The concept of loving yourself can feel pretty foreign to most of us. It can seem so far-fetched to think about loving yourself. We often respond with confusion, doubt, and even cynicism to the concept of self-love.
When I offer this tool to my clients, they often look at me as if I have two heads.
Why is that?
In our society, there are many misconceptions and myths about self-love that attempt to classify it as a negative and self-indulgent practice. These misconceptions make it difficult to consider self-love as a practice we can not only embrace but that can also bring us many benefits.
Misconceptions About Self-Love
It’s important to understand the common obstacles to being able to love ourselves and experience the benefits it has to offer.
Loving yourself can be looked at as selfish, self-centered, egotistical and even vain. As if loving yourself means you only love yourself. It’s not that you’re only thinking of or loving yourself. It’s that you love and regard yourself as important, not more important, than others.
It Means You Stop Caring For Others
Loving yourself does not mean you stop caring for others. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, loving yourself means you care for yourself and others. Loving yourself helps you love more deeply since you are now part of the love equation. It is possible to love others and love yourself.
Our culture tells us that self-sacrifice and only thinking of others means you’re “good” and “strong”. Selflessness has become a badge of honor we are expected to wear no matter how much it hurts us. In the same breath, it also tells us that thinking about and loving ourselves is weak and bad.
If you love yourself you think you’re better than others. Wrong. If you love yourself you think of yourself as equal to others. Just as important. Just as valuable.
Is it any wonder that we struggle with loving ourselves when the messages we receive are that it’s “bad” to do it and how dare we??
What is self-love?
Self-love is an act of humanity. It is about valuing yourself and your life enough as a human being to offer yourself the love, kindness and respect you would give to someone else.. Self-love gives us permission to consider ourselves, to see, acknowledge and witness our own humanness. It gives us permission to put ourselves first and to care for ourselves with gentleness and grace.
By loving yourself, you connect with yourself more deeply, learn to trust yourself more, and stay more connected to your values and what’s important to you. Through this process, you build confidence and are able to care for yourself, set stronger boundaries around your well-being, and create the life you want to lead.
Benefits of Self-Love
Improved mental and physical health
One of the things that stands in our way the most is our negative self-talk. The way in which we beat ourselves up and put ourselves down for simply being a human. When our inner saboteur is roaring, it takes away our power and confidence. We shrink down. We stop creating. We cease moving forward. Additionally, our bodies are not meant to exist in survival mode so our physical body can begin to suffer too.
Self-love does the opposite. It energizes us. It helps us move through our humanity with grace, and continue moving forward. It decreases negative emotions and also keeps our body calm and regulated. When our body can exist in calmness vs. survival mode, it greatly benefits our mental and physical health.
Less stress. More ease.
Being hard on ourselves creates more stress and keeps us stuck because we are basically attacking ourselves. And what does our body do when it experiences “threat”? It goes into survival mode releasing adrenaline and cortisol as if you were running from a tiger. This is stressful on the body and doesn’t help you move forward! In fact, this is exactly how we get stuck!
Self-love offers us the grace to move through life with more ease and patience. Our body experiences love and caring, instead of threat and attack. This decreases stress significantly and which makes life a little bit easier to navigate.
Feeling less alone
Through the power of self-love and the deeper sense of self-connection it brings, you feel more held and less alone. You’ve got you!
When you are hard on yourself, it’s like abandoning yourself in your darkest hour, when you need the most support. Instead, self-love gives you an opportunity to show up for yourself rather than turning your back.
In short, self-love helps you experience increased personal and professional success. Life can be experienced with more enjoyment
WILD Woman Success Tip:
Create an altar for you. A place where you bring yourself offerings, praise and connect to yourself, to all the parts of you that need love and attention. Honoring yourself in this way will benefit you in many ways and bring you closer to leading the life you most desire.
Myriam Martinez is a Women's Mid-Life Strategist, Art Therapist , and stick figure artist based out of Northern California. She gently guides women to embrace their Woman-ity© and love themselves fiercely through the power of the creative process. Her calling in this life is to teach women the power and importance of putting themselves first, loving themselves fiercely, and tapping into their creativity in order to bring more happiness, success, and ease into their lives.
To learn more about Myriam click here: https://www.myriammartinezcoaching.com/