“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,
deserve your love and affection”.
February, the month of Valentines Day, is often a time when we find ourselves reflecting upon our relationships; however, more often than not we forget to look at the most important one – that of which we have with ourselves.
To some, the idea of self-love can seem rather extraterrestrial or narcissistic. The idea of putting ones needs before our own can become quite routine. With a lack of self-love, individuals often over focus on the idea of craving someone, the happy ending, or the big love story. Low self-esteem can manifest itself in many ways; however, the most destructive may be when we become dependent on others to boost it. A dependence on external love, with a lack of it turned inward can look something like this:
“I felt like I meant something when I was with them,”
or “I felt worthy and more secure,”.
Self-acceptance, defined as an individual’s satisfaction or happiness within oneself, has been considered the corner stone of self-love. Self-acceptance allows for individuals to acknowledge their own flaws, mistakes, or failures that we all have; yet still feel good about themselves. Undoubtedly, there may be things that we vow to improve upon in the future; however, self-love involves accepting ourselves exactly for who we are today. The concept of accepting ourselves as we are today is often challenged with fears of lack of motivation or growth. Self-acceptance does not mean that we will be without motivation for change or lack the desire for personal growth; it simply means that we will not bind ourselves to such modifications. Behavioral changes are made as a result of self-preference, rather than a requirement for greater sense of self. When an individual makes the commitment to address the source of his or her own self-dislike, over time substantial changes can and do occur.
Why Seek Self Love:
- Life becomes less demanding and lighter. When you come to accept and love yourself, things merely come easier. Individuals find themselves catastrophizing things less. You may find that you are less likely to beat yourself up over current or past mistakes. In addition, individuals tend to place less rules and unreachable standards on themselves; therefore, things may feel less heavy.
- You’ll gain increased self-stability. Individuals will stop searching for validation and attention from others as their sense of self improves and their opinion of themselves increases. With a new found sense of self you may notice a shift in your inner life, as you come to care less about what people may think or say about you. This can be accompanied by a boost in personal motivation, determination, and security.
- Decreased self-sabotage. People often refer to their worst enemy as themselves; however, with increased self-love you will come to feel more worthy of good things in your life. As a result, you may notice an increase in behaviors and motivation in seeking positive things. Individuals with a secure sense of self-love tend to feel more deserving of positive things; therefore, may act in less self-destructive ways when they receive them.
- Relationships may improve. With increased self-love individuals find themselves better equipped to handle difficult situations. You may take on the role of a more natural giver, rather than someone who is needy. Additionally, as you gain a further sense of self you will have an increased of personal security which may positively affect relationships. Individuals have noticed fewer conflicts as the weight of things perceived as important becomes more rational.
- Overall increased sense of happiness. Based upon the experiences of others as well as personal, it has been found that in learning to love oneself you gain a new found sense of happiness. From self-love practices such as replacing negative self talk with positive statements to reducing the amount of pressure you put on yourself, ones overall well being can increase greatly.
Foundations for Self Love:
- Uplift and empower yourself through positive self-talk and rational expectations.
- Follow the belief that deep love comes from within, rather than seeking satisfaction with the love of another.
- Modify past rules or assumptions that you have placed on yourself and decrease self-judgment.
- Allow yourself to say no to things that you don’t agree with or that don’t align with your goals.
- Spend time with those who inspire, support, and encourage you to be the best version of you.
- Gain further control over your emotions by choosing how you want to feel, rather than allowing situations or others to rule them.
- Choose to feed your body, mind, and soul – take care of yourself through exercise, eating healthy, and self-care time.
- Put yourself first, be kind to yourself, be an example for how you except to be treated.
- Genuinely accept and love yourself, setting the stage for the kind of love and acceptance you deserve from others.
In creating positive self-esteem, it means clearing out negative beliefs that have held you back or made you feel powerless. The development of new such beliefs may at times feel uncomfortable. Assure yourself that it’s human to feel uncertain with change; however, know that the journey to self-love is one worth fighting towards. Again, remind yourself that you, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. Allow this statement to be your personal mantra this month, as loving yourself is a habit worth forming!
Author: Stephanie Ballard, CADC