Practicing self-love often feels like a complex pursuit. Many people don’t know how to practice self-love, or they don’t know how to properly love themselves.
Self-care and self-love practices are not selfish or narcissistic. You’re a better version of yourself when you take good care of yourself and treat yourself well. You’ll be kinder to yourself and others when you practice self-love daily.
As human beings, we’re often much more predisposed to show love and compassion to others than we are to turn the feeling inwards, and loving ourselves. Society often prompts us to hold ourselves to unreasonable standards. We compare ourselves constantly to others, without a full understanding of their lives, and frequently put our own needs last on our list of priorities.
However, practicing self-love is an important part of self-care. It’s about maintaining a high regard for your own emotional and physical well-being, as well as accepting yourself for who you truly are. The more you engage in the practice of self-love, the more you’ll begin to see a range of benefits, from greater happiness and better emotional resilience, to improved relationships.
Here’s what happens when you practice self-love daily:
1. Better Emotional Resilience and Reduced Stress
An important part of self-love is being able to recognize and respect your own emotional needs. When you love yourself, you can more easily determine when you’re approaching feelings of burnout and overwhelm, and take steps to reduce your stress.
Without self-love, it’s difficult to give yourself a break, even when you’re struggling. You may believe doing something just for you is selfish or unfair, which pushes you into greater discomfort. Alternatively, when you practice self-love consistently, you can potentially ward off the symptoms of stress, as well as reduced depression and anxiety. Research shows self-compassion helps to minimize the risk for emotional and mental health issues.
Self-love also allows us to be compassionate towards ourselves when we’re not feeling our best. Rather than slipping into despair or blaming ourselves for sadness, stress, and frustration, you can look for ways to look after yourself when you need it most. This builds your emotional resilience, and helps to prepare you for everyday challenges.
2. Healthier Lifestyle Habits
When you’re practicing self-love, you’re committing to accept yourself for who you are – flaws and all. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t decide to improve upon bad habits you’re unhappy with. People who practice self-love can recognize aspects of their life or personality they want to change, without harsh judgment, and begin making positive changes.
Often, when we have a habit or behavior we’re unhappy with, we judge ourselves relentlessly for what we do, which can make it harder to succeed in our lives. The harsher we are towards ourselves, the more we struggle to believe we can change. One study found when people were more compassionate towards themselves, they were more motivated to quit smoking.
Self-love can definitely help you find the inner strength to quit bad habits such as smoking, and develop healthier habits.
3. Self-Improvement and Growth
Self-love teaches us that our goals and dreams deserve to be a priority in our lives, but it also ensures we don’t berate ourselves whenever we make mistakes. Rather than pushing us towards our target with a fear of failure, self-love nurtures and motivates us into achieving what we want in life.
When you practice self-love daily, you’ll grow as a person, improve yourself, and you’ll pursue your goals with more gusto.
4. Healthier Relationships
Much of the conflict in relationships comes from insecurities and a lack of self-love. Anger is often a mask for shame, and many people need therapy to go from being ashamed of themselves, to loving themselves.
A common idea among self-love proponents is that it’s difficult to love others completely before you love yourself. While this might be an exaggerated idea, it’s fair to say loving yourself can improve your relationship with others. When you already appreciate yourself, understand your worth, and see your value, you’re less reliant on others to preserve your mental health.
Practicing self-love daily also makes it easier to recognize and set healthy boundaries in your relationship. You can decide what you do and don’t want from your relationships with other people, and open yourself up to the kind of love you deserve.
It requires a lot of self-love to uphold healthy boundaries. People who don’t love themselves are more likely to accept mistreatment in relationships, and put up with less than they deserve.
Self-love also helps us to increase our baseline sense of compassion. When we’re more loving towards ourselves, we can also recognize the needs of others more clearly. Self-love can assist with developing emotional intelligence, so you can acknowledge the feelings of others, and empathize with the people around you, leading to better relationships.
Check out these reasons why emotional intelligence in relationships is crucial.
5. Improved Productivity
A lack of self-compassion can be a major productivity killer. When we don’t feel good about ourselves, who we are, and our abilities, we often get into the habit of telling ourselves we can’t accomplish our goals. We believe we’re not good enough to achieve the outcomes we want in life, which can prevent us from trying anything in the first place.
In some cases, you may attempt to motivate yourself to achieve your goals by threatening yourself with the possible outcomes of procrastination. For instance, you may tell yourself if you don’t get your promotion at work, you’re “never going to be happy”. However, these threats aren’t as motivational as they might seem, as they put you under significant pressure to succeed.
Alternatively, showing yourself compassion is an excellent way to improve productivity. It allows you to determine when you need to change strategies to get what you want, and gives you the freedom to make mistakes. Self-compassion also ensures you can approach each failure as a learning opportunity, rather than allowing it to drive you off-track.
6. Greater Happiness and Confidence
Accepting yourself, caring for your needs, and understanding your limitations in life can lead to significant improvements in happiness and satisfaction. When you avoid constantly over-analyzing your flaws, and focus on being grateful for what you have in life, it’s easier to be happy.
Self-love also gives us the power to prioritize our own wants and needs. Rather than putting your own dreams behind the needs of everyone else’s, you can start to think about what you really want to become the best version of yourself.
What’s more, self-love helps to significantly improve your self-esteem and confidence. Studies show greater self-esteem generally leads to a happier life. If you’re confident in yourself and your abilities, you’re more likely to take advantage of opportunities in life which move you towards your goals.
Confidence and self-esteem can also prevent us from taking self-sabotaging actions based on the belief we don’t “deserve” happiness.Having a strong sense of self and knowing exactly who you are can help you develop more self-love. DNA insights can help you get to know yourself better. Discover who you are, and love every part of you. With the CircleDNA premium at-home DNA test, you can discover your genetic success traits, genetic behavior traits, your ancestry, and more.
- The Role of Self-Compassion in Buffering Symptoms of Depression in the General Population (Annett Körner, Adina Coroiu, 1 Laura Copeland, Carlos Gomez-Garibello, Cornelia Albani, Markus Zenger & Elmar Brähler) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4591980/
- Give Yourself a Break: The Power of Self-Compassion (Serena Chen) https://hbr.org/2018/09/give-yourself-a-break-the-power-of-self-compassion
- Mindfulness-Based Smoking Cessation Enhanced With Mobile Technology (iQuit Mindfully): Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial (Claire Adams Spears, PhD, Lorien C Abroms, ScD, Carol R Glass, PhD, Donald Hedeker, PhD, Michael P Eriksen, ScD et. al) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6613894/
- The Role of Self-Compassion in Buffering Symptoms of Depression in the General Population (Annett Körner, Adina Coroiu, Laura Copeland, Carlos Gomez-Garibello, Cornelia Albani, Markus Zenger & Elmar Brähler) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4591980/