Caring and generous people tend to show love and affection towards others. While it is valuable to display feelings of love to friends, relatives, and even strangers in need, self-love becomes an important trait to embrace.
Not everyone has a clear idea of what self-love entails, though. Some may feel the process might appear self-centred. Others may think self-love is a ‘feel-good’ pop psychology approach to the self that lacks depth. In truth, displays of caring attitudes towards oneself come with many potentially positive benefits. Understanding the importance of self-love may allow a person to cultivate it and reap the rewards.
The benefits of self-love
The art of practising self-love comes with many upsides. Perhaps loving oneself serves as a prerequisite step towards loving others. When a person feels confident and positive about him or herself, the individual may lack ‘hang-ups’ that lead to compensating for low self-esteem. Persons with poor self-esteem and self-images may find their relationships with others suffer. Seeing value and positive traits in oneself could open doors to better interactions with others and developing beneficial and loving relationships. Self-love might lead someone to take better care of him or herself.
A depressed, unhappy person might overeat, abuse drugs or alcohol, or otherwise not care about health. A person who fails to care about health may suffer from preventable ailments that could upend and limit life. Sometimes, a person’s poor health impacts others. It becomes difficult to care for loved ones when dragged down by personal health issues.
A path to self-love
Embracing self-love may involve taking steps reflecting a significant change. Moving away from things that feel good, such as compulsive shopping or constantly engaging in distractions, might result in a better focus on the self. Setting up a schedule that involves regular exercise, purchasing healthy food, and taking part in positive interactions with others could lead to more upbeat self-perceptions.
Challenges exist as people face setbacks and obstacles in life. Unfortunately, some allow those dark times to drag them down and hang like a stone around their necks. Others work to overcome challenges and grow in some way afterward. Individuals capable of overcoming challenges may find their confidence grows and their self-perceptions improve. Giving in to fatalism won’t likely lead to growth, but working to overcome adversity might.
Conquering a mountain of adversity could lead to feeling better about oneself and being ready to take on any new challenges. A greater appreciation for the self may result, and so might the ability to deal with future challenges. Self-love might lead to a path of self-forgiveness. A person could suffer from guilt and other negative feelings, including self-blame.
Loving oneself may go hand-in-hand with forgiving oneself for past transgressions. Self-forgiveness might cut away bonds that keep someone down. The process of embracing self-love might take some time. Those who struggle with their feelings might need some time to develop new feelings about self-appreciation. Working with a therapist may be necessary. Hopefully, all efforts pay off and yield a newfound love for the self.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.