I have struggled with the concept of "self-love." I have not understood that it does not mean some narcissistic self-indulgence. No, it means attending to the health of all the basic aspects of our being. Here is my cheat sheet on how you can cultivate love of self by respecting and attending to all of your basic needs. Thanks to Kathleen Hanagan for this elucidation, see her interview with Karen Uppal for more.
Here is the summary of how you can attend your overall well-being via the Chakra paradigm:
The Root Chakra is about survival, health and safety: cultivate well-being by attending to sleep, good nutrition and hydration, exercise, and hygiene.
The Sacral Chakra is about creativity, emotions and sexuality. Attend to well-being by cultivating empathy and relationship, realizing our needs for creativity, attending to sexual health (whether via a partner or self-pleasure), and keeping our finances in order.
The Solar Plexus Chakra is about personal power, self-confidence and self-esteem. Attend to well-being by acknowledging your gifts and manifesting your own power and not comparing yourself to others.
The Heart Chakra is abpit affinity for one's self and others. Attend to well-being here through loving the inner, innocent child within
Throat Chakra is about communication and self-truth. Attend to your well-being through clear, clean, empowering and positive speaking.
The 3rd Eye Chakra is our intuitive center and seat of the soul. Attend to your well-being here by trusting your own inner knowing. This deep place of knowing is never a voice of self-harm or harm to others, such a voice is the voice of ego.
The Crown Chakra is our connection to source and the higher self. Attend to this area of your well-being by staying connected to that which is greater than yourself through meditation, or prayer, or walks in the woods, or singing or however you find this for yourself. (A new study shows that just 20 minutes of contact with nature lowers stress and hormone levels. Woo hoo... go sit under a tree!
If you run into difficult times, you can run through this list every day to actively seek positive ways to stay connected and not sucked too deeply into negative emotions.
Paramahansa Yogananda suggests we "crowd out bad habits by substituting good habits in all departments of your life." I know I can easily get into a negative habit of thinking. But creating an active habit of attending to each of these areas every day, can pave forward a positive path of self-love.
In loving partnership and practice in all these areas myself !