I’ve mentioned before- and I’m sure you’ve also heard from others- that before you can fully and truly give and accept love, you must love yourself first. This concept is especially true if you feel unhappy, ashamed, under-appreciated, or constantly criticizing yourself. Please don’t rely on friends and family, romantic partners, or a change in your environment to fix these issues. Look within yourself.
Practicing self-love changes how you see and behave towards not only yourself but others as well. We have two sides to us; one side roots for, encourages, and supports us. The other works against us and acts like our worst enemy. It punishes us when we make mistakes, criticizes us, insults us, and is not generally on our side.
The ultimate goal is to starve out the “anti-self” side and nurture the “pro-self” side because that is the foundation for how you react to everything else in your daily life. You can eliminate the sabotaging side and fuel the one rooting for you by learning to love yourself fully. There are so many benefits of having love and compassion toward yourself. Continue reading to learn about the six best ones:
Aside from making you happier, more positive, and more pleasant to be around, one of the greatest benefits of loving yourself is that it makes you healthier. According to a new meta-analysis published in Health Psychology, loving yourself is linked to better health choices and behaviors. For the study, researchers instructed participants to practice self-compassion. They discovered that being kind to themselves led the participants to do the following:
- Exercise more
- Eat healthier
- Reduce their stress levels
- Get more restful sleep
- Quit smoking faster
The theory is that when you practice self-love, you begin to care a lot more about yourself, and when you care more about yourself, you want the best for yourself. It’s pretty simple when you think about it. Would you like to see someone you love filling their body with unhealthy foods and substances? Probably not.
So, whether you want to run your first marathon, quit drinking or smoking, or drop some pounds, you can reach these goals faster by indulging in self-love. Treat and care about yourself as if you were your very own best friend. Allow yourself to celebrate your accomplishments and forgive your mistakes. Take note of the things that hurt you and the ones that strengthen you. Treat your body like the temple it is.
Recognizing your self-worth is almost impossible if you don’t love yourself. If you don’t acknowledge your self-worth, you might continue with relationships that aren’t good for you. These unhealthy relationships might cause you spiritual, psychological, or physical pain, but you’ll stay because you don’t realize you deserve so much more.
You might think you’re worth very little and deserve this kind of treatment. Not recognizing your self-worth gives you low self-esteem, and people who lack self-esteem are more prone to staying in abusive relationships or forgiving and staying with a cheating partner. If you have low self-worth, you probably also don’t know how to set boundaries for yourself.
You might have difficulty letting people know what you will and will not accept in any relationship, be it a romantic one, a family one, a professional one, etc. When you learn to love yourself unconditionally, you’ll see through the lies you and others tell you. You’ll know you deserve to be treated right and will have better relationships with those you interact with.
Unsurprisingly, people who don’t love themselves unconditionally are more likely to suffer from depression and mental illnesses. Things like eating a dozen donuts in one sitting or using drugs signify not caring about yourself or being depressed. People do these self-sabotaging actions when they’ve given up on their life.
If you aren’t your number 1 fan, societal pressure could easily sway you to do bad things that can hurt you or kill you quicker than necessary. We’ll all leave this earthly realm one day, but why make that date come sooner than is meant for you? Life is beautiful, but it’s all in how you perceive things. One option is to hate yourself, look on the negative side, feel depressed and unmotivated, and never enjoy things until your day has come.
Another is to learn to love yourself and realize that life is beautiful, look on the bright side of every situation, feel grateful, and choose to make the most out of everything life throws at you with a loving heart. It all depends on how you want to see the glass- half full or half empty. Perception is everything! Depending on your perception, you might look down on yourself because you see yourself in an unflattering way (a distorted perception of yourself) that isn’t even true.
It could be completely skewed from how others see you, and the image you’ve drawn of yourself is probably totally off from what others see when they look at you. Consider having heartfelt conversations with friends and family where you ask them to describe you in their own words. You might be surprised at how different their responses are to what you’ve been thinking of yourself, which could help you start your journey towards self-love.
If you don’t love yourself, it’s understandable to want to hide in the shadows whenever possible. You might worry that others will see the supposed “weaknesses” you’ve imagined and do your best to hide them. Hiding keeps you in the dark; the longer you stay, the harder it is to enter the light.
You could be imagining your weaknesses, or maybe they exist, but you’re amplifying them more in your mind. They might be legitimate weaknesses that you struggle with, but the good news is that loving yourself allows you to embrace them and move on or kindly acknowledge and work on them.
Nobody is perfect; we all know that so why would you expect perfection from yourself? Maybe you’re terrific at some things, but other things aren’t your strong suit- that’s completely normal. Instead of hiding your weaknesses, work on them if possible, or accept that they aren’t your strongest points and highlight the ones that are.
We all have that friend or relative that is good at anything they try. Even if it’s their first time doing something, they catch onto it much more quickly than others. Not having the knack for things or a natural talent could make you feel like you’re “less than” or inferior in one way or another, hindering your ability to love yourself.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. By simply identifying and utilizing the unique gifts and talents you are blessed with, you’ll be able to celebrate yourself and your skills/abilities and stop comparing yourself to others. Practicing self-love allows you to take time and see what you are naturally good at.
We’re all good at something, but some haven’t discovered it yet. Getting a reading from a talented psychic can help you reveal your unique gifts and abilities if you have difficulty uncovering them on your own. A gifted psychic can help you develop a personalized plan that will lead you to start loving yourself.
If you don’t love and appreciate yourself, you might avoid conflict and problems because you think you can’t handle them. When you start to love yourself, you’ll learn how to confront hardships and issues head-on with a positive perspective. Knowing your value and worth allows you to tackle any problem you’re confronted with, no matter how gigantic or troubling it might seem.
You’ll have confidence in yourself and your decisions, allowing you to resolve the problem in the best way possible. Gone will be the days of hiding under your blanket in bed all day, hoping and praying it’s all just a bad dream or someone else will fix your issues for you! Knowing that you can improve your life and that you’re strong enough to handle anything is empowering. Some people believe that loving yourself is the same as narcissism or selfishness, but I assure you it is not.
On the contrary, you might be more narcissistic if you DON’T love yourself! I say this because narcissists subconsciously try to do things in their best interest to fake self-love, self-confidence, and self-worth and are so focused on this image of themselves that they ignore the needs of others. Remember, if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else, and not loving others is classic narcissistic behavior.
Focusing On Yourself Might Take Some Getting Used To
You might take more time for yourself when beginning to practice self-love, which might seem selfish to some. However, once you come to terms with, love, and accept yourself, you can give more to others. You’ll have the personal strength to be there for others and give them more of your time. You won’t waste time trying to make yourself seem happier; you’ll actually BE happier, which benefits everyone.
Narcissism isn’t loving yourself; it’s loving ONLY yourself excessively and becoming obsessed with nobody but yourself and how you look. It’s thinking the world revolves around you, and you’re entitled to everything without working for it. It is a lack of empathy and understanding toward others. Never feel selfish for finally learning to love yourself. You deserve the same love and compassion you give to your loved ones.