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 need to love yourself first . This is especially true if you’ve been feeling unhappy, ashamed, under-appreciated or find yourself 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 instead. When you treat yourself with self-love, you not only change the way you see and behave towards yourself, but it also changes the way you love other people. Most people have two sides to them, one that is rooting for the home team, encouraging, supporting, helping us reach our dreams and goals, and another that is against us- our own worst enemy.
It punishes us when we make mistakes, it criticizes us, it insults us, and is just not on our side in general. The ultimate goal in life 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.
Getting rid of the side that runs against you and fueling the side that roots for you can be done by learning to fully love yourself. There are so many benefits of having love and compassion towards yourself, but below are the six of the best ones:
Aside from making you happier, more positive, and pleasant to be around, one of the most important benefits of loving yourself is that it makes you healthier. According to a new meta-analysis published in the journal Health Psychology, loving yourself is linked to better health choices and behaviors.
In the study they conducted, participants were instructed to practice self-compassion and they discovered that being kind to themselves led the participants to exercise more, eat healthier, reduce their stress levels, get more restful sleep, and even 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 really. Would you want to see someone close to you who you love and admire filling themselves with unhealthy foods and substances? Probably not.
So, whether your goal is to run your fist marathon, quit drinking or smoking, or drop some pounds, you can reach these goals faster by indulging in some self-love. Treat and care about yourself as if you were your very own best friend, celebrate your accomplishments and forgive your mistakes.
Be mindful of the things that hurt you and the things that strengthen you. Treat your body like the temple that it is.
You’re Relationships And Interactions With Others Improves
It’s almost impossible to recognize your self-worth if you don’t love yourself. If you don’t recognize 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 stay because you don’t know you are worthy of so much more.
You might think you are worth so little and that you deserve this type of treatment. Not recognizing your self-worth gives you low self-esteem, and people who lack self-esteem are more prone to stay in abusive relationships or forgive a cheating partner and stay with them.
If you have low self-worth, you probably also don’t know how to set boundaries for yourself. You might have a hard time letting people know what you will and will not accept in any type of relationship, be it a romantic one, a family one, a professional one, etc.
When you learn to love yourself unconditionally, you’re able to see beyond the lies that others tell themselves. You’ll know that you deserve to be treated right and will therefore have better relationships with the people you interact with.
You’re Less Likely To Be Depressed Or Suicidal
It should come as no surprise that people who don’t love themselves unconditionally are more likely to be depressed and suffer with mental anguish. Things like eating a dozen donuts in one sitting or filling your body with drugs can be a sign of not caring about yourself and/or being depressed.
These are self-sabotaging actions that people do when they have given up on their life. If you aren’t your number 1 fan, then you’ll be easily swayed to do things that are bad for you and that could end up killing you quicker than necessary.
We all have a final date by which we have to depart this realm, 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 and choose to look on the dark side and feel depressed, unmotivated, and never enjoy things until your day has come.
Another option is to learn to love yourself and realize that life is beautiful, look on the bright side of every situation and feel grateful, and be 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! Speaking of perception, you could be really 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 different than the way others see you and the image you’ve drawn of yourself can be 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 and this could help you start your journey towards self-love.
You Become More Confident
If you don’t love yourself, it’s understandable to want to hide in the shadows whenever possible. You might be afraid that others will see the supposed “weaknesses” you think you have and do your best to hide them. This keeps you in the dark, and the longer you stay in the dark, the harder it is to get out of it and into the light.
Your weaknesses might be a complete figment of your imagination, or they may exist but you amplify them more than they deserve. They might actually be legitimate weaknesses that you struggle with, but the good news is that loving yourself allows you to not only accept that you have weaknesses and move on, but to genuinely embrace your weaknesses or work on them.
Nobody is perfect, we all know that, so why would you expect perfection from yourself? Maybe you’re really good at some things but other things aren’t your strong suit- that’s completely normal. Instead of hiding your weaknesses, either work on them if possible or just accept that that isn’t your strongest point and highlight others that are.
You Discover And Accept Your Natural Gifts
We all have that friend or relative that seems to be good at anything they try. Even if it’s their first time doing something, they just catch onto it so much quicker 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, which then hinders 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 gives you the permission you need to take time for yourself and see what things you are naturally good at.
We’re all good at something, but some of us haven’t discovered it yet. Getting a reading with a talented psychic can help you discover and identify your unique gifts and abilities if you’re having a hard time uncovering them on your own. A genuine psychic can assist you in drawing up a personalized plan that will help you start learning to love yourself.
You Tackle Obstacles With Strength And Confidence
If you don’t love and appreciate yourself, you might find yourself avoiding conflict and problems because you just don’t think you’re capable of handling them. When you start to love yourself, you’ll learn how to confront hardships and problems head on with a positive perspective.
Knowing your value and worth allows you to tackle any problem that you’re confronted with, no matter how gigantic or troubling it might seem at the time. You’ll have confidence in yourself and in your decisions which will allow you to do what you feel is best to get the problem resolved.
Gone will be the days of hiding under your blanket in bed all day hoping and praying that it’s all just a bad dream or that someone else will fix your issues for you! It’s such an empowering feeling to know that you can take care of yourself no matter what and that you’re strong enough to handle anything.
Some people make the mistake of believing that loving yourself is the same as narcissism or selfishness, but I assure you it is not. On the contrary, you might be more of a narcissist if you DON’T love yourself because you’re subconsciously trying to do things in your best interest to fake self-love, self-confidence, and self-worth and are so focused on this image of yourself that you ignore the needs of others.
Plus, as mentioned before, if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else, and not loving others is more like narcissistic behavior. You might take a little more time for yourself at first when you’re beginning to practice self-love, and that might seem selfish to some, but once you’ve come to terms with yourself and learned to accept and love yourself, you’ll be able to give more of yourself to others.
You will have the personal strength to be there for others and to give them more of your time because your belief in yourself is solid and nothing can take that away from you. You’ll no longer be wasting time trying to make yourself seem happier, you’ll actually BE happier and that benefits everyone.
Narcissism isn’t loving yourself, it’s loving ONLY yourself in an excessive manner and becoming obsessed with nobody but yourself and how you look. It’s thinking that the world revolves around you and that you’re entitled to everything without ever having to work for it. It’s a lack of empathy and understanding towards others.
So don’t compare yourself to a narcissist just because you’re finally learning to love yourself, you deserve the same love and compassion you give to your loved ones.