“Love Yourself First and Everything Else Falls Into Place”
February 2015 Insight
So true! Self-love is a critical component to living life well! It impacts almost every aspect of our lives. From social and intimate relationships to the image we project at work and in our communities as well as how effectively we cope with life challenges. It’s development can only occur if direct actions are taken to support one’s physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. So in the spirit of Valentines Day, a holiday many of us typically designate as a time to express our love to those near and dear to us, I’m going to ask you to do the same for yourself!
Understandably for some, the act of practicing self-love can feel initially uncomfortable, and overly self-indulgent but self-love is not to be confused with self-centeredness. Rather self-love is more about thinking about the “me” so that you can build a strong “we”. That’s why when you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant instructs you to put on your oxygen mask first before helping others. Why is this an important rule for ensuring survival? Because if you run out of oxygen, you can’t help anyone else with their oxygen mask. This is an great metaphor to consider especially for women as we are notoriously known to put our own self-care and needs on the back burner
Learning to love yourself is a key ingredient to greater happiness. Self-love is at the very core of well-being, joy and empowerment. If we don’t care for ourselves we limit our success in all aspects of our lives; experiencing burnout, fatigue, reduced mental effectiveness, health problems, anxiety, stress, and heightened frustration.
It’s time to let go of the guilt and the excuses, put your oxygen mask on first and start practicing a little more self-love in your life.
#1 Recognize Your Own Good Qualities
Many of us have the tendency to focus on what it is that we aren’t enough of. Defaulting to negative self-talk is one of the least loving things you can do for yourself. So today, right now, take a few minutes to make a list of all the things you like about yourself. Think of physical attributes, mental or emotional strengths, successes you’ve experienced, the way you support your friends and family, or anything else. Make your list as long as possible, and keep adding to it. Go to people you trust and ask them what they’d list as your positive characteristics. You may be surprised to find out that people see a lot more of your strengths than you realize.
#2 Treat Yourself With The Same Level Of Kindness & Respect You Do For Others You Love
You know how you treat someone you really care about, the way you love and support that person and treat him or her with kindness and respect? Well, do that for yourself and just as you’d challenge a close friend who’s making bad decisions with his or her life, challenge yourself as well. Remind yourself just as you would a good friend of your worth as an individual and that you deserve great things in your life. Resist the tendency for settling for less, encourage yourself as you would someone you love to challenge yourself to achieve the best life possible.
#3 Give Attention To Your Needs And Desires
This may sound a bit silly, but some people really don’t know what they want and need. They can go through their entire adult lives never stopping to self-assess and check in with how they are truly doing. One of the best ways to love yourself is to carve out some time weekly to answer honestly how you are feeling physically, emotionally and spiritually. Some great questions to consider:
- Do you feel significant/loved/respected?
- Are you allowing companionship to lift and enlighten your life?
- Do you feel in control of how you react to situations in your life?
- Are you treating your body well (i.e. sleep, diet, exercise, attending to necessary health appts, stress management)?
- Do you feel a sense of inner-peace and calmness?
- Do you have a sense of purpose and appreciation for your place in this world?
Now take it one step further and ask yourself, how can you, at this very moment, take better care of yourself, so that you have more to give instead of less? Remember self-love may start with the “me” but it ends with a “we”!
Wishing You Well Always!