The greatest love of our life is ourselves. The one true life long relationship is the one with yourself. It is the one constant relationship you have all your life. We can all struggle with self-love and acceptance at some time in our lives. This inner struggle happens to the most confident, extraverted of people. It doesn’t discriminate.
You may find it hard to believe that this struggle is actually needed. It is the most important work to face in order to heal wounds, trauma, break self limiting beliefs or outdated patterns and set healthy boundaries in your life. The journey of self-love is the road to thriving in life on every level.
It is hard to pinpoint when I lost and neglected myself. I know I lived this unhealthy pattern for a long time. Loving myself was foreign, uncomfortable and I wrongly believed unnecessary. While grieving the end of a relationship, I recall my sister’s words “Ves, you need to love yourself”. She wasn’t the first in my inner circle to have said those exact words. Ouch! It hurt and hit me hard every time. Not because I was unaware, moreso that others saw it too.
As a mother, daughter, sister, friend, leader, colleague it was easy to give love and let others know how amazing they were. To myself, I struggled to give love or attention. I had low self-belief, self-worth and was unhappy.
The motivation for the journey to start loving myself, were my children. We all have something that drives or encourages us. I wanted them to have a happier mum. So I started with asking the hard questions.
Why was I so hard and critical of myself? Why was it easy to love others over myself? How could I love myself? When did I stop or did I ever love myself? What did I need to show or prove to be lovable?
So many confronting questions that eventually led to healing, greater peace, joy, acceptance, self-worth and self-love. My self-love journey is the most important one of my life. It is the essence to happiness living your best life in peace and realising your dreams.
What is self love?
Self-love is appreciation for oneself that grows from actions supporting our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is loving, accepting and embracing all parts of yourself wholeheartedly. It’s an ongoing journey of being in a healthy relationship with yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually. It is knowing you are lovable, loving and worthy of love. It’s having awareness and acceptance of incompleteness or imperfections. It’s allowing others to love us even when we feel unlovable.
Healthy self-love relationship means:
- Embracing all parts of yourself including strength, gifts, vulnerabilities and imperfections
- Validating your emotions and wellbeing
- Prioritising your needs
- Patience with your own personal growth
- Forgiving past mistakes and understanding the lessons
- Honouring our potential and taking responsibility for our choices
It is knowing you are lovable, loving and worthy of love. It’s having awareness and acceptance of incompleteness or imperfections. It’s allowing others to love us even when we feel unlovable.
Five reasons self-love is important
Self-love has many benefits for our emotional, physical and mental wellbeing. Greater love for ourselves changes our perspective on the world and more positive attitude towards life.
Accepting and loving yourself gives greater satisfaction and happiness with life. We are able to enjoy more of the happiness in life such as love from our family, personal accomplishments, acts of kindness and even setbacks in life. There is a positive outlook on life acknowledging you’re not perfect, yet still worthy of acceptance, support and love.
2. Stronger Relationships
When you truly feel self-love, you radiate that love externally. There is a ripple effect of attracting like-people and building healthy relationships. Your energy and vibe attracts your tribe. Once you truly love yourself, you set a higher standard of the love you receive in return. You have stronger personal boundaries and connect with people that value and respect you.
3. Confidence and Humility
Confidence is one of the first changes we will see when we start to appreciate and love ourselves. When you love and embrace all parts of you there are less insecurities. Self-love is a confidence booster! You feel more beautiful, powerful and worthy holding your head up high to enjoy life.
Self-love helps remove mental blocks of communicating with others and self expression. You feel more secure and less likely to compare yourself with others. You are more supportive instead of envious of others. You understand life isn’t a competition with each other, rather we all are unique and bring our own gifts, wisdom and value to share. You enjoy supporting the uniqueness of those around you by lifting them up and remaining humble.
4. Increased Motivation
With self-love comes a greater level of self-awareness. You identify your blocks, self sabotaging behaviours or the “low battery” signals. Your outlook is more positive so you feel more driven and motivated in life. You have higher self-worth and know your unlimited potential to create value in the world. Your confidence allows you to accomplish anything if you set your heart to it.
5. Health & Personal Growth
When you love yourself, you take care of your overall wellbeing. You look after your physical, mental and energetic body helping reduce stress and anxiety. Self love is a motivator to make better choices for your health, happiness and growth. You understand yourself, what is good and bad for you. You avoid bad habits or toxic situations to live in a nurturing and healthy environment.
How to practice self-love.
There are many different ways you can practice self-love. It is important you connect what resonates with you, makes you feel good about yourself and practice daily.
Being mindful. People who have more self-love know what they think, feel, and want. They have greater compassion and empathy for themselves and others and avoid toxic or limiting patterns or behaviours.
Practice self-care. You love yourself more when you take better care of your needs. People that nourish themselves daily through activities such as nutrition, exercise, quality sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions have greater self-love.
Some self-love practices include:
- Practising positive affirmations, talking positively to and about yourself.
- Looking in the mirror to learn to love your body.
- Saying “no” to something you don’t want to do. Prioritise your needs but at the same time take others into consideration.
- Be present. Enjoy doing one thing at a time and stop rushing through tasks.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. You don’t need to meet any social standards. Programs or beliefs of beauty and success.
- Unfollow social accounts that are toxic or unaligned to your truth. Enjoy nutritional silence regularly.
- Practice mindfulness with meditation, yoga, breathing exercises or going regularly in nature.
- Set healthy boundaries in all relationships
- Leave toxic relationships.
- Journal how you feel, any worries or dreams.
- Speak up and ask for help when you need to.
- Find a passion or start a hobby.
- Develop a healthy morning routine to start the tone of the day.
- Live a clean, healthy lifestyle.
- Spend time on self-care every day.
Make time for practices that connect you back with yourself and make you feel good. Regularly check in with yourself when you need to make a decision or a choice and ask yourself:
- Does it feel good / right for me?
- Is this for my highest best?
- Will it make me feel energised?
These questions help honour and stay true and loving to yourself.
Self- love can take time to embed in daily practice. What can be more important than investing your energy and love on yourself? Start by being kind, patient, gentle and compassionate to yourself, the way you would with someone else that you care about.