Quite often, we easily get confused between self-love and selfishness (though they are different). I was too. I had always wanted to be self-less; to be the reason for someone else’s smile and I had done these even at the cost of my own happiness. Parenting, somehow takes this selflessness to another level for most people, and I was one among those without realizing it was the perfect recipe for disaster. Down the lane I got to learn that what I was doing wasn’t helping any of us in the family and most importantly it wasn’t helping me at all. I had a lot of issues that needed to be addressed- stress, frustrations, frequent emotional breakdowns, etc. I came to understand that while I was running to make sure the needs of my family members were met, I had actually neglected those of mine. For the first time then, I began focusing on self-care. As a part of my efforts to help me handle my emotions I had done a course on emotional intelligence. In one of the lessons, the tutor had asked, “all of us speak of being empathetic towards others. But how often have we really thought of showing that empathy, love and care to ourselves?” That’s when I first thought of self-love and I haven’t stopped loving myself since then. Trust me, it has been so wonderful for me since then. That’s why I thought of covering the importance of self-love in this post.
What is Self-Love?
Self-love is about being kind and compassionate towards oneself. Based on the work of Dr. Sbarra and colleagues, it is considered to be made of three components; self-kindness, recognition of one’s place in shared humanity and mindfulness. Self-kindness is about being warm and understanding towards ourselves when we feel low. Recognition of one’s place in the humanity is all about acknowledging that people are not perfect and that personal experiences are part of the larger human experience. Mindfulness is about avoidance of over identification with painful emotions. So, that’s all it takes to love yourself!
Why is Self-Love Important?
There are several reasons why self-love is important. Keep reading to find those out.
- Helps Develop a Positive Outlook Towards Life
Self-love helps us to develop a positive outlook towards life. When we develop self-love towards ourselves, we learn to understand our strengths and positives. This helps our mind to naturally focus on the positives in everything around us too. And suddenly, without even realizing we develop a positive outlook towards life. Remember how everything in life appeared beautiful when you fell in love with someone. Imagine how magical it would be if you were that ‘someone’?
- Gives a Sense of Being Adequate
Self-love gives a sense of being complete by one-self. Self-love helps in understanding that nobody is perfect. It thus helps in one accepting their own imperfections rather than becoming a self-critic. That perfectionism is considered one of the major reasons for stress and self-criticism is a known thing. And self-love helps in accepting imperfections. Thus, self-love helps gives us a sense of being adequate and complete. Now that’s liberating, isn’t it?
- Helps us Pursue our Interests and Goals
Self-love is vital for us to pursue our interests and goals. When we don’t love ourselves, we are prone to neglect our needs. This is more so with parents, especially mothers who give up their own interests for the sake of their family. But, of late, I have come to realize that the reason we neglect our own needs and sabotage our interests is because we don’t value ourselves much. Self-love helps us in valuing ourselves. So, naturally, we learn to find ways to accommodate our interests and goals. Consequently, we push ourselves to pursue our interests and goals rather than sabotaging it for others.
- Self-love Helps in Building Healthy Relationships
Self-love helps in building healthier relationships. Quite often we look for others to make us happy and fulfilled. Well, these feelings do occur to us when we are in the initial stages of a relationship. But then they are temporary. That’s why with time in relationships, happiness fades. Consequently, love takes a beating and at times the entire relationship is jeopardized. But as a Happiness Life Coach and Emotional Intelligence Practitioner I have learnt that happiness comes from within. When we are not happy from inside, nobody or nothing can ever make us happy. When we are happy from inside, nobody or nothing can make us unhappy. And when we are
happy with ourselves, we don’t seek external validation, support or wait for others to give us joy. Consequently, we learn to build healthy relationships.
- Heals Our Inner Wounds
Self-love is vital in overcoming past painful memories and healing inner wounds. Self-love helps us understand that it is human to err. It helps overcome any guilt or grudge we may be carrying that have prevented our inner wounds from healing. Self-love is the ultimate medicine to heal those inner wounds. It helps you forgive and move on. It helps you find peace. It helps you heal your inner wounds.
- Helps us Develop Holistically
Holistic development is something that I have always insisted on and there is no better way to achieve it than self-love. In fact, my efforts towards holistic wellness and development started only after I started focusing on self-love. I also picked up healthy sleep routines and morning routines only after I began loving myself. Self-love is associated with loving our body, mind and soul. So, self-love obviously prevents us from doing things that will jeopardize the peace of our body, mind and soul. As a result, we start picking up good habits that helps maintain a positive frame of mind and body. Our body, mind and soul belong to the same system. We gradually align them with each other in the due process. Thus, we start developing holistically.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup,” said Tarryne West. How true? That we can’t make others happy if we aren’t happy ourselves, we can’t love others unconditionally if we don’t love ourselves unconditionally, is something that I learnt after being through some testing times. I can’t stress more on the importance of self-love. However, while it may appear simple, self-love like all things is easier said than done. In my next post, I will be sharing some simple ways in which we can practice self-love. Meanwhile, I would like to hear from you. What does self-love mean to you? If you have been practicing it, how has it benefited you ? Let me know in the comments section. I would be glad to read what you have to say.
While self-love is extremely vital, loving and caring for others it vital too. What better way than sharing something benefitting to them. Do share my posts with your friends and family. Who knows who’s currently in need of it?