Self-love is a very important aspect of life. It’s needed in order to live a successful and purposeful life. When we learn to truly love and embrace who we are, life becomes more enjoyable. Some people mistakenly believe that self-love is the same as pride, narcissism, and self-centeredness but that’s not always the case.
What is self-love?
Self-love is having regard for one’s well-being and happiness. Embracing your whole package; the flaws, mistakes, setbacks, everything that makes you who you are. It’s having faith and compassion for oneself, realizing that you are worthy of all the good things in life. It’s also calling the shots in your life, being solely responsible for your well-being without allowing the negative actions of others to affect your peace. Without self-love, it’s easy to lose yourself in the routine and difficulties of life; and also in the high and sometimes unreasonable expectations of others.
My journey to self-love began some years ago after coming out of an unhealthy relationship. I was so focused on pleasing someone who didn’t care much about me, that I totally forgot about myself in the process. when it was over, I really didn’t recognize who I was anymore; I had to learn to love myself over again. It wasn’t an easy thing to do at that time but it was the best decision I ever made. The time spent loving myself, helped me rediscover who I was and set the standards on how I want to be treated in the future.
Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash
Benefits of self-love
Self-love encourages growth: Nothing grows without being nourished. As we learn to love and appreciate ourselves more, we feed our body, soul, and spirit with the right things( thoughts, words, and beliefs) and growth becomes inevitable.
Self-love reduces depression: Self-love and depression don’t go hand in hand; when you are depressed, it’s hard to love yourself. Your mind is constantly bombarded with negative thoughts, most of which are not true. When we allow these thoughts to take over our minds, we neglect ourselves in the process. (What are the symptoms of depression?) Depression creeps in very subtly so it’s important that we recognize it from its onset and love ourselves enough to say no to those thoughts and patterns that encourage it.
Self-love helps you love others effectively: It’s impossible to give what you don’t have. When we love ourselves, it becomes easy to love others. Our self-love sets the standard for loving others. The constant abuse seen in the world today is a result of the lack of love. Mark 12:31 tells us to “Love others as well as we love ourselves”. It is said that hurt people, hurt people; sometimes when we go through difficult situations, we find it really difficult to love ourselves. This can cause us to inflict pain on those around us; thus continuing the cycle for generations to come. Self-love causes you to seek healing and freedom from all the hurt and pain.
Self-love makes you stronger: It makes it easier for you to let go of those who want to walk away, those who think you cannot live without them. It gives you the peace and confidence you need, to know that you’ll be alright; that you don’t need someone else to validate you and make you feel happy and complete. It also enables you to go through difficult situations being confident that once God is on your side, that’s all you’ll need.
Self-love makes you assertive: You know what you want and you are not afraid to say it out loud or go after it. You know your worth and won’t settle for anything less than you deserve. To know more about the benefits of self-love? Click here
Tips on how to practice self-love
Tell yourself something good each day. You can look at yourself in the mirror, smile, and say (*insert name*) you are beautiful and I love you.
Separate yourself from those who don’t realize your worth and make you feel less than you deserve.
Eat healthily and exercise.
Don’t underestimate yourself. Believe in yourself, seek to discover and trust your God-given gifts and abilities.
Forgive yourself and those who hurt you. Release the pain and embrace freedom.
Worry less and laugh more.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, celebrate yourself and your achievements no matter how small it may seem.
Refuel yourself by taking out time to enjoy and do the things you love and are important to you. Take yourself out, go on vacations, buy yourself something nice.
Be patient with yourself and with life. Things don’t always go as planned, and that’s okay. It always works out in the end. Trust the process.
Move at your own pace and don’t compare yourself with others. Embrace your uniqueness.
Be mindful of your words and thoughts. Always think and speak positively.
Be persistent. Don’t give up on yourself and on your dreams, your dreams are valid.
Step out of your comfort zone. A life of purpose and success is not found in a place of comfort. Stepping out will make you feel afraid but do it anyway.
Dream big. Aspire to be great, knowing that greatness is within your reach.
Set yourself free from unreasonable expectations and the need for approval from others.
Respect yourself. Set the standard for how you want to be treated. “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy”- Robert Tew
Invest in yourself. Spend time each day feeding your soul and spirit. This can be done by reading, listening, and watching materials that inspire and motivate.
Seek help whenever life gets overwhelming. Reach out and open up to family and friends when going through difficult times. You aren’t expected to go through them alone.
Be kind and genuinely happy for others. Jealousy is toxic to the soul.