November 30 2017
Self-love is important to living well. It influences who you pick as friends or a partner, the image you project at work, and how you cope with daily issues. We all get down on ourselves. We go on sometimes day after day and it just feels like a big grey blur, isolating and dull. It is normal to feel a bit stressed or depressed or even a bit self-deprecating when we don’t look out for ourselves. It’s super easy to get pulled into a downward spiral of depression and anxiety when you don’t take the time to take care of yourself (probably because you are putting a lot of other people’s needs before your own). Harsh self-criticism activates our fight or flight reactions and elevates stress hormones such as cortisol in our bloodstream. When this happens, it is hard to be really productive or stay in a healthy mind frame. When this happens, it becomes very easy to let your negative emotions completely consume you, or get projected onto someone else and neither is good. This is why self-love is important. It is crucial to actually take the time to take care of and appreciate yourself.
Self-love was first promoted in the early years of the Hippie era. Peace and love started being promoted after many people bore witness to the soul-crushing outcomes of post WWII soldiers and continuing to have troops get sent off to fight in Vietnam. Seeing this cycle of war and trauma and overall negativity made people start to promote the ideals of peace and love to help generate more positivity both environmentally and socially. Nowadays we are encouraged to look at the details of our own lives and take better care of ourselves, not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well, and there are fantastic results. Spending some time actually caring about your needs helps to alleviate physical, mental and emotional pain as well as improve your concentration and sleep. It has been proven that a little self-compassion can help boost your self-esteem which in turn will improve your mental health which, through a domino effect can improve many things in your body! What are some ways to practice self-love? There are actually many. It is important to remain mindful of yourself and your surroundings; people who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel and want. They are mindful of whom they are and act on this knowledge, rather than on what others want for them. They do not get caught up in what other people’s expectations of them are but rather they try to cultivate a healthier, happier version of themselves. It is also important to set boundaries in life. You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or anything that makes you feel bad about yourself. Taking care of your physical health is another very important aspect of self-love. Do not push yourself past your physical limits if you know it is only going to end badly. It is also important to keep active and to maintain a healthy functioning body as best as you can. This can be done by taking any supplements or medicine you know you may need to find healthy outlets to release stress such as exercise. The biggest part of self-love is to be patient and forgiving with yourself. Our harshest critics are ourselves; it is so easy to get caught up in the idea that nothing we ever do is good enough. We feel we always need to reach higher, do better, score bigger when we really should also take a time to pause and look at what we have accomplished so far and be happy with who we are and what we are capable of.