Is having self love a good thing, is it important?
Whether you’ve contemplated the meaning and importance of the topic for ages, or this is the first time you are considering/reading about it, there really is only answer to the second question - YES!!!
Self love, or loving yourself, is important to achieving happiness in life and realising your full potential.
Often people have misconceptions about self love, and judgements on what it means to love yourself.
Contrary to these, self love is not about ego. It’s not about thinking that you’re the best. It’s more than that. It’s not logical, it’s not just a concept. It’s a feeling. One that is hard to achieve and often elusive at first - it takes practise. Self love can be learnt; it’s a journey.
Okay so let’s start at the beginning. What is self love, and why is it important?
In a nutshell, self love is: an unconditional feeling of love, appreciation and acceptance for yourself. It means that no matter what you do, what decisions you make and where you go in life, you always love yourself with the same strength.
Why is it important to love yourself?
With self love, an individual will be able to fulfil their potential
Loving and accepting yourself is a sweetness like no other
Once you love yourself, you will have a new, stronger, sense of inner peace and confidence.
When self love is in place, nothing is beyond your reach. You can set new goals, and have trust in yourself to achieve them
Sounds great, right? But how to get to the point where you have self love and acceptance?! Unfortunately, like all good things, it requires effort and time to reach, but it's not as hard as you think, and achieving it is so, so worth it:
This statement from Brave Belle elaborates: ‘Learn. Read. Discover. Keep searching, and one day you will just get it. It’s like yoga. You practice for a long time trying to get into that one pose. It seems very tough. And then one day you do. And you realise how easy it is once you get it. You’re in perfect balance. And from that moment, you remember how to do this pose. Occasionally you might lose your balance, but you know what it feels like to be in the pose – and you can go back.
Same goes for self-love.’
If you type self love into Google, there are pages and pages of advice, posts and insight. If you have the time, dive on in. You will learn something from almost all the articles you read. However, if you want to take the first step to loving yourself, here’s how to start:
Focus on Self-care:
Look after yourself
Meet your most basic needs
Be able to relax
Do things you enjoy
Become obsessive about caring for your heart, mind, and body
Start remembering ‘I am worthy and I am valuable’
Control your negative inner voice
Forgive yourself where you have been hard on yourself in the past
Realise that the only moment that truly matters is now by being present in the moments of your daily life
Some points to remember:
· When self-care becomes self-nature, then self-care is non-negotiable.
· Caring for yourself allows your brain to send positive messages to your subconscious mind, which then helps you form a habit of self caring which becomes your self-nature.
· It's the habit of self-nature that generates self-respect. It’s a big, positive, circle!
The first half of the above Self Care list should be easily attainable enough. However, the second half of the list gets a little harder. Working on these list items requires a bit of self-control and dedication.
To some people, self-control and dedication come easily. To others, it takes regular work. For some it is harder because it forces us to change our behaviours. It enforces us to reflect on why things haven’t worked in the past and address the challenge.
We all know we should exercise more, but when life gets busy or tiring or you’re not feeling well, it’s an easy thing to avoid. We make excuses. Sometimes we have an inner voice telling us it’s not worth it. We aren’t worth it. Sometimes we convince ourselves it won’t make a difference even if we do go.
Have you ever wondered why your inner voice is so powerful? Or why you may struggle to feel worth or value in yourself?
Giving this some thought may help you change how you behave moving forwards.
Have you ever considered how our identity is often intertwined with those responsible for our upbringing?
Over time we become our own person, but subconsciously we may carry around the emotional baggage given to us by our parents. It can be a vicious cycle if they are dealing with the same thing. This baggage can cause our real nature to be overshadowed. It’s not uncommon to behave in the way our parents do, to say things like ‘I’m turning into my Mother / Father’. Our very nature means we the way we were nurtured will shape us.
One effect of this can be low self-esteem. Often it begins with parents who are emotionally impaired and are struggling with their own upbringing.
They may not be aware of their own behaviour and the impact it has on those around them. Allowing others to affect our opinions and judgements on ourselves is not necessarily a failing, but something to be aware of that we all struggle with. Self Love can bring enlightenment - when you step back to reflect on why you have always done things a certain way, or on why you feel a certain way.
In some cases, the absence of Self Love can be understood clearly when we realise how our family structures and systems help convince and evolve our self-image. Have you ever stopped to consider what behaviours you have learnt from your parents? Are they behaviours you wish to change?
Are they behaviours supporting or challenging your journey to self love?
Families are commonly where we learn self love so if we aren’t offered love, attention and respect when we are young we will then lack the personal resources as we grow up. This can show itself in a number of ways:
We learn to hide and conceal who we really are
We feel inadequate and not good enough
Our inner voice dictates our behaviour and how we feel in situations
We seek validation from others
We don’t value ourselves enough to take care of our basic needs
We lack peace
We miss out on fulfilling our full potential
Learning self love and acceptance in adulthood is a good way to combat the above feelings and actions, though even if we aren’t affected by emotional baggage from childhood, we could all learn to love ourselves more.
The good news is, it is never too late to learn self love. All it takes is the courage to take the first step. Reviewing the list of ways to care for yourself above, choose one list item to start with and focus on.
Keep it simple and embrace the change, however quickly or slowly it happens.
As long as you are working towards loving yourself, you are improving your life and happiness.
Sara & Laura