personal growth empire like Mindvalley to stepping aside, conscious uncoupling from her husband, and walking her path towards being more honest with herself through her realization that self-love isn’t in fact selfish.
The journey to self-love starts with honesty.
I had to take a long, hard look at my picture-perfect life. I have two adorable children. And I am the co-founder of the leading personal growth platform in the world, Mindvalley, which transforms hundreds of thousands of lives through the programs we deliver. My husband, Vishen Lakhiani, is an international speaker and best-selling author. I spend my days doing what I love and traveling the world, teaching people about happiness. On the outside, I am a successful wife, mother, and entrepreneur. However, inside, things didn’t make sense.
I was often introduced as Vishen’s wife, which started to bother me. It was not a complete picture of who I am. I also felt guilty because I should be proud of my husband. In another instance, I’d go on a business trip and enjoy myself so much that I’d forget to call my children. Does this make me a bad mother or wife? Does this match who I really am? Are these thoughts and feelings even inappropriate?
The only place I felt I could be myself and break down was behind the closed door of my bathroom: asking myself who am I and what does it mean to truly love myself? I had to muster the courage to go into the attic and the basement, closets and dark corners of the rooms of my self, the parts that I didn’t want to see.
I knew I had to make a change. But what was going to happen to the people that I love? I believed that my decisions would stress them or cause them pain. We never want to hurt those that we love.
The next step in my journey was acceptance. In our culture, there’s a lot of pressure to always be fixing things, and to be the best versions of ourselves. However, we cannot begin to change anything if we don’t first accept who we are, the imperfect version of ourselves. It’s not easy.
I had to accept the parts that I liked about myself and the ugly sides, the darkness. I had to accept what would happen when I made the changes I needed to make. And so, I began to disassemble the life I had built.
Once I fully acknowledged that I’m not the perfect version of myself that I thought was, something beautiful happened.
Truly loving yourself is the ability to wholeheartedly stand for what is important to you and what you value…. Taking action on those values is not being selfish, but rather being fully expressed and a complete version of who you really are.
Who I am is thanks to all the quirkiness, the darkness, the bizarre sides. It’s the full shape and form of all parts of me, not just the beautiful and external facade. I had to come to peace with who and what I am. Only then can true self-love occur.
The fact is that no one was affected by the changes that I made to my life. People were emotionally involved in my journey, but their lives had not changed. Whatever reaction they had to my life changes is really a part of their journey, not mine, which I also had to accept.
Truly loving yourself is the ability to wholeheartedly stand for what is important to you and what you value. It’s knowing and accepting who you are—all parts of you, the good and the dark.
Taking action on those values is not being selfish, but rather being fully expressed and a complete version of who you really are. Selfish acts only come from a lack of self-love, a need to fill a hole in your heart from not upholding your values and what’s important.
We are human and imperfect on this journey of life. In order to maintain happiness, we must also look at the darkest corners of ourselves, love and embrace them, and step forward with courage to be who we truly are. This is self-love.
About Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani
Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani is a transformational leader, happiness advocate, and co-founder of Mindvalley, one of the leading personal development platforms in the world. She is also a conscious parent of two adorable children. When she isn’t teaching about happiness, growth, and transformation, she plays the harp and is a lover of classical music and literature.
On July 10, 2023, Kristina launched her book Becoming Flawesome. Get your limited-time FREE copy here!