All of us have heard the old saying that it's important for us to love ourselves. Many of us, however, don't adhere to that in any way that is helpful to us or the people around us. Why do we have to do this? Isn't it just good enough that we love other people well? What in the world does loving myself have to do with anything? What if I think that I'm an unlovable person? These are the types of questions that come up when this topic comes up.
So, of course, that's why I've decided to approach this sometimes difficult topic in a sensitive way today - it's hard for some of us to love ourselves, and that's okay. It's a practice that takes a lot of time, but it's important for us to realize that loving ourselves is incredibly healthy and it's something that we should all be working on more each day. So, in this article, we're going to explore why loving ourselves is important and I'm going to give you some tips that will help you to start practicing loving yourself in a better way than you may have ever done before.
Why Is Loving Myself Important?
First off, you need to hear these words first - it's not a bad thing to love yourself. Somewhere over time, we've villainized loving ourselves and have made it a "bad word" that we shouldn't be using. This is just silly! Self love is not a crime, and actually, it helps us to interact and love other people better than if we didn't love ourselves well. It's true! By loving ourselves and seeing ourselves in the way that other people see us, we're more likely to embrace ourselves and make sure that we are taken care of, thus making our interactions much less stressful and helping other people to treat us as we feel we deserve to be treated. Many people who get in abusive situations have a hard time loving themselves because they feel that the abuse is on account of how "unlovable" they are.
Another important reason you should love yourself is because it can help to relieve some of the symptoms of certain emotional and mental imbalances. Feelings of depression and anxiety can become worse if you don't love yourself, because if you don't love yourself, you don't feel worthy of love, and that is really heartbreaking for anyone who may be feeling that way. I'm not saying that self love will cure those things, absolutely not, but it will help you to be able to walk through your thoughts more logically and be able to deal with your feelings in a healthy way.
Lastly, it helps to relieve the stress of expectations - I say this because it's something I struggled with for a long time. I always worried that, because I thought I was unlovable, that the people in my life only stuck around because they felt sorry for me. How miserable of an existence is that? With help, I've been able to get past that negative self-talk, but that was really detrimental to my self esteem and my ability to move forward with my goals and aspirations. By loving myself, I've learned to see how others can love me too.
What Can I Do To Love Myself Better?
Okay, so obviously, we have to make a conscious decision to love ourselves and to move forward in a healthy way. But what can we do in order to love ourselves better? It's not like we can wake up one day and suddenly love ourselves more! Here are some things that you can do in order to start the process of loving yourself better - and use them as a springboard. They're only ideas that are meant to help you get started, they aren't set in stone. Find what works for you and use those techniques to love yourself.
Look at your feelings in a healthy way and understand them, coping with them instead of beating yourself up for having them. This is one of the hardest things for people to do sometimes, because many people just like to "stuff" their feelings instead of trying to deal with them in a healthy way. So what can we do in order to deal with our feelings better? Some people will journal or keep a blog in order to process them in a healthy way. Others will meditate in order to learn how to be at peace with themselves. Others will find people who are like minded and talk about their feelings with them in order to process them better. Either way, allow yourself to feel the things that you feel and process them effectively. By allowing your feelings to exist, you're loving yourself better than you ever could otherwise.
Allow yourself some "fun time" where you focus on yourself for a short period of time. Many people have the "all work and no play" psyche embedded in their minds, and that's just not healthy for you or those who are around you. Even if you have a family and responsibilities, you need to take time out for yourself or you're just going to start to loathe yourself and your existence. Go and take a walk, listen to your favorite CD, watch videos on YouTube or do any number of things that help you to relax and enjoy yourself. By treating yourself, you're reducing stress and increasing positivity in your life and the lives around you.
Be open with yourself and other people about what you think, feel, and believe. I will fully admit that this was a huge problem for me for years, because I felt like i had to fit into a box, and I didn't like that box at all because it made me fake. That being said, I started to learn how to break out of that box and accept who I truly was, inside and out. I started expressing it to other people, who sat down with me and told me that they loved me even if I didn't fit in "the box" anymore. The box is what you make it, and if you are honest with who you are, the box will go away and you will be better able to love yourself in the long run. It's a lot less stressful too, which is always good to have when you're learning how to love and embrace yourself in a healthy and effective manner.
Discover who you are and embrace that person fully, even with the imperfections that are there. Learning who you are is a lifelong journey. I'm almost 30 years old and I don't have it all together yet, and that is absolutely fine. It's actually healthy. If we think that we have it all together, it is just that much more stressful when something comes up that shows us that we absolutely do not have it all together. It's unpleasant, honestly. So by accepting that you aren't perfect, that you're constantly changing, and that you don't have a full picture of who you are and the life that you are living, you can love yourself more easily because the discoveries end up being a lot less stressful than they were originally. This takes time, and is an art, but by taking the time to discover yourself, you may realize that you are worth loving and it is much easier for you to love yourself fully.
Be a better friend to those around you and love them as well. It's easier for someone to love themselves if they are loving the people around them well. This sounds like it's obvious, but in all honesty, it's not. Being a friend can be incredibly difficult at times, especially if you are going through your own stuff, but by showing love to everyone that is around you, you will find that it is much easier for you to live the life that you want to live, and to love yourself well. Even though some of us love everyone, others of us have difficulty loving those who don't love others well. So why not be the person that you would love? Show love to others effectively and you will start to see that you love yourself more as well.
Sometimes, loving ourselves becomes more difficult because there are issues in our past that make it more difficult for us to move forward with such things. There may have been abuse or other problems that may have occurred in your life that make you feel as if you are unlovable. That, of course, is when you need to seek out professional help. A therapist can help you look back at the story of your life and seek out those times where you felt like you were unlovable, and then help you unlock the love for yourself that you have been hiding for so long. Don't go through this alone - there are people in the world who love you very much and would love to see you start loving yourself better as well. Find the help you need through our site and get started on your journey toward loving yourself better than you ever have before.
Coster, D. (2013). » Self-Love is Not a Crime: Learning to Love Yourself - World of Psychology. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/05/23/self-love-is-not-a-crime-learning-to-love-yourself/
Kipp, M. (2011, August 21). Why It’s Important To Love Yourself. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://thedailylove.com/why-its-important-to-love-yourself/
McConville, K. (2014, April 24). How My Relationship Taught Me To Love Myself As Much As It Did My Partner. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://elitedaily.com/dating/things-cant-learn-relationship-taught-love/
Paul, M., PhD. (2013, July 24). Do You Know How to Love Yourself? Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/margaret-paul-phd/how-to-love-yourself_b_3639075.html
White, M. D. (2010, April 29). Loving Yourself-How Important Is It? Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/maybe-its-just-me/201004/loving-yourself-how-important-is-it