Ever stop and wonder about the benefits of self-love and how to cultivate it? Self-love is a popular term, so I have been reluctant to write about it. Self-love is not a bad thing, but one definition doesn’t bring you benefits in your life. I feel more at ease in my skin than ever before. That’s what self-love looks like to me – realizing my worth and making an effort to do the things that are best for me. In a moment, I will tell you more about how I feel comfortable in my skin, but first, let’s discuss what self-love is, how to cultivate it, and the many benefits.
What is Self-Love?
The Mirriam Webster Dictionary provides three definitions of self-love. These definitions are:
- An appreciation of one’s worth and virtue
- proper attention and concern for one’s happiness or well-being
- Inflated pride in or love for oneself
This last one, “inflated love of oneself or pride in oneself”, is why I hesitate to accept the terminology. I want to be clear: this is not the kind of self-love that will bring benefits to your life. It will drive people away from you if you are conceited and narcissistic.
These are the types of self-love we will be focusing on. These are the self-love types that will bring you benefits in your life.
Self Love Psychology
Medical News Today reports that there have been many studies on the psychology and benefits of self-love. Self-love, which has been shown to have positive mental health, may help keep depression and anxiety at bay. Self-love is more than feeling good. It’s an appreciation of oneself, which can be developed from. If you can value yourself, you will take different actions from those who disregard their worth.
Although it may sound profound, this statement is quite logical. You will be more self-aware if you value your worth. This isn’t the only way to love yourself. Let’s take a look at an example situation in which two people are faced with the same problem but approach it differently. In a moment, we’ll discuss more.
A Self-Love Vs. Self-Hate Example Comparison
Person A goes to the freezer and grabs the entire ice cream box. After that, they feel ashamed of themselves and blame their inner critic for calling them “a fat, ugly failure with no self control.” Person A feels very down because they tried something, but it didn’t work. They should have learned from their mistakes and not tried something similar. It was doomed right from the start.
Person A feels very down about themselves after failing to succeed with something. Person B gets out a journal and starts to write everything down. With pen and paper, they write everything down. They let all their hopes, fears and disappointments flood onto the paper. They then do a brain dump to eliminate all negative emotions. They can then take a step back, analyze the situation and make more rational decisions. They return to the growth mindset philosophy, realizing that failures are learning opportunities. Instead of blaming themselves, they show compassion for others and adopt kinder self-talk. They say, “Ouch. It was really hard and disappointing. But it’s okay. It’s not the end. I will get up and try again. This is possible. What can I take away from this?
The Self-Love Vs.-Self-Hate Comparison: Take-Home Lesson
Both people are in the same situation, but their reactions are different. Person B displayed kindness and compassion. They were able to deal with the disappointment much better. This is self-love. It brings you joy.
On the other hand, poor person A didn’t show much self-love. They made a terrible situation worse by their reactions. They did something ultimately detrimental to themselves, and then they beat themselves up about it! Would you mind looking at who is willing to try again and who gave up before starting?
How can you develop self-love?
In the above example, you can see how self-love has many benefits. How can you cultivate self-love? Here are the steps I took to develop self-love. This list contains more concrete and specific ideas for self-love.
Pray about It
My Jesus can handle any problem on Earth. This applies to my mind as well as my heart. I remember that he loves me. He sees me as valuable and worth his time. When I feel overwhelmed or struggling with something, he takes it to me. I give it all to Him, including my emotions, and sometimes shed a few tears. I try my best to let it go, knowing He will take care of it and give me strength and guidance. I am a child of God! I sometimes forget this and need to remind it.
Silence your Inner Critic
Notice how Person A’s inner critic kicks them down in the example. What friend would you speak to like that? No! It’s not right! My inner critic can tear me apart emotionally more than anyone else. This is a bad habit that can lead to self-hate. While I may have my own opinions on the origins of this behaviour, it is important to start listening to your inner critic and not just taking it.
Failure does not automatically make you a failure. It does not necessarily mean you are ignorant or incapable of understanding something. This means you are still learning. You don’t have to be “fat” or ugly because you are a little heavier. Your body will change throughout your entire life.
No matter how hard I work out, I can’t get back to my birth weight. When high school, the weight that I was was similar to the weight of someone who was still growing. I want to be healthy and not just what the scale says. Don’t get mad at yourself if you don’t like it. You can take action to change it in the direction that you want.
Talk Kindly to You
Once we’ve got the inner critic out, it’s now time to find a more positive influence. It’ll be called an inner coach. Self-talk is important. Talk to your inner coach, Person B. They tell themselves it’s okay. They encourage themselves not to give up and learn from their mistakes. Your inner coaches will tell you that “I can do it!” Practice self-compassion. It’s one of the greatest benefits of self-love. It also helps to make you happier and more content with your life.
Be More Mindful
It is easy to get lost in the moment. It’s easy to lose sight of the present and get distracted by other things. Mindfulness is about living in the present. It’s taking the time to slow down, feel, and appreciate what’s happening in the here-and-now. It means that I eat mindfully and take the time to savour my food. I don’t rush to finish my meal while thinking about all the other things I have to do. This also means that I will not distract myself from my children’s playing. It makes me happy to stop listening and take in their laughter and smiles.
Develop a Growth Mindset
You have to be open to learning and growing every day. This mindset demonstrates that you can see the direct link between success, effort, and learning. It is something that children learn about in school. However, it also applies to adults. You don’t have to stop learning just because you get older. This means that you now have to learn. A growth mindset helps you take setbacks in stride, and it also helps you realize that you won’t “fail” until you stop trying.
Accept your quirks and celebrate them.
All of us have quirks. I know I do. I’m willing to bet you also have some. As a teenager, I tried to hide my quirks. It was often an awkward outcome. I wanted to be “in” and like everyone else. Every little mistake I made was something that I rehashed. Most people forget after only 30 seconds. These were the things that kept my eyes open at night, replaying my errors.
As I grew older, I learned to be more kind to myself and love myself better. Self-love is another benefit. It’s okay if I have an awkward moment from time to time. They make me more authentic and humble. Sometimes my jokes fall flat. I still struggle with awkwardness despite being a regular exerciser. (Like when I tried to sneak into Barre’s class late and was then forced to chase my bright pink ball around the room. Then, I ran into the person in front of me. Oops.) It was funny, and everyone laughed. Being loved, liked, and accepted doesn’t mean you have to be perfect.
Let yourself have fun and be kind to yourself. Recognize that you’re not perfect and that your quirks are what make you unique.
Take care of the people you love. It would be best if you did the same for yourself. Your gifts to others will be better if you take the time to refill your cup whenever you are in need. This is not about giving physical gifts. I refer to the attention and time you give your family and friends. You are running on empty if you feel mentally or emotionally exhausted all the time. It is time to fill up your cup. Do not put yourself last.
Self-care does not mean taking bubble baths or lighting candles. Self-care includes taking care of your spiritual, physical, and emotional health.
Keep true to your core values and know what they are
Self-love is a process that involves identifying your core values and sticking to them. These core values are the compass of our lives. These core values are the foundation of our actions, decisions, and choices. Your core values guide you in your decisions, actions and choices. If you don’t have your core values, how can you be sure that you’re true to yourself?
Self-love has many benefits.
Let’s explore the benefits of self-love. Now that we know how to cultivate self-love let’s dive deeper into why it is important. I’m sure you will agree that there are many amazing side effects.
Self-love is characterized by more kindness. It’s easier to love yourself and be kind to others when you do. When you feel at peace with yourself, it is easier to be happy with your life. This can show in your relationships, whether it’s smiling more, laughing more, or taking the high road and allowing others to forgive you for being unkind.
Self-love can lead to more confidence. You will feel more at ease in your skin if you love yourself. Accept yourself for who you are, and don’t judge yourself for making mistakes. You make time for yourself to look and feel your best. These things all have an impact on our self-confidence.
Spending time alone
What is your favourite way to spend time alone? While some people dislike it, I enjoy it. It can be very frustrating if your inner critic constantly calls you out and your mind drifts to everything you have done wrong in your day or life. It can be frightening to be alone if you constantly worry and don’t have confidence in your abilities or self-worth. Self-love can bring out the best in you. You don’t mind spending quality time with yourself. You feel confident in your abilities and are free to do what you want. You feel more relaxed when you are alone than when you are with others.
Stop taking things personally.
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I’ve always been prone to take things personally. It has been a struggle to learn how to stop. It has become easier as I feel more at ease being myself and learning to love myself. Self-love has another benefit: As you gain confidence and understanding, you become more compassionate for others. It is easier to forgive others when you understand that the way they treat you directly reflects how you feel about yourself. You are more likely to see someone negative towards others than they are toward yourself.
You will have more confidence in yourself, trust your abilities, and greater motivation to achieve your goals. You will be more confident in your abilities and less afraid to follow your dreams. Although it is still risky, reaching beyond your comfort zone does not seem scary. It’s easier to reach down and find your inner drive. Self-love is an amazing benefit!
As confidence is a natural result of self-love, resilience is also a benefit. You can love yourself and not be discouraged by your mistakes. You learn to laugh at yourself, and you can move on. You can also practice self-compassion and give yourself pep talks when needed. This will help you become more resilient when faced with setbacks.
You want to love and take care of someone you love. This is true for yourself as well. Self-love can also lead to healthier choices. You may find yourself eating healthier or going for walks. Because you value yourself, you develop healthier habits.
We have less anxiety and stress.
You can be hard on yourself if you don’t love yourself. Overthinking everything can lead to worry about other things. This worrying can lead to anxiety and stress, especially if you add overthinking. Self-love is the last benefit I want to highlight. It reduces anxiety and stress. Worrying is a common habit. Although it may sound strange, this is neuroscience. The more we use a certain path, the closer our brain’s nephropathy are wired together. If we use the worry pathway constantly, it will become our default state.
We can use the principle “neurons that fire together wire together” to benefit if our thoughts are positive. It is easier to realize your worth and believes in your capabilities.