I wish I had a better job. I wish I had more money. I wish I wasn’t so fat. I wish I was more attractive. I wish my hair had more volume. I wish my hair wasn’t so puffy. The way that society and mass media is these days, it’s easy to fall into the trap of negative self-image and negative self-talk. We refuse to accept ourselves for who we are. We refuse to accept our lives for what they are. And this can be awfully depressing and profoundly destructive.

At the end of the day, we all just want to be happy and this has to start from a place where we are happy with ourselves and with our lives. Self-love can be incredibly empowering and, assuming you don’t elevate it to the level of pompous narcissism, it is generally a good thing. Love thyself.

But this comes with a rather important caveat.

As much as you would like to be proud of who you are, exclaiming to the world to hear you roar, the very notion of self-love must first be predicated on a foundation of self-awareness. Before you can love thyself, you must know thyself. Some people can find this through meditation. Others can simply engage in some careful introspection.

It’s not really about figuring out whether your perceived value and worth as a person is a glass that is half-full or half-empty. Instead, it’s about knowing what you offer that fills the glass, as well as what you may be missing in the empty portion of the glass. It’s also about knowing that the glass will never be completely full, nor should it be.

It’s about embracing both the good and the bad, recognizing your shortcomings so that you can learn to overcome them and improve yourself as a person. Only when you acknowledge your faults (but not dwell on them) can you truly celebrate your strengths and successes. Be proud and happy about who you are, through and through.