‘You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.’ ~Buddha
Self-love is good for us, but why? Here’s 6 reasons why you need to love yourself.
In order to be an effective person, parent, wife, husband. partner, daughter, son, sibling, colleague or team member, you need to put yourself first.
It’s like the idea behind the safety announcements when you get on a plane. Parents are told that in the event of an emergency they must fit their own oxygen mask first, before they fit their child’s. If you pass out in an emergency, you’ll be of no use to anyone – especially your children.
It’s the same with being an effective person. When we love ourselves we tend to our own needs, which makes us more able to help others and make our own contribution too.
Furthermore, just as we’re influenced by those around us, we are an example and influence to our families and others around us.
Others, especially your children, will be influenced how to behave themselves but also how to behave towards you. If you’re always running around doing what they want and ignoring your own needs or desires, they will not only think that’s the way things are and should be, but will come to expect it from you. They may come to think (subconsciously) you’re not as important as they are, or your needs aren’t as important as theirs. This isn’t to say that they wont appreciate you for what you do, they might – but it’s easy to take people for granted who put everyone else before themselves.
If this resonates with you, you might want to ask yourself if It’s a good example you’re setting, and if it’s s a healthy view of what being an adult is about. There’s a chance it’s not helping your family and it’s not helping you.
Likewise, a healthy self-love based on a sense of self-worth, will increase your effectiveness in the work place. Most managers or business owners don’t want someone on their team who think they’re not worthy enough, or clever enough or capable enough. They want people who are confident and can get on with what they need to do.
Which brings us to the next reason why we need to love ourselves. This is because it helps us be more confident.
Confidence starts with being confident in oneself. Knowing who you are and that you are an autonomous capable person.
This doesn’t mean you’ll always be confident in every situation and obviously you can’t always be capable at everything you do, but it means you have an underlying confidence in yourself.
When you love yourself – you’ll be easier on yourself.
You wont beat yourself up so much and will be keep things in perspective.
You find it easier to let let things go, rather than mulling over them, because you don’t take things so personally.
When you love yourself you don’t need to constantly look to others for validation.
You don’t need to continually seek external approval from others because you are secure in your self.
You take responsibility for your own emotions and feelings.
When we love ourselves we’re more likely to be happy and enjoy life, because we feel happy in our self.
You’re not always striving to do more or think you can do better. This is really a form of internal criticism, as you’re saying what you are now or what you’re doing isn’t good enough in some way.
This doesn’t mean you’re not ambitious for more or to improve, but that it’s a measured healthy ambition which comes from a positive place and attitude rather than a negative one.
It might be a bit of a cliché, but like all clichés there’s some truth in the idea that we need to love ourselves to be able to love others
But also importantly to be able to receive love from others and be open to love – because we think we’re lovable.
One of the best guides to how to be self-loving is to give ourselves the love we are often dreaming about receiving from others. There was a time when I felt lousy about my over-forty body, saw myself as too fat, too this, or too that. Yet I fantasized about finding a lover who would give me the gift of being loved as I am. It is silly, isn’t it, that I would dream of someone else offering to me the acceptance and affirmation I was withholding from myself. This was a moment when the maxim “You can never love anybody if you are unable to love yourself” made clear sense. And I add, “Do not expect to receive the love from someone else you do not give yourself.” Bell Hooks
If you want to know if you love yourself, our last post will help you discover if you exhibit any of the 6 signs of not loving yourself.
Take a look – It might make you realise it’s time to do yourself a favour and love yourself a bit more.
How do you do that? Listen in to next week’s show when we’ll be thinking about some practical ways to develop and show yourself self-love.
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