The importance of learning to love yourself
Unfortunately in this day and age, self-love is an attribute overlooked and undervalued by many. Often those who don’t understand the concept can confuse it for arrogance, or even self-obsession. But self-love is crucial to the way we perceive ourselves and, ultimately, how we come across to other people.
Your sense of self-worth should never be reliant on being fulfilled by external validation: it needs to come from within. Loving yourself sets the tone for the relationships you have with other people. Additionally, having a good relationship with yourself is also the first step towards building your self-esteem. If you’re always looking for external forces to affirm your sense of self-worth, chances are you’ll probably be disappointed. Instead, this reassurance should come from within - it's something you can control, and it radiates positivity.
There are so many benefits of self-love; these range from increased self-esteem, lower anxiety and lower stress levels to the building of resilience, assertiveness and sense of control over our lives. Appreciating ourselves more can result in the ability to bounce back easier from hardships, and even helps us to love other people deeper. We can become happier in our day-to-day lives, our contentedness with ourselves can become evident in our smile. When we feel positive about ourselves, we radiate that positivity outwardly, affecting other people's moods and hopefully allowing them to also see themselves in a kinder light.
Recognizing the various ways you can show yourself love is important, too. Whether it's an early night, eating well or running yourself a nice warm bubble bath for a good, long soak. Playing sports, taking care of your body; all of these physical activities can be ways in which you show yourself, your mind and your body love. But there are also more mindful ways to show yourself love. For example, stop comparing yourself to others. Mute certain words on social media that you know may trigger your comparisons, unfollow unrealistic representations of life; understand that social media and television are the portrayal of the best bits, not reality. Finally - treat yourself. Do so in moderation, but don't make yourself unhappy by withholding your favourite things from yourself. That means if you want the chocolate - have it!
The perfect analogy for loving yourself comes from the world of aviation. In every flight, you are told that you have to put your own life mask on before helping another person with theirs. Ultimately, it isn’t selfish to do that because if you don’t, you will die before you can help someone who can’t help themselves. It is impractical — not heroic or self-obsessed — to make yourself suffer while trying to be there for others. Similarly, you need to love yourself first so that you can help people. Put yourself first, say no to draining circumstances, and make choices in your best interest.
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