Everyone needs love, and you probably focus a lot of energy on loving other people — from friends to spouses to children. But where does your love come from? You might expect it to come from the people in your life you care so much about, but you can’t control those people and you can wind up disappointed if you rely only on external sources for love.
What if there was a way to fuel your life with the love you needed and not have to rely on other people to do it? That’s where self-love comes in. Not only is it important to love yourself to fill in those gaps other people may leave, but self-love can actually provide health benefits.
The Benefits of Self-love
Aside from just making you feel good, self-love can benefit your life in many ways, too:
- Greater Life Satisfaction. Greater life satisfaction is associated with people who practice self-love. Appreciating yourself helps you appreciate your life. When you hold yourself in high esteem and know you are fulfilling your purpose in life, you tend to have more enjoyment and a more positive attitude toward the future.
- Motivation for Healthy Habits. Self-love can motivate you to adopt healthy habits and take care of your physical self. It doesn’t mean you don’t see room for improvement, it just means you care enough to value all of the parts of you. You express your love for yourself by doing things that make you look and feel your best.
- Better Mental Health. Mental health issues are more likely to resolve quickly — or less likely to develop altogether— for people who love themselves. Self-love can keep you from getting lost in your own head and going down a path toward negative thoughts and feelings. People who find themselves struggling with addiction or other mental health issues often need to develop a stronger positive relationship with themselves, and find that self-love can help lead them out of their disorders.
- Reduction in Stress and Increase in Performance. Self-love reduces stress, lessens procrastination and reduces performance anxiety around deadlines. Without those last minute doubts about yourself, you can complete projects with all of your energy, rather than wasting some on procrastination and setting yourself up for failure.
- Better Able to Deal With Adversity. People who practice self-love rebound from adversity faster than those who wallow in self-loathing. You can’t control what life throws at you, but you can manage your own response. People who feel good about themselves handle life crises better and move on to the good times faster.
Loving yourself can create a joy you bring with you wherever you go.
How to Love Yourself More
Recognizing the value of self-love is the first step to improving your quality of life. Adding more self-love to your life is the next thing you need to accomplish. Here are some tips to help you:
- Define Your Own Beauty. Don’t wait until you lose weight or get the perfect hairstyle to love yourself. You can love yourself now by changing your focus on what’s important. Start with one small feature and decide to love that part of you first. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it’s uniquely you. You may decide to love your feet because they have carried you through life in heels and sneakers. They take a lot of abuse, but they continue to hold you up. Or, you might love your eyes because they have that unique coloration and sparkle you identify with.
- Change Your Self-Talk. The little voice inside your head that can drag you down when you make a mistake must be changed. You probably wouldn’t talk that way to someone you love, so why say it to yourself? Replace that negative self-talk with something positive and up-lifting. When you make a mistake, try an encouraging phrase like, “It’s ok! I’ll just try again.”
- Pamper Yourself. When your feet get wet in the rain, go home and put on dry socks. Be more aware of your physical condition and do things to comfort yourself. Wait for the water to get warm before washing your hands. When you’re tired after a long day at work, sit down and take a break before making dinner or doing other chores rather than just pushing through. These are small ways you let yourself know that your comfort and well-being are important.
You can learn to love yourself and reap the benefits in your life. Making a conscious effort to improve your relationship with yourself can have many rewards.