Do you love yourself?
It's easy to love others, but when it comes to self-love we get a bit funny. There is a misconception that self-love is being a narcissist or selfish, and rather than understanding it completely, we don't do it. To clarify this topic, I'd like to share what self-love is, what is not, and how to nurture it.
Self-love is open and honest validation, meaning that you accept yourself, treat yourself with kindness and respect, nurturing your growth and wellbeing. Self-love encompasses not only how you treat yourself but also your thoughts and feelings about yourself. True self-love is giving yourself unconditional respect, appreciation, and evaluation of being great. It’s reminding yourself that you deserve to have all your personal needs met while considering yourself as worthy, valuable, and deserving of happiness.
So, when you think about how to apply it, you can try to imagine what you'd do for yourself. How you'd talk to yourself, and how you'd feel about yourself in a way that reflects love and concern. When you love yourself, you have an overall positive view of yourself. No, that does not mean that you'll feel positive all the time. You can still feel angry or disappointed with yourself but still love yourself. It's easier to grasp the concept if you apply it to your other relationships. For example, you still love your partner or child even when you feel angry or disappointed. I'm sure that you'll relate to them, you'll evaluate their feelings, maybe meet their needs making decisions that will support their wellbeing. It works the same way for you.
While self-love, is loving and accepting yourself, narcissism is an inflated sense of self-importance and a total lack of empathy. Narcissists believe they're better than others and won't acknowledge or take responsibility for their mistakes and flaws. They also need constant reassurance from their peers because their self-esteem is actually incredibly fragile.
A few traits of narcissists:
- They never truly feel satisfied with any aspect of their life. They think that they deserve better but put no effort to achieve their desires;
- Everything they do, they do it better than anyone;
- They don't feel accomplished if there's no one around praising and making compliments. They only receive satisfaction from the admiration of others;
- They can’t handle seeing others doing well.
Now that it's clear, you know that you can healthily love yourself. You can feel comfortable nurturing and fulfilling your needs without worrying.
Not sure how to put it into practice? Self-love is different for everyone. Like most things in life requires learning and action until it becomes a habit.
It's important to learn how to recognize that you need to look after yourself. Pay attention to the signs: feeling drained, tired, or hating yourself; turning your thoughts and emotions against yourself; impatient towards others, especially your loved ones.
After recognizing it's time to take action, here are some ideas on how to practice self-love:
- Start the day with a positive affirmation about yourself;
- Nourish your body with healthy foods;
- Don't believe in everything that you think;
- Surround yourself with amazing friends;
- Stop comparing yourself to others;
- Embrace your imperfections and forgive yourself;
- Take time out to calm your mind and connect within;
- Practice yoga and mindfulness;
- Treat others with love and respect;
- Reach out to others when you feel it's needed;
- Use creativity to express yourself;
- Find your happy place.
Now it's time to put it into practice, but remember to take baby steps to avoid freaking yourself out. Implement it slowly into your everyday life. With time you'll see how much you've grown personally and professionally. Self-love is the foundation that allows us to be assertive, set boundaries, and create healthy relationships with others. Practice self-care, pursue your interests and goals and feel proud of who you are. Be happy!