Self-love is an important aspect of your welfare. In appreciating oneself, one can find happiness. Accepting ourselves for who we are can open up inner peace and happiness
For many people, the idea of loving oneself can be seen as an arrogant and selfish act. All too often, we put others before ourselves and spend too much time trying to please others.
In our daily lives, most of us put ourselves under huge pressure to excel and to do everything to perfection every time. Our inner minds are constantly putting ourselves down when we fail to achieve this perfectionism and this self-criticism can lead to depression, anxiety, and worse. Constant perfectionism can lead to both emotional and physical ailments.
Self-love, or self-kindness, involves showing understanding towards ourselves when we fail or feel inadequate. If you’re not sure how you’re connected to yourself, start by listening to the way that your inner voice talks to you. Do you insult yourself or talk in negative language when you make a mistake?
Learning to tune into yourself, and beginning to love yourself can help unlock inner calm and a better quality of life. Here are a few ways that you can achieve that.
Setting boundaries helps to improve your life. Saying no to work, activities or anything that detracts from you emotionally or physically, doesn’t mean that you are a bad person. Sometimes the feeling that you have to help everyone all the time comes from deep-rooted causes. Try and find out what these are and let them go.
Know your value. It isn’t reflected in how much you do for other people. Your problems don’t define who you are as a person either. Ask yourself whether saying yes to a demand is worth it.
Be direct if your answer is no. You don’t need to lie, apologise or come up with a load of excuses. You are entitled to say no.
You’ll feel a lot better when you take time to nourish yourself, whether that’s physically or emotionally. Eating properly, getting enough sleep, exercising – these are all things that you should put first. You can’t help others if you are neglecting yourself.
Self-care isn’t a selfish act. Find out what works for you and make the time them, whether it’s a weekly catch up with family or even a simple walk in the outdoors. Be aware of what you are doing, and how it’s making you feel.
Get into the habit of practising self-care. You’ll feel less anxious, have improved moods – and you’ll also feel more in control of your life.
There will be people in your life who suck the energy out of you. Often referred to as ‘energy vampires’, they demand your time and attention, often to the detriment of your own needs.
The one way to protect yourself from these people is to get them out of your life. Surround yourself with people who make you happy, people who value you and respect you. Life is too short to spend trying to fix other people’s problems at the expense of your own.
By cutting these people out of your life, you will find your life has less negative drama, freeing up your mind and time to actually start enjoying life.
What you need – not what you want
In this age of information overload, we’re often told what we should want from life. A big house, a nice car, the perfect body.
Continually striving for all of these can be exhausting, soul-destroying, and ultimately futile. Even if we do get those things, there are still things that we’re going to want.
Focus instead on the things that you need. Wanting things can lead us to make impulsive decisions, often without us thinking of its consequences.
There are of course, our basic needs that have to be met – food, water, clothing, shelter and so on. Then there are the slightly less necessary needs. The things you need to be a responsible adult. Maybe some transport or a computer so that you can work.
Everything else is a want. The soft furnishings, the latest TV. Figure out what’s important to you and why and then spend less time and money on the wants and more time and money on your needs.
Putting yourself under pressure can help you achieve some wonderful things in life. But when it becomes persistent and all-consuming, it can lead to burnout.
Most of us are pretty hard on ourselves, especially when we make mistakes. What’s important to remember is we are human – we do make mistakes. Everyone does. It’s how we learn.
Punishing yourself, either physically or emotionally only serves to make you feel worse. Learn to forgive yourself and remember that there are no failures in life – just opportunities to move on and learn.
The concept of mindfulness has really taken off in the last few years – and with very good reason. Becoming mindful of who we are and what we are doing on a minute-by-minute basis helps us become a better person. This is because we are able to reflect in real-time about our decisions, our behaviour and our interactions with other people.
Being aware of yourself also helps you enjoy those moments in life for what they are.
Live with acceptance
Too often in life, we push ourselves to and beyond our limits in the pursuit of better things. Under the pressure, our flaws and faults are often exposed, adding to our negative views of ourselves.
Coming to accept ourselves – flaws and faults included – makes us realise that perhaps we’re not the bad person we think we are. Everyone has faults because that is the nature of humanity. Accepting these, and learning to live with these will empower you to move forward without constraint.
Live with purpose
Some measure their life’s success in material things, their achieved status or the power they’ve gained. Yet even for these people, there is often something missing in life – purpose.
Making a difference – leaving the world a better place than when you found it – can help satisfy the soul. How we spend our day is how we spend our lives and living your day with a sense of purpose can give you inner peace.
If you have a passion, follow it. Make time for it, especially if you find yourself washed along by the daily grind every day of your life. If these passions include beliefs and values, live by them. Let yourself be guided by what you deem important, not others.
Having a purpose gives us the strength to get out of bed every day and to carry on. Ask yourself how you want to be remembered and be guided by your answers.
Patric Morgan is an award-winning writer and publisher