We’re taught from a young age to love everyone around us. We always talk about it in terms of kindness toward others, though. The reality is that it’s just as important, and maybe even more so, that we extend that kindness unto ourselves.
It’s all too easy to be our own worst enemy. Even with ourselves the bad news gets better ratings! Think of all the ways you doubt, sabotage, and contradict yourself in a day. That’s no way to treat your best friend. We should strive to be our own best friend.
“Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic,” says Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D. at Psychology Today.
When we truly love ourselves, we can better prioritize our own needs and even communicate them to others. We can achieve more independence and less reliance. We’re more apt to set boundaries for ourselves — minded personally and by others. We’re more likely to abandon destructive behaviors that self-sabotage and, instead, develop behaviors that lift us up. We discover more mental and physical energy when we don’t waste our time ignoring the messages our body is sending.
Headaches, sleeplessness, exhaustion, achy muscles, cranky mood, and a heap of other symptoms you may very well be experiencing right now are all ways in which the body cries out for help. It can only endure so much.
Ever argue with a boyfriend or spouse that while their material gifts certainly make you feel appreciated, you feel their love and know it’s real through their actions, words, time, and attention? Your self needs the same.
You can certainly treat yourself with pedicures, flowers, and shopping, but those actions don’t directly contribute to bolstering your self-love.
You can become more mindful - heightening that awareness of self.
You can take care of yourself by letting your body move (call it exercise if you like), eating well, and sleeping well.
You can forgive yourself. Think of the energy you spend punishing yourself for things that are trite or inconsequential, and what that energy could look like when used for good. Recognize your humanness, embrace that it comes with imperfections, and learn from those moments as opposed to letting them lord over you.
And don’t start beating yourself up if you can’t feel the love for yourself a few days from now. If this is especially new to you, like most things it will take time. Give yourself over to one small action. For example, improve your sleep habits before you take on the next action.
At the very least, find some small way to love yourself every single day. Look in the mirror and tell yourself, “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.” And believe it.