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My First Lover

“And if I asked you to name all the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?”

I experienced an epiphany after reading these wise words! I thanked this anonymous person profusely!

To me, placing ourselves as a priority does not make us immoral, egoistic, narcissistic, self-centred, or selfish.

A disposition of “placing ourselves as a priority” could be translated into:

  • Self-Love

  • Self-Compassion

  • Self-Kindness

  • Self-Care

  • Self-Soothing, and so on

Some may even extend, but not limited, to the following:

  • Self-Concept

  • Self-Existence

  • Self-Acceptance

  • Self-Esteem

  • Self-Worth

  • Self-Confidence

  • Self-Fulfilment

  • Self-Growth

  • Self-Evolution

Though the meanings of each term are not exactly the same, the ultimate common message here is this - treat ourselves nice.

For simplicity of discussion, I shall use the term, Self-Love, in this article.

It is important to clarify that to “treat ourselves nice” is neither an excuse nor a reason for us to be involved in some Self-Indulgent thoughts, feelings, or behaviours that could harm ourselves and others.

Instead, committing to Self-Love in a proper and balanced approach can bring us greater positivity and feelings of goodness in various facets of our lives. Self-Indulgence, on the other hand, does not. Thus, let’s practice Self-Love, consciously and wisely.

I reckon that I need to continue taking good care of myself physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. I strongly feel that even a Superman or a Superwoman will be unable to “save the world” if these Superhumans do not have a sound quality in any of these aspects.

In my case, this outlook of Self-Love reminds me of my various roles in my life much clearer and more purposeful. This is especially so in my current career as a therapist. It prevents me from experiencing compassion fatigue, burnout, secondary traumatic stress, occupational tension, and tiredness. As a result, I can continue providing professional intervention and treatment to my clients, supporting them to accomplish their therapy goals.

Languages of Love

I believe a lot of us are aware of “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr Gary Chapman. They refer to Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, and Receiving Gifts.

My interpretation is that such languages of love do not only apply to a couple or lovers, but to others such as their family members, relatives, and friends. On a higher level, they also could be extended to our neighbours, workplaces, community, social, or even other sentient beings.

In addition, I recognise that there are three dimensions in “The 5 Love Languages”:

  • Love Others: How do you express your love to others?

  • Be Loved: How do you want to be loved by others?

  • Self-Love: How do you love yourself?

Personally, I feel that how do we love ourselves using “The 5 Love Languages” is the most significant dimension among the three.

I had a male client who needed marriage counselling. During the therapy process, I noticed that he exhibited frustration and disappointment in the relationship with his wife of ten years, who bore him two children.

He worked long hours during the weekdays to put food on the table and to provide materialistic comfort and enjoyment for his family. Besides “Acts of Service”, “Gifting” is his second language of showing his love to his family.

However, after chatting with his wife alone separately, I discovered that his wife’s first two languages of love of being loved, were “Quality Time” and “Words of Affirmation”, whilst “Receiving Gifts” was the last amongst the languages.

Such a sequence of order and a gap in expressing love to each other between this couple were clarified, processed and aligned, during a session when both were present.

They were psycho-educated on “The 5 Love Languages”, facilitated to understand their respective life values and beliefs as a person, a spouse, a parent, and their own family as a whole. The misalignment in communication styles and disparity in expectations between them were sorted out and recalibrated as well.

When they were asked how did they practice Self-Love individually, with reference to “The 5 Love Languages”, they were clueless and dumbfounded.

The “Blessing Manifesting” infographic below was then shared with the couple.

They were led and guided to uncover their respective needed “Self-Love Languages” which formed a cornerstone for themselves first, and then incorporated it with “The 5 Love Languages”, for showing their love to each other.

Through this discussion and exercise, the couple better understood each other’s needs and wants, and respect their place, space, and pace in a more loving and passionate manner. (I was honoured to be told that they are expecting an addition to the family soon!)

Forget Me Not

There are many stories describing how the name of a tiny blueish flower, “Forget-Me-Not”, came about. One of them is based on a Greek myth. Zeus thought he had given all the plants a name, whereupon a small blue flower shouted “forget me not!”. Zeus decided to give the plant that name.

Regardless of how this flower’s name came about, the essence of the message is about remembrance, a quality that we should give to ourselves, at least. So please do not forget ourselves. We deserve to treat ourselves better.

I cannot agree more with Ms Lucille Ball who proposed, “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”; while Ms Katrina Mayer highlights that “Loving yourself isn’t vanity. It’s sanity.”

This sounds cliché, yet this is truly one of the primary life goals for us to pursue and achieve! When we treat ourselves nice, based on our own personal life values and beliefs, which should be moral, meaningful and appropriate, we keep the key to happiness, with us.

With such peace of mind as our foundation, how others treat us no longer matters.

If there are other sources of love rendered to us by others, then they could be considered as presents, bonuses and gratuities!

So, can you name all the things that you love? I hope your first answer is “Me! I am always My First Lover…The one and only.”

To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness Robert Morley

This article is written based on Krish Phua's greatest aspiration to be a mind healer, facilitating his clients to cultivate and explore "Inside Mind Insights" for improving their Wellness, Wholeness and Wiseness.

Other articles of Krish Phua:


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