Loving yourself first doesn’t mean you’re selfish, it means that you can accept your experiences, own your judgements and decisions, care for your physical well-being, nurture your spirit, and embrace the person that you are, imperfections and all.
Self-love sounds like resiliency. Yet, the stresses that fosters resilience in some, triggers depression in others.
If someone says, “Be confident! Stop beating yourself up!! Love and embrace all of your imperfections!!!!” and it makes you want to scream or punch them in their perky mouth… first, it means you’re not placated by fluff, you crave something deeper. If you can’t find a measure of self-love, even after study and practice, it may mean you struggle with mental health.
Maybe it’s far too easy to succumb to the negative messages conveyed by the inside-your-head-critic, self-judgement over actions or inaction, feel pain when over an emotional hurt, or there are circumstances which make you feel unsafe, experience trauma or stress. Some react with thoughts that spiral along the vicious cycle of malaise, to anxiety, into depression. Resilience does not come easy. When you suffer a mental health condition, improving self-love requires hard work through counseling or even psychiatric care.
The evidence for nurturing our self-love goes beyond resilience, a feeling of content, and hope. Lowering stress improves heart health, self-compassion leads to increased productivity, and motivation leads to the likelihood of making and reaching health and life goals.
Even those among us who experience fine mental health benefit from practicing acts of self-love. If you’re not in a loving place right now, you can bluster your skills to endure hardships, adversity, stress. It takes practice. If, after practicing tips like these, you don’t feel like you can make progress, please seek care from a mental health provider.