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Life Coach Julia Roman Debunks Myths About Self-Love

Radiance Talley | Jun 21, 2024

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Radiance Talley | Jun 21, 2024

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.

Over the years, I’ve been told that self-love was vain, superficial, and more materialistic than spiritual. 

As someone who has always believed self-love is about recognizing our inherent value and cultivating a healthy relationship with ourselves, I was disappointed to see people view loving themselves as a bad thing. So, I was grateful to hear Julia Roman’s insights on this subject.

Julia Roman is a certified life coach, educator, and author of “10 Steps to Self-Love: How to Fall in Love With Yourself” and “The Radical Self-Love Workbook.” She is an international self-love coach who has debunked many common self-love myths and shed light on what true self-love is.

Radiance Talley: Hi, Julia! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Often, people mistakenly equate self-love with egotism and vanity. Can you debunk this myth that self-love is shallow and narcissistic?

Julia Roman: True self-love does not mean that we put our needs before others or possess a sense of entitlement. In actuality, self-love is recognizing that we are already inherently worthy and enough just as we are. In this awareness, we come from a place of contentment and fulfillment, and we have more to offer others. Narcissism is being overly concerned with one’s looks or appearance, but true self-love is understanding that your value does not lie in your physical appearance. To love yourself means caring for your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being. Self-love is releasing perfectionism and practicing self-compassion when we inevitably make mistakes. It is embracing the parts of yourself society has conditioned you to reject and accepting where you are on your journey.

Radiance: For those who reduce self-love to a fad or a trend, can you explain why this concept is a timeless principle with ancient roots?

Julia: The concept of self-love dates back to the ancient Greeks and the time of Buddha. This longing to feel secure in ourselves and understand who we truly are is a tale as old as time. It’s natural to want to feel self-sufficient and that our worth does not lie in the hands of others. Understanding that we hold the key to how we see ourselves can be truly empowering and freeing. Everything we need lies within us because we come from God, who created us in His image. The Baha’i writings say


Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.

Radiance: Sometimes, people use self-love and self-care interchangeably. Can you explain the difference?

Julia: This is a common misconception since the two terms are often used interchangeably. Self-care is an action or a way to show yourself love. For example, cooking a healthy meal, spending time in nature, having a spa day, etc. Self-love is accepting and caring for yourself just as you are and remembering your inherent worthiness. It is something you do and embody. Loving yourself means living in alignment with your values and connecting to your higher self.

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Radiance: What are some simple daily practices that can help cultivate both self-love and self-care?

Julia: I recommend setting time aside each day to show yourself love in ways that feel right to you. This can be prioritizing your health and well-being, working on self-development, showing yourself compassion, building your confidence, cultivating spiritual qualities, giving back to others, etc. When we take care of our mind, body, and spirit, we are stronger, more resilient, and have greater abilities and faculties to serve others. It’s so important to do things that make you happy and give you joy because that bliss will spread and create a ripple effect. Abdu’l-Baha, one of the central figures of the Baha’i Faith, said:

Joy gives us wings! In times of joy our strength is more vital, our intellect keener, and our understanding less clouded. We seem better able to cope with the world and to find our sphere of usefulness.

Radiance: How has self-love and self-care improved your total health and well-being?

Julia: Learning to love and take care of myself has improved every aspect of my life. Before I began my self-love journey, I was a people-pleaser and perfectionist who unconsciously attracted unfulfilling jobs, one-sided friendships, and unhealthy relationships. I was unknowingly giving my power away and seeking external validation. When I finally started to love myself and give myself compassion when I was struggling, I was able to heal from the inside out and release the traumas from my past. Self-love can benefit anyone no matter where they are in their life.

Radiance: How can loving yourself improve your spiritual health and development?

Julia: Taking care of our body, mind, and spirit is paramount since we won’t be able to properly serve the world if we neglect ourselves. Self-love as a daily practice can look like meditating, praying, and connecting with God. These actions feed our souls and make us feel more fulfilled in our lives. I believe the true goal of self-love is to be so filled with love that it overflows into the world, and our light can bring joy to humanity. In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, it states:

…you should not neglect your health, but consider it the means which enables you to serve. It—the body—is like a horse which carries the personality and spirit, and as such should be well cared for so it can do its work! You should certainly safeguard your nerves, and force yourself to take time, and not only for prayer and meditation, but for real rest and relaxation.

Radiance: Some people believe that the more love we give to ourselves, the less we have to give to others. Can you share how self-love enhances our relationship with others?

Julia: I primarily work with women who have been taught to put others’ needs before their own and that other people’s opinions dictate their worth. Loving ourselves means that we already feel whole and do not need to be dependent on others for approval or validation. This offers an optimal environment for relationships to thrive. Self-love is also essential for effective communication and setting healthy boundaries with others. It increases our sense of empathy and understanding towards others, which benefits our relationships. In order to fully receive love, we must first love ourselves, and then we will have more love to give to others. Self-love is the foundation for all of our other relationships.

RELATED: You’re Already Whole and Don’t Need Someone to Complete You

Radiance: In your book, “10 Steps to Self-Love: How to Fall in Love With Yourself,” you explain that self-love is a journey, not a destination. How can people stay committed to self-love as a daily practice?

Julia: Self-love is not something we ever arrive at, but is rather a path that we are continually walking on. One of my favorite aspects of self-love is self-discovery, which is acquainting ourselves with our inner essence. It is developing the spiritual virtues within us. These are the gems in the crown of our souls that are waiting to be revealed. Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, wrote:

The Great Being saith: Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Enhance Your Inner Beauty

Tapping into this power connects us to our Creator and is an important reminder that our value lies within us and is not based on anything external. Every day, I like to reflect on which virtues I exhibited and which ones I need to work on. The Baha’i Writings state that we should call ourselves to account each day and stay committed to our soul’s growth and development. In this regard, loving ourselves can be a gift to the world.

Radiance: Loving ourselves can truly heal, develop, and strengthen ourselves and our relationships. Thank you, Julia, for debunking these myths about self-love and clarifying what loving ourselves truly entails. If you’d like to discover tips, techniques, and exercises to support you on your self-love journey, read Julia Roman’s book, “10 Steps to Self-Love: How to Fall in Love With Yourself.”

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