Why do we need to love ourselves?
When I hear the words “self love”, immediately my Cheese Radar goes off. I think of Oprah and Dr. Phil and picture a lady hugging herself in a field of flowers. However, through all of the Psychology courses, the life coach training, and reading a ton of self help books, I have come to realize that self love is the absolute most important kind of love. Without it, we can’t love our friends, family, and significant others correctly, nor can we reach our greatest potential. Most of us create massive amounts of anxiety and stress for ourselves throughout our daily lives and we don’t even realize it! By learning to love ourselves, we can experience a life that is so much freer and more meaningful than we could have possibly imagined. If your Cheese Radar is going off, hang in there. It’ll be worth it!
How many of us say things to ourselves like “you really messed that up” or “you look gross today. Look at all of those zits!”? We wouldn’t talk to our friends this way (at least we shouldn’t), so why would we say that to ourselves?? We are the harshest people on ourselves and whether we realize it or not, our internal words have the biggest impact on how we feel and think.
We also mistreat our bodies. We allow ourselves to smoke or drink too much or, less drastically, eating things that we shouldn’t or waiting too long to go to the doctor. For example, I am sensitive to lactose, yet I am always caving in to eating ice cream or cheese (Mmmmm cheese). I know it will make me feel bad but I do it anyway while thinking to myself, “it’s ok. It’s just this once.”. Lies!
Yes, showing our loved ones that we love them IS super important and every year on Valentine’s Day we are reminded to shower them in things. But don’t forget about yourself too. Trust me, it’s not selfish. In fact, it is the opposite. Loving yourself and taking care of your happiness will positively affect the way you love those around you.
So, the short answer to why we need to love ourselves is because it will make us happier, more succesful, and improve our relationships with everyone else.
How do we learn to love ourselves?
It isn’t hard to do but it takes practice. You can’t just wake up one day, love yourself perfectly, and be done with it. Just like any other relationship, it takes time and effort. You need to do a few little things that will eventually be one big monumental thing. I am going to share with you a few of those things:
Start by doing these things no matter how uncomfortable or ridiculous they feel. Ignore the Cheese Radar and just do them:
- Start your day by telling yourself that you are beautiful as you are staring into the mirror while brushing your teeth. Learning to speak to yourself the way you want others to speak to you is very important. Whether we realize it or not, what we say to ourselves eventually becomes our reality.
- Put some effort into getting dressed. If you feel like you look good and confident, then you will eventually actually feel good and confident.
- Put your phone away at least an hour before bed. Your brain needs time away from the stimulation of pixels and the stress of social media “likes” and “comments”, especially before you sleep. Checking out of the drama and addictiveness of social media throughout the day is also very important. It affects us way more than we realize.
- Stop comparing yourself to other people. It’s not helpful and it is pointless.
- Spend more time in your happy place. Mine is in the bath with a really good book and some chocolate. We all need to unwind and whether it is listening to music, running, or painting. Do more of it. (and no, watching Netflix does NOT count)
- Learn to care less about what people think of you. Don’t go crazy and let yourself go, just know that the way everyone else reacts to you is their responsibility, not yours.
- Surround yourself with less Toxic People. We instinctually start mimicking the people we are around. Make sure they are people you want to be like. If you can’t take yourself away from them (maybe they are family or something) then draw boundaries. Their happiness is not your responsibility, no matter how much you love them.
- Let go of the things that weigh on you. Learn how to forgive the people that have wronged you, and move on.
If your response to any of the above started with “but I can’t do that because . . . ” or “I would but . . . “, then stop right there. You are fully capable of doing all of these things. We tend to make excuses for ourselves and therefore get stuck in patterns. If you want it bad enough, then you can make it happen.
I promise that if you practice these things, you will feel so much happier and more confident. Watch as your relationships start improving and good things start happening for you.
So, as you are out buying flowers and candy for your S.O., kids, or cat this Valentine’s Day, do something for yourself too. Take the time to add these simple tasks to your daily routine. It will definitely be worth it.
As always, thanks for reading,