Whatever you are working on—whether it’s your physical health, mental health, relationships, or career—a healthy sense of self-love is an essential tool for your journey. Without it, everything is more difficult. Instead of blaming yourself or blaming circumstances, you can access the peace and happiness you deserve.
Love is misunderstood to be an emotion; actually, it is a state of awareness, a way of being in the world, a way of seeing oneself and others. ~DAVID R. HAWKINS
The idea of self-love is often misunderstood. People believe that self-love is the same as narcissism or that self-love only comes to those who are “lovable.” Let’s take a moment to clear this up.
Self-love, like love for any other person, is the natural outcome of taking the time to understand, accept, heal, appreciate, and nourish the person you are (as opposed to the person you think should be).
Self-love is self-understanding. Self-love is self-awareness. Self-love is self-care.
Building self-love is not a matter of becoming lovable, nor is it a matter of becoming better than others. It’s about connecting to yourself in an authentic, sustainable way and doing everything you can to nourish that connection.
When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs, and habits—anything that kept me small. My judgment called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving. ~KIM MCMILLEN
Self-love changes lives—for better when it’s there and for worse when it’s absent. Here are some of the ways that having self-love can impact your life:
- Confidence. Self-love helps break your addiction to the approval of others because your own approval becomes the most important thing.
- Accomplishment. Loving yourself means developing an awareness of your skills and talents and cultivating the courage to pursue them.
- Physical health. Taking time to understand your body’s needs and capabilities is essential to developing long-term habits of caring for your physical health.
- Mental health. Loving the person you see in the mirror is the only way to help that person through any kind of distress. When you take the time to understand yourself, you can actually help instead of just trying to shut yourself up.
- Self-forgiveness. Seeing yourself with eyes of love is the only way to forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made in the past so that you can stop being held back by the person you were and start appreciating the person you are.
- Healthy relationships. Cultivating love for yourself will give you the essential practice you need to build relationships based on love rather than need.
- Leadership. If self-love is difficult for you, then persevering on this journey will help you develop the ability to love when it’s difficult, which is your one-way ticket to compassionate leadership and helping others.
- Patience. Self-judgment tries to convince you that if you just fix that one last thing, you can earn your own approval. Self-love will teach you to accept self-discovery as a lifetime journey. Like this, you will not only overcome chronic perfectionism, but you will also develop deep, resilient patience for the process of change and the way of life.
Just imagine how different your life could be if you took the time to cultivate a better relationship with yourself. Why not begin today?