It’s easy to react to any aphorisms about loving yourself with some level of scepticism. But the concept of self-love is not necessarily about narcissism or even an exercise in self-indulgence. Loving yourself is about self-acceptance and confidence in your own worth. It’s less about thinking you’re better than everyone else in every aspect of life, but more about learning to cut yourself some slack — at least every now and then. Not everyone finds it easy to like who they are and, more often than not, it’s usually what’s holding them back the most. So here are but a few reasons why you should love yourself and how you can do it, too.
Positive Thinking Helps With Recovery From Stress
When you love yourself, you learn to see yourself with much more optimism, which can be more powerful than you realise. Studies indicate that optimists tend to be much healthier — both physically and mentally — than their pessimistic counterparts. Optimists are the sort of people who don’t blame themselves for every little thing that goes wrong and acknowledge external factors behind their failures that they can’t control. Because of that, they’re not quite as immobilised by their own fear. They’re often also more likely to succeed as they are usually far less afraid of trying again. Furthermore, by placing less pressure on themselves and focusing on trying again, they can bounce back that much more quickly from failure and stress.
On the other hand, pessimists are often extremely frightened of the worst that could happen. As such, there are fewer chances for them to succeed since they are usually too afraid to even try in the first place. Pessimists also tend to direct any and all blame purely on themselves whenever things go wrong. This makes them far more likely to suffer from prolonged stress, which can have dire consequences on their health. Frequently falling ill? Check. Pimple scars caused by stress? Double check. Poorer relationships with others, lower productivity at work, and poorer mental health? Undoubtedly.
That’s why it’s so important for us to change the way we perceive ourselves first. At the end of the day, we are architects of our own success and how we respond to failures is a major part of that. Consider all the great inventors of the world. How many times do you think most of them failed before finally meeting with success?
Everyone Makes Mistakes
Humans are such intensely imperfect creatures. Even the most seemingly perfect people in the world have made mistakes one way or another — you probably just didn’t know. Their secret is to be able to forgive themselves and do something about it, rather than ruminate on something forever. As cliché as it sounds, life is way too short for anyone to dwell on the past. If it’s something that you might be able to fix, be the bigger person and apologise, especially if you know that your actions hurt someone.
Perhaps you can’t help but replay an argument you’ve recently had with a good friend in your head lately. You’ve been berating yourself about the poor way you handled it and wish you could build a time machine that works. But you can’t reverse time, and that mistake has already been made. Instead, consider letting go of your pride and talk to that friend you regret arguing with. If they’re not willing to accept your olive branch, then there’s really nothing else that you can do about it — and that’s okay. Nobody is obliged to maintain every friendship for the rest of their lives; there are no legally binding contracts here. At the same time, forgive yourself anyway. You know that you’ve shown the first step towards bettering yourself when you acknowledge your own mistakes. Now, you have the rest of your life to try and do better. Plus, when you know how to forgive yourself, you would also know how to extend the same courtesy to others.
Caring About Yourself Helps You Care For Others
Self-acceptance also puts you in a much better position to, not only care for yourself, but also to care for others. When you care enough about yourself to look after your own well-being, you would be more likely to be present for and able to support those around you. On top of that, think about how the way you perceive yourself affects your loved ones. How would they feel if they knew how poorly you think of yourself? Alternatively, how would you feel if the people you love think poorly of themselves? That they can’t see how wonderful they are, and how important they are to you? Devastating, right? Surely they must know how much you value their existence — and it’s the same with you. Try being more honest with your loved ones about how you feel. Perhaps you would then be better able to see your own worth that way.