When you search for the term "love yourself", you may come across a number of "self care" tips, such as taking a luxurious bubble bath or listening to your favorite music while you relax. Most of these tips and suggestions are well-intentioned. Of course, taking time to relax and enjoy yourself will help you develop self-love. While it's a good place to start, true and lasting self-love requires more than a face mask and good music. Self-love comes from introspection, compassion, and self-awareness; all of which require time, effort and attention to thrive.
What is Self-Love?
Self-love is the practice of treating yourself with kindness, compassion, and love. Just as you give your time, understanding, and respect to someone you love, you must give yourself time, respect, and understanding to truly love yourself. Loving yourself can often be difficult; you are often your own worst critic, and because you know your thoughts, motivations, and habits, you may get the impression that you are the worst person you know, or at least the most misfit. Part of loving yourself is becoming aware of the thoughts and experiences that you see parts of yourself that no one else can or will ever see, and that you are likely to repeat in those around you. Loving yourself means accepting parts of yourself that you feel need to be changed, in addition to the things you love about yourself. It is loving yourself the way you hope others will love you, rather than looking at yourself with judgment and condemnation.
Why Is Self-Love Important?
Self-love is important because how you see yourself will play an important role in how you see others and how you present yourself to the world. For example, someone with low self-esteem is more likely to judge other people because doing so is like applying a balm to their own hurt self-esteem. Conversely, people with a healthy sense of self do not need to tear others down to feel good. They already have positive feelings towards themselves. Self-love is also important because how you feel about yourself reflects how others should feel about you. If you constantly humiliate yourself and point out your flaws, people around you are much more likely to focus on those flaws as well; After all, this is what they are constantly guided by. If you show yourself love and respect, people around you are much more likely to project these feelings onto you and treat you the way they should be treated.
How Does Self-Love Affect Relationships?
We accept the love we deserve or the love we think we deserve. If you have poor self-esteem, you may even be more open to abuse because you will not believe you are worthy of better treatment. There may be no abuse at all, but a lack of respect and consideration may result from your lack of self-respect and consideration. Self-love affects your relationships because it reflects how your environment should see and treat you.Self-love also affects the way you relate to others. If you don't know and love yourself well, you may not feel safe, comfortable, or whole enough to truly open up to someone else; this can limit the amount of intimacy and love you experience. If you don't love yourself, you may find yourself struggling to truly love someone else. Love requires compassion, understanding, and sacrifice, and failing to give them to yourself can also make it difficult to spread them to others.
Developing Self-Love: Positive Self-talk
Positive self-talk is one of the simplest ways to develop and encourage self-love. While negative self-talk is often the norm, positive self-talk will more effectively encourage you to treat yourself with kindness, respect, and compassion. Positive self-talk is linked to greater self-esteem, better adjustment skills, and greater life satisfaction. While the term "positive" often has a bad reputation as something bogus or forced, positive self-talk doesn't require you to find reasons to love yourself. Positive self-talk includes neutral statements like focusing and noticing what's going on in your life and mind.
Developing Self-Love: Introspection
Controlling yourself is a very important part of cultivating self-love. After all, how can you love yourself if you don't know yourself? If you mock the love depicted in children's movies or in the common media, where love is declared the day after you know each other, shouldn't you mock the possibility of loving yourself without knowing yourself? Introspection doesn't have to be heavy or indulgent. Introspection can be as simple as taking a few moments to check how you feel throughout the day and evaluate why you are reacting the way you do to a challenging or troubling situation. Keeping a journal can be a useful tool for introspection and can help you identify patterns in your behavior or areas where you need to improve the most. Not loving ourselves because we accept the love we think we deserve is equivalent to saying, "I don't deserve love." Everyone deserves to experience the richness of unbroken love with disappointment, unmet expectations, and judgment. This type of love is best found within yourself before you seek it from others.
By working with a professional counselor, you can learn strategies to become more confident, increase your self-confidence, and find ways to love the real you. Consider online therapy, which research has shown to be an effective option with many additional benefits. For example, a study led by Brigham Young University researchers found that technology-based therapy is as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy, with the potential to be delivered at a lower cost and more easily.
Online therapy is safe and Tappy makes it incredibly easy to connect with an expert you can trust.