As I researched across the web about loving yourself, I stumbled upon a story. A 7-year-old daughter was leaving the room of her mother when the mother stopped her. She reminded her daughter how special she was.
The daughter smiled back and expressed that she knew she would do that. As she was leaving, the daughter stopped again, and asked the mother to tell her that every day to never forget.
Unfortunately, not all of us can get that kind of outward love often. There may not be the people around us to give the words of affirmations that we need.
I think about the elderly who live alone or the young person in college who has no friends or family nearby.
Some people don’t have someone to hold them in the hard moments or remind us of the best parts of ourselves. It's often a luxury reserved for those in romantic relationships.
You may not have closeness with your family, friends, or a significant others, but you always have yourself. You can practice self-love through taking care of yourself in exactly the way you need.
With all the time you spend with yourself (which is all the time), no person knows better how to make you feel good than you.
What does it mean to love yourself?
The meaning of loving yourself is similar to loving others. When you love someone, you choose to be considerate of their feelings, you offer them your time and attention, and you help take care of them.
Examples of giving love to yourself
There are many examples of giving love to yourself. Here are a few just off the top of my head.
- Rewarding yourself for achieving something
- Regularly practicing good hygiene
- Feeding yourself meals that are good for you
- Regularly using positive self-talk
- Spending time focusing on yourself
While loving others can feel natural, for some of us, loving ourselves can feel hard. Here are 10 helpful reasons why it’s worth it to give love to yourself.
1. Self-acceptance can make you happier
A survey done by the University of Hertfordshire found that self-acceptance was most closely associated with having satisfaction in life.
It was also the habit that respondents tended to practice the least. Perhaps a sign that we as a society need to take more of a step back from constantly pursuing success.
Maybe some of us have to recognize that we need to stop comparing ourselves so much.
Some of the happiness you’ve been waiting for can happen right now just through accepting yourself.
Here are some steps you can take to help increase your self-acceptance:
- Look at mistakes as opportunities for growth
- Notice what you do well
- Be as kind to yourself as you would be to a friend
- Ask trusted people in your life what your strengths are
- Sit silently with yourself and be at peace with the person you are
2. Love of your body can help with physical wellness
BioMed Central Limited did some research that found improving body image in overweight women helped them make positive changes in eating behavior.
As a result, compared to the control group, they lost more weight. Loving ourselves means loving all of ourselves, including our bodies.
It can be an important key to making progress in our physical wellness.
3. Hating yourself won’t motivate you
People can be their own worst enemy sometimes. Beating themselves up to push themselves to change.
Maybe you tell yourself you’re too lazy in your day, too unproductive in your work, or too awkward around people.
Then of course there are the “not enough” thoughts that can come up. Not pretty enough, not smart enough, not confident enough, and not good enough.
It’s important to realize that you’re not as bad as you think. Shaming yourself only makes you feel worse, and potentially pushes you towards bad habits which continue a destructive cycle.
Start thinking “you are enough” every day to begin moving in a more positive direction in life.
4. Loving and accepting yourself leads to change
Accepting yourself means realizing that you’re not perfect and you make mistakes.
Having a more positive mental attitude through self-love allows you to see your potential and grow.
It helps us to be more forgiving of ourselves, and through that forgiveness, we’re in a better emotional space to get back up and try to do better.
5. Self-compassion can calm you
A Universities of Exeter and Oxford study found that practicing self-compassion can switch off the body’s threat response and calm a person’s heart rate.
The researchers also believe because of the change in response, it can lower the risk of being physically unwell.
In a world that can feel hectic at times, simply being kind to yourself might help you feel less anxious about everything.
6. Loving yourself helps you love others deeper
We often spend a significant amount of time focusing on ourselves. How we’re acting in social situations, how we look, or how we can be successful in relationships, or getting a promotion at work.
Some of us may even spend a lot of time thinking about how to stop overthinking.
While focusing within can be beneficial at times, too much of it means we give less time and energy outward to others.
In other words, when you focus less on you, you’re able to focus more on the people around you.
Giving yourself an understanding and forgiving love makes you more likely to give it to others. You choose to be more appreciative of people’s quirks.
You don’t get so upset when things go wrong, instead finding a way to laugh about things. Self-love helps you to enjoy the season of life you’re in.
7. Loving yourself helps you let go of the past
Recounting past disappointments and failures is not uncommon. Many of us ruminate on things we said or did, and how we wish we would have done things differently.
Choose to love yourself in a forgiving way like you would for someone close to you. That means recognizing you did the best you could with the knowledge, understanding, skills, and energy you had then.
With who you’ve become now, and who you’re continuing to become, you can and hopefully will do better. Allow yourself to let go of the past.
8. Loving yourself can help you be less insecure
The more accepting you are of yourself, the less burdened you feel by other people’s opinion of you.
You can feel more liberated to own who you are. You can feel less pressured to live up to other people’s expectations.
Remember that you have the power to block out all the noise of your critics. Stay locked in on the quiet support you give to yourself.
9. Loving yourself inspires others to love themselves
Whether you know it or not, your thoughts and actions influence everyone around you. Some of you have kids that watch you.
Others of you have a relative, friend, or romantic partner that pays more attention to how you live than you think.
They pay attention to how you speak of yourself and how you take care of yourself. They watch how you respond to failure and to the failure of others.
Let your thoughts and actions be ones that exhibit love and acceptance of yourself, so you can inspire others to love and accept themselves too.
10. Self-compassion helps you push through tough times
Life is tough on all of us now and again. Choosing to give compassion to yourself can help you push through those tough times.
Duke University researchers concluded treating oneself kindly in bad times can be a key to getting through life’s challenges.
The people who had higher self-compassion experienced less negative emotional reactions to bad events and took more responsibility for negative experiences.
Why you need to be loving to yourself
When you give love to yourself, you help yourself to feel good on the inside. Those good feelings help you have the belief in yourself to go after what you desire and be proactive.
Final thoughts on loving ourselves
We have enough people in this world that hate on us every single day. People who look down on us for being different.
People who think the worst things about us with no regrets. Truthfully, they probably feel just as bad about themselves as they try to make you feel.
We don’t want to let those people in life win. You know all the struggles you’ve dealt with and all the work you’ve put in.
You deserve to give love to yourself for that. Be encouraged to start giving yourself that love today.