The Art of Self Love: A Pathway to Compassion

by Camellia Lee

Love is one of the greatest gifts one can give. It is the expression of care, compassion, empathy and kindness. It can be expressed in a multitude of ways: through a hug or embrace, a gesture — random acts of kindness for a neighbor, volunteering at a charity, cooking for family and friends, or being intimate with your partner, this list could go on.

In this time of global flux and quarantine, our accessibility of connection to others has been radically altered while we are all isolated at home, the compassion and kindness we are accustomed to giving to others, can be redirected to ourselves, as self love. The notion of self love is a concept we don’t think about, while we busily care for others, whether in family or through work. Because the truth is to practice self love, is to practice self care, which is also something that normally falls to the bottom of our priority to-do list.

When we prioritize and proactively create rituals of self love, we also create more room for love and compassion and expand our capacity to share love. Likening to the life saving analogy of taking the oxygen mask to your own face before you give the mask over to your loved one.

Self love provides the opportunity to increase your own vitality while stimulating happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin which are neurotransmitters in the brain and body that produce “feel good” chemicals. These chemicals increase our positive mood, emotions, arousal, energy level, and ability to focus. Along with oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” which facilitates increased levels of bonding, empathy, happiness, and positivity.

Establishing a ritual art of self love through aromatherapy practices on a daily basis will stimulate serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine levels and can bring on increased connections to the heart center and ultimately more compassion not just to yourself but to others.

Here are some of my favorite essential oils and accompanying rituals to amplify self love:

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Distilled from the sweet, purple flower buds, this soft green, sweet, slightly herbaceous aroma brings kindness and calm to the senses and love to the heart. Dispense 3-4 drops into 1 cup of epsom salts for a warm foot bath or increase those drops to add into a full bath soak.

Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii) The plant of this grassy leaf distills a wonderfully sweet, uplifting, rosy and floral aroma with brightening citrus notes to bring forward compassion. Place a drop into the palms of the hands and breathe it in cupping over the face and notice how it may help shift into positive thoughts.

Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) The heartwood of this sacred tree offers a smooth, soft, creamy balsamic, woodsy note that connects the mind to the heart center. It is burned as incense and carved for walls in many thousand year old sacred temples throughout Asia. In a diffuser, place a few drops to emit into the atmosphere during moments of quiet.

Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) This sensual flower provides a distilled aroma of deep, penetrating sweetness, potent and rich with fruity green undertone, and is titillating to the senses. Self massage is one of the most powerful ways to create self love. Place a few drops into 1 ounce of carrier oil (jojoba oil, coconut oil or sunflower oil), gently shake and massage it throughout your entire body with presence and attention while absorbing the sweetness of Ylang Ylang.

Vetiver (Vetiveria Zizanoides) The distilled root of this grass, is deeply rich, sensual, earthy, a full bodied resinous aroma with smoky notes to bring awareness and transport the senses to sublime happiness and expansion. Vetiver helps to clear low mood, esteem, scatteredness and anchors oneself into the moment. Use a drop of oil to inhale during meditation, and massage into the soles of the feet.

The more you are able to give to yourself and fill your personal reserves, the more you have to give to others. Self care and self love practices are truly imperative to our overall wellbeing and health.

One of my favorite ways to give is through my personal artistry of crafting personal blends. Through my trained lens of astrology and aromatherapy, I offer signature scents to work with your intention, goals, and purpose, using your astrological birth chart and favorite aromatics. If you are interested to learn more, please visit me at and email at