Everyone talks about self-love, but how many people really know what it is? This blog will help you understand self-love, why you need it in your life, and how to practice it.
We all want love, as being loved is a powerful affirmation of our worthiness. That said, leaning on external sources of love is very unhealthy and may often result in you being blindsided. That is why you should learn to love yourself first. When you start loving yourself, you establish a standard for how you wish to be treated — however, self-love can do more than that.
Self-love (or self-compassion) is a term that refers to one’s love for oneself, which is characterized as respect and appreciation for one’s self as a person. And it is not limited to an odd slice of cheesecake or a weekend getaway. It goes beyond that.
So what exactly is self-love?
Self-love is whole-hearted and objective love for oneself, which means:
- Knowing your strengths and weaknesses
- Validating your own emotions and emphasizing the importance of your mental well-being
- Accepting your flaws
- Prioritizing your needs
- Cultivating patience for personal growth
- Forgiveness and learning from your mistakes
It is worth emphasizing that we often act in the name of self-love yet end up hurting ourselves. So what is not self-love?
- Arrogance: Simply because you love yourself does not negate the value of others.
- Selfishness: You should be able to prioritize your own needs while also considering the needs of others.
- Overindulgence: While indulging yourself is OK, allowing your urges or cravings to take over is not.
Why is self-love important?
Self-Love is not a mystical force. It is an attitude that you must develop through practice. You cannot get everything you want in an instant simply because you have started to love yourself. However, if you persevere, you may be surprised at the benefits of self-love.
How you love yourself is a reflection of how you wish to be treated in a relationship.
By taking good care of and valuing yourself, you portray an image of a self-reliant individual in a relationship. When you no longer require external validation to determine your worth, you establish the standard. You will have no fear of being left alone or isolated because you will know that you deserve the best.
Self-love empowers you to love others more freely.
You can get rid of envy, insecurity, and resentment in your relationship through self-love. Because you have mastered the skill of self-appreciation, you know how to appreciate others as well. You can now be the best version of yourself, making yourself a more attractive and charismatic person.
Benefits of self-love
Thanks to the high regard accorded to selflessness in many societies, many consider self-love egoistic. While it is important to care for others, it should not come at the price of your own wellness. Apart from its positive impact on personal relationships, self-love has several other advantages. In fact, it could be your best investment in life since a small amount of effort each day may result in a noteworthy improvement in your holistic health.
Self-love has a bearing on how you approach life’s hardships and how you see yourself in relation to them. When you treat yourself with more love and kindness, you respond more fluidly to demanding or distressing situations. In other words, you do not allow stress or anxiety to weigh you down as you cultivate the habit of loving yourself.
Self-love also helps you overcome your failures by instilling a “growth mindset” in you. This makes you more likely to welcome challenges, learn from feedback, and hone your abilities and potential.
People often say, “I’ll finally be happy when….” For them, happiness is conditional — something they can only get through external factors and material possessions. They believe that they will find happiness if and when the conditions are right. The truth is, no external factor can truly determine your happiness. That is something you must look inward for.
Regularly practicing self-love allows you to be more accepting. You are more accepting of where you are and what you have. In other words, you are more likely to experience genuine happiness in life through familial love, personal accomplishment, or acts of kindness.
While happiness is neither simple nor always comfortable, it is primarily a choice. It is a choice we make consistently — a process guided by your inner effort. And self-love provides a framework for that.
You will become more self-assured and confident as a result of self-love. In other words, you will feel good about yourself, your ideas, and your talents. A strong sense of self requires an understanding that failure is a great teacher, not a painful indication of loss or defeat. When you value yourself, your thoughts, and your abilities, you reinforce your pride and confidence. You tackle everyday stuff without reluctance.
Self-esteem is also crucial for mental wellness. You are actually less likely to experience anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation with healthy self-esteem.
A great level of self-esteem also helps you disable the psychological barrier that prevents you from connecting with others and expressing yourself. According to the philosophy of the “law of attraction,” when you are more confident in yourself and truly believe in yourself, you improve your odds of attracting the positivity and love you want.
Self-inflicted pressure and hardship are widely viewed as powerful catalysts in our society, where many people have the “no pain, no gain” mindset. You beat yourself up in the daily grind, scared that you will become a slacker if you ease up a little. The biggest impediment to self-love is anxiety that it would result in lethargy, apathy, and self-indulgence. Because many people equate loving oneself with being soft, weak, and less driven, they try to motivate themselves through harsh self-judgment.
Interestingly, self-love motivates people more than self-judgment. Yes — self-compassionate people are often more motivated to make progress towards achieving their goals! They are more likely to look for ways to improve rather than engage in defensiveness, fear, or social comparison, all of which contribute to a lack of motivation.
You will also start to grow as a person on your path to self-love. When you respect yourself and focus on what makes you happy, you are less likely to let unhealthy relationships or bad lifestyle choices continue to obstruct your personal growth. Perhaps you start learning a new language or instrument or engage in random acts of kindness — these choices will undoubtedly enrich your life, and you will emerge a better person at the end of the road.
Self-love is also associated with improved physical and emotional health. It has been linked to a more robust immune system, stabilized blood sugar in diabetics, and improved relaxation. Self-love exercises have also been proven to boost the parasympathetic nervous system, modifying emotional regulation and reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Self-love comes naturally to some people, but not to everyone. Fortunately, it is a skill that you can acquire with practice. Here are six self-love practices you can adopt:
Put an end to your self-punishment. Understand that you are not flawless (nobody is), and be kind to yourself when confronted with your flaws. People in your life respect you for who you are, not for your flawlessness. Understand that you do not need to be a different person to be deserving of love. One way to remind yourself that you are deserving is to post a sticky note on your desk or keep one in your wallet with a reminder to be gentle and kind to yourself.
We touched on the subject of growth mindset earlier in this blog. Our happiness is influenced by whether we have a growth or fixed mindset. Do you see challenges as insurmountable roadblocks or as growth opportunities? Having a growth mindset means accepting what comes in the way and not giving up on yourself. When you judge yourself and draw comparisons to other people you think are better, look for inspiration in their triumphs and strengths instead of feeling threatened.
Gratitude is a powerful emotion. Instead of lamenting what you lack, you will find strength in being grateful for what you do have. You can practice gratitude by starting a gratitude journal, leaving your loved ones thank you notes, going for gratitude walks and cultivating food gratitude.
Most generous people are givers, and giving is an excellent approach to practice self-love. However, do not trap yourself in the cycle of altruistic giving that disregards your own needs. Do not forget to have a good time being generous. Think of the impact you have on some people’s lives and give back to yourself. Doing good for other people is a great feeling, but only if it does not lower your own levels of well-being.
Mindfulness can have a pretty big impact on your ability to love yourself. Strive to constantly be present in the moment and aware of what is unfolding in the present moment. Allow your thoughts and feelings to have their moment — but do not give them a platform or banish them to the corner. Allow them to emerge and then release them without any attachment.
We would love to hear your thoughts on this blog and how you are practicing self-love in your daily life. Perhaps it will motivate others to walk on their own path to self-love.