Self Love is Important for Your Happiness
Let’s face it. Loving yourself isn’t always easy. We are often far more critical of ourselves than we are of our loved ones or even strangers. Self-love is important, self-acceptance is vital, and self-care is what keeps our emotional health and our mental health where they should be to be at our best.
This article will delve into why it is important to practice self-love, how to become the best version of yourself and highlight a self-love journey we should all embark on so that our everyday life is full of self-compassion and acceptance of ourselves.
Time to Ask the Tough Questions
Do you love yourself? Do you feel good about yourself? Do you enjoy your own company?
A lot of us may try to tell ourselves that, sure, we love ourselves. Who wants something terrible to happen to themselves? So don’t we all love ourselves as long as we aren’t actively trying to self-destruct?
To discover whether you are practicing self-love, it’s important to ask yourself some tough questions and be honest with yourself in answering. After all, the only person you’re hurting by lying is you. And that wouldn’t be very appropriate self-love, would it?
Ask yourself the following questions, and consider the following:
Do I Spend Time Doing the Things that Make Me Happy?
We all have hobbies that make us happy, but are you allowing yourself the time and the freedom to partake in them? Or are you putting yourself on the back burner so that you can spend most of your time to take care of other people and other things instead?
Our self-esteem and self worth is partially developed and grown when we feel good about our talents and our hobbies. We feel successful in something that we enjoy doing. So a basic form of self-love is simply having fun doing the things you like to do and prioritizing yourself.
You should feel like you deserve to unwind and enjoy yourself. You can even pick up a new hobby that focuses purely on what you want to do.
Am I Grateful for Myself?
Are you thankful to be you? Do you count yourself lucky to have been born in your skin, with your mind, skills, and abilities? Do you thank whatever higher power you might believe in that you are you and that you were given the gifts that you have? Are you grateful to have the talents that you possess? Are you thankful for the ideas that you have, the friend that you are, and the joy that you inspire?
We often forget to be thankful for who we are, taking for granted that we are the closest relationship that we have. We are thankful for our friends because they support us in our time of need, sympathize and care about our emotions, and are present when we need them. But aren’t we already doing that for ourselves?
It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that when we’re down, we’re usually the first cheerleader on the scene, telling ourselves that everything is going to be okay.
We’re often the first to know that our feelings are hurt, and we need emotional support. We’re there for ourselves. We can’t abandon ship, so we’re always present, in good times and bad. So if we are so very grateful for our friends and those we have relationships with for doing these things, why aren’t we thankful to ourselves as well?
Is Your Self-Love Unconditional Love?
Do you love yourself unconditionally? When you’re feeling weak when you feel drained, when you forget to think of yourself or others when it’s needed, do you love yourself through it? Do you fear that your mistakes will cost you the love of everyone, including yourself? Do you forgive yourself, like you do your friends, family, and those you have relationships with?
Life is full of mistakes. No one is perfect. We notice the mistakes we make ourselves because we are always present for our lives. We can’t sweep mistakes under the rug and hide them from ourselves.
We may tell ourselves that it doesn’t matter that we made a mistake, but most of us know it’s not true. It’s harder to fool yourself than you realize.
If you react the same way towards yourself as you do a loved one when a mistake is made, you may be practicing self-love. When you treat yourself harshly when you make mistakes, deny yourself fun because you didn’t do well enough on something, or focus on the mistake you made to the point that you deny yourself happiness. You are self-sabotaging and giving yourself far less than you deserve.
Are You Taking Care of Yourself?
Do you love yourself enough to take care of yourself? Taking care of yourself means more than just making sure that you stay alive. Are you trying to create a future for yourself that is happy?
Do you respect and love yourself enough to do that? Are you trying to stay positive so that you don’t sink into a depression rather than creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure because you don’t give yourself a chance?
You matter, and you should be the first one taking care of yourself. There are many ways to love yourself, but self-care is one of the most proactive ways.
Do you take care of your body and get the exercise that you need daily? Do you practice mindfulness meditation when you are feeling stressed so that you can maintain good mental health? Do you make sure that you stay hydrated to sleep better, have better skin, and have better health?
Do you practice mindful eating so that you eat to live, not live to eat? Do you make sure that you get rest when you’re tired and prioritize your health and get enough sleep each night?
Your well-being should be a significant priority in your life. It doesn’t make you selfish to want to be the best, healthiest version of yourself.
Loving Yourself Properly
Now that we’ve asked the tough questions, how did you do? Even those who spend time for themselves and invest in themselves emotionally could probably improve upon the self-love they give themselves.
Mental Health Matters
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Self-love and self-care help stave off negative thoughts about ourselves that can lead to things like anxiety and depression.
While it is true that we can’t always help having depression or anxiety, they can be reduced by practicing self-care and self-love.
Relationships with others certainly matter and are very important if we want to have positive influences in life. A good friend is a treasure that gives us a lot of happiness. But your best and closest friend should be yourself. Embrace yourself as your closest confidante and most trusted friend, and it will do wonders for your mental health.
The Words You Say to Yourself Matter
When you learn to love yourself, you will notice that everything changes. Your outlook changes, your attitude changes, and the way you treat others changes. True happiness comes from within.
One great way to avoid self-hate and get on the path to genuinely caring for yourself is through the words you say to yourself, both aloud and internally.
We’ve all been there. You put on an outfit, you feel good in it, and then you stand in front of a mirror. The only thing you see is your flaws. You may tell yourself that you look fat, or ugly, or short, or scrawny.
You may nitpick your choice of clothing. What you started out feeling great about diminishes quickly. Rather than practicing self-compassion and understanding that no human body is perfect, you self sabotaged yourself.
The good news is that almost everyone does it. We don’t often practice gratitude for the body that moves us around all day and keeps us alive. All bodies have fat. Fat is not an identity. It’s a thing that every body has.
Life is made possible because we have a body that keeps us going. All bodies have flaws, scars, blemishes, and other oddities that can give us feelings of insecurity and fear about whether or not society will accept us the way we want to be seen.
Affirmations, or good things that you say to yourself in front of a mirror or in the quiet spaces throughout the day, are great ways to love yourself. It’s almost like a guided meditation when you put it into practice.
It might feel silly to be your own cheerleader in front of a mirror, but once you get past the fact that you feel a little silly and embrace the meaning behind the affirmations, it can be a positive experience. It’s a way to focus on yourself and remind yourself that how you treat you is very important to your happiness.
Don’t know where to start? That’s okay. The following are some affirmations you can try the next time you are in front of a mirror. Use these when you have a presentation to give, a meeting to attend, a date to go on, or just any time you need a positive reminder that you are a wonderful being who matters and deserves happiness.
You can also write them down on a piece of paper or sticky note and keep it near your mirror, in your car, or on your person so that you can look at them throughout the day if you need a quick pick-me-up. Think of them as a love letter to yourself.
- I am beautiful
- I am strong
- I am brave
- I am smart
- I have worth
- I am talented
- I am loved
- I have good ideas
- I am needed
- I have power
- I love me
Set Boundaries for Yourself
How you allow yourself to be treated is key to your mental health and how you see yourself. In a perfect world, everyone would treat each other with respect and dignity. But we all know this is not an ideal world.
Setting boundaries doesn’t just mean restricting things from yourself or others. It doesn’t mean deprivation or sacrifice. Setting healthy boundaries means that you don’t overextend yourself or allow yourself to focus on things that drain you or leave you feeling less.
People treat you the way you allow yourself to be treated
When you focus on loving yourself, ask yourself if you’re allowing yourself the best relationships. Do you let people put you down, mock you, or stand you up?
The thing about it is this: People will usually treat you how they can get away with treating you. If they are rude or mean or take advantage of you once, and you allow it to happen, it gives most people the idea that you’re okay with it, or at the very least, won’t do anything about it. So it becomes a habit.
When someone in our lives stops being a positive force for our well-being, we need to correct the situation. The following offers an example scenario of how we can end up in situations that are not beneficial to self-love.
Sara isn’t sure that she wants to be in a relationship with Jim. She had a rough break up last year, and even though she’s been on several dates with Jim in the last several months and agreed when Jim asked her to be his official girlfriend, she’s having second thoughts.
She thinks that maybe she jumped into this relationship too soon and would rather have a casual relationship. Jim is sweet and a great match for Sara, but Sara isn’t sure she’s ready to commit. However, she doesn’t want to lose the affection, stability, and other great things Jim has to offer.
Rather than telling Jim how she truly feels, she tells him that something feels off and wants to go on a “break.” Jim has strong feelings for Sara, but he doesn’t want her to feel unhappy with him, so he agrees with her idea. He assumes that by “break” she means that they will each take some time to themselves and get back together after they’ve each figured out what it is they want.
Rather than taking time to focus on what she wants, Sara goes out and has fun. She dates around, develops feelings for other people, and strings Jim along every time he calls or texts her to check up on their relationship status.
Now here’s the thing: Jim felt out of his comfort zone when Sara said she wanted to pause the relationship. He didn’t think of himself, and he put his life on hold so that she could figure out what she wanted to do. Sara practiced self-love by doing the things she wanted to do, but she did it at the expense of Jim’s feelings.
Jim should have shown the same love he gave Sara to himself. He should have clarified what she meant when she said they needed space from each other, and if he disagreed with her idea, he should have said so.
He should have considered his own feelings in the situation instead of catering solely to her. Self-love is about keeping yourself in mind. It’s not selfish, but about being self-aware. Sara practiced self-love, but she did it selfishly.
Jim should have demanded better treatment of himself and shouldn’t have allowed himself to be strung along. He should have spoken up and voiced his opinion, his feelings, and his own needs.
Instead, he allowed himself to be put on the back burner and waited for Sara. In the end, the relationship most likely wouldn’t work out because Jim would probably harbor some resentment, which he would end up blaming himself for to a degree.
Life When You Love Yourself
When you practice self-love, you will see that things change. Someone can be rude to you on the subway, bus, or in passing on the sidewalk, but you know your worth, and you love yourself, so it doesn’t hurt you.
You may not love every single thing about your body, but you know that your body is something to be thankful for, so you exercise and practice mindful eating so that you can be as healthy as possible. You give yourself positive affirmations so that you can feel at peace with yourself.
Your confidence increases when you practice self-love, and your overall mental health is in better shape. You recognize when you feel down or depressed. You have good relationships with others and yourself and have a support system to keep yourself both grounded and reaching for your goals.
When you practice self-love, spending time with yourself is a treat, not a punishment. Time alone gives you time to reflect, write in a journal, engage in hobbies you love, catch up on sleep, and focus on yourself, and that’s a great thing. You don’t feel lost or empty when you’re by yourself. You feel content and confident.
Please don’t put it off. Tell yourself that you matter. Allow yourself to focus on you. Invest in you.
It’s as simple as this: The next time you walk past a mirror, stop. Smile at yourself. Don’t focus on wrinkles, blemishes, scars, or any other imperfections. Focus on the way your eyes light up. Notice how your face changes and seems brighter when you look happy.
Now tell yourself, either aloud or internally, something positive. Give yourself at least one positive affirmation. Do this the next few times you are in front of a mirror. It may feel silly at first, but over time, you will notice that you feel a little different about yourself in a good way.
The next time you eat, try to make it something healthy and delicious. Invest in your health. It’s easy to go through a drive-thru or order greasy carry-out. But learning to cook or prepare a meal that gives you the vitamins and nutrients you need is a practice of self-love that you can quickly turn into both a hobby and a habit.
You’ll feel better about the fuel you feed your body, and over time, you will start to see your body as the miracle it is, rather than the imperfections you may focus your attention on now.
Get more sleep. Give yourself the rest you deserve. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break. Don’t overwork yourself and decide that powering through something that isn’t good for you is just what everyone has to do. That’s something we tell ourselves so that we can more easily bear negativity. Remember that you are a priority and should be treated as such, both by others and by you.
Self-love is something that all of us can improve upon. We can all stand to add a few self-care routines to our lives so that we can get the most out of it.
A life well-lived is a life in which we genuinely love ourselves this includes engaging daily in positive thoughts. At the end of the day, when we put our heads down on a pillow and go to sleep, we are our first and sole provider of happiness and contentment. We should love ourselves for the beautiful beings we are.