What Is Self-Love and Why Do I Need It?
Self-love is the ability to love yourself for who you are. It isn’t about being selfish. It’s about taking care of yourself before others. It’s about putting yourself first in your life so that you can gain the emotional strength and confidence that you need to be able to love and accept others.
Many people have trouble with self-love, often because they have become used to sabotaging their own feelings. They put others’ needs before their own, thinking they will be happy if they make others happy. Often this results in feeling worse about themselves, especially when they don’t receive the positive validation they are seeking.
Why You Need Self-Love
It is important to learn, and maintain, the ability to love yourself. Without that skill, you may find that you feel bad about yourself without even knowing why. When you feel bad about yourself, or beat yourself up from day to day, other people in your life will begin to treat you the way you treat yourself. You also need confidence in yourself. Those without confidence need to practice self-love all the more.
This can hurt the relationships in your life because as you continue to put others first before yourself, you can begin to feel like a second-class citizen, which may lead to feelings of resentment. But it is within your power to change, or even prevent those negative feelings that can bring you down. You just need to make the decision to do something about it.
How to Practice Self-Love
The key to being successful at self-love is first, to start doing it! Don’t agree to help someone else with time that you would have rather used to do something for yourself. Learn to set boundaries, keeping people from trampling all over your self-esteem because you feel like what they think or want is more important than what you think or want. Stop worrying about others needs and start concentrating on your own.
Going through life with a sense of confidence is very empowering. Other people will pick up on that confidence in you and will reflect it back in the form of respecting you for who you are. Below are just a few of the many ways that you can gain the confidence that you need, through the act of self-love:
- Make time for you first. If it means that you start leaving work on time every day or getting to your favorite exercise class on time, all the time, or even just turning off your cell phone, do it. You will notice how much better you feel about yourself when you start to take control of how you spend your time.
- Learn to say, “no.” Some people will take advantage of you if you let them, asking more and more of you without worrying about what you might be missing out on in your own life. Don’t let that happen. You don’t have to accept an invitation to dinner or a party when what you really want is a quiet night at home. And you should never let yourself feel pressured to do a favor for someone else when it means forsaking something that cuts into your “me” time.
- Forgive yourself. There is no need to get down on yourself for every little mistake that you make. Nobody is perfect. Take a minute to acknowledge what went wrong and then let go of it. Harboring negative feelings about yourself is never the way to achieve self-love.
- Accept the love that comes your way. Relationships are a two-way street. You shouldn’t be the only one expressing love for someone else. You may be too busy worrying about what people think of you to notice that they are trying to tell you. Let love in.
Practicing self-love is giving yourself the chance to be the best you you can be. Your relationships will benefit from it as well as your life in general. Most of all, you will benefit from the good feelings you begin to reap from within, just by remembering to put yourself first.