Self-love is something that has been floating around on the internet for awhile now, but why is it so important? According to Psychology Today, self-love, or the relationship you have with yourself, dictates how you show up in all the relationships in your life. Our relationship with ourselves, and the way we treat ourselves, can set the tone for how we treat others. How we view self-love can also influence the way we show up for others.
The most important things needed to create a foundation for strong relationships involve the following aspects. They include respect, compassion, good communication, trust, and finally, acceptance. The same goes for our relationship with ourselves. The stronger our relationship is with ourselves, the more we will show up in the exact same way for other relationships. For instance, we’ll start to communicate our needs more clearly to others. We will also begin to manage those same relationships in order to create more satisfying results. We’ll know what we want not only from ourselves, but also from others.
Now the exact opposite is true, too, if we do not have a great relationship with ourselves. This is when feelings of self-doubt, coupled with low self-esteem, can be compounded to make us feel like we are less than, resulting in a low self-worth. And those feelings can seep into our other relationships. Felling this way usually stems from being out of alignment with yourself. How do we remedy this? Well, the best, most direct way is to reconnect with who we really are, at our core. We can do this by finding ways to improve our relationship with ourselves, and silence the inner critic in us. This is what can create a mental resistance within us that will keep us from getting to our goal. Thankfully, experts have done research on this, and we have included the top five ways to help us reconnect with ourselves.
1. Start where we feel drained
Where are the areas in our lives that are suffering? Where do you need more attention? Experts say that evaluating these areas can provide great insight on how to identify the changes we may need to make in our lives, the boundaries we may need to set with people in our lives, and how we, ourselves, want to show up in our own lives.
According to the article, “a helpful place to start is to consider the areas of your life where you are feeling drained. Perhaps you are answering phone calls long after you’ve left work or you notice you are feeling agitated every time you’re around a particular family member because of the comments they make about your children. When you start evaluating how you can honor your needs and begin to take action in these areas, you start to build trust with yourself and increase your self-compassion.”
2. Compassion is the best medicine, especially when it comes to ourselves
Self-love stems from self-compassion. That means that we need to limit the negative thoughts we have about ourselves and replace them with understanding and empathy.
“Research has demonstrated that self-compassion can help combat your inner critic and improve your relationship with yourself. There are many exercises which can help build self-compassion. A simple way to start practicing is next time you’re being critical of yourself, acknowledge that you are experiencing suffering in the present moment and rather than try to shame yourself or bottle it up, ask yourself what you need in that moment and reflect about ways you can show yourself compassion. If you have a loud inner critic and feel stuck, it can help to imagine what you would say to a friend in a similar situation, then apply those same statements to yourself.”
3. Actually practice self-care, but in a meaningful way
“When implemented thoughtfully, self-care can be an antidote to feeling disconnected from yourself. Self-care involves intentionally considering how you can take care of yourself and recharge before you’re running on empty. It’s a process that helps you feel connected to yourself and replenishes you. Self-care can include relaxing activities or it can include activities that protect your energy such as not responding to work emails after a certain hour or saying no to additional projects or requests for your time. Self-care also includes getting adequate rest, eating nourishing foods, and moving your body regularly.”
4. Make a commitment to yourself every single day
“Imagine that you have a friend who frequently cancels at the last minute or doesn’t show up for plans you made together. It is likely that you would start to lose trust in that friend over time. The same thing happens when you don’t nurture the relationship you have with yourself. Rather than overwhelm yourself with trying to establish several new habits at the same time, pick one that is realistic for your schedule and initially no more than 10-20 minutes per day. Some examples are practicing a daily meditation for 5 minutes, journaling for 10 minutes, going for a 5-minute walk, or reading a book you enjoy for 10 minutes. This process can help you build trust with yourself and improve how you relate with yourself over time.”
5. Silence negative self-talk through mindful meditation
“Meditation can help to change the relationship you have with your thoughts, which can assist in reducing the impact of negative self-talk if practiced regularly. The positive effects of meditation can also improve your relationship with yourself and with others. Research has shown that meditation can help increase your self-compassion as well as your compassion for others. There are meditations designed to improve your relationship with yourself and others, such as the Loving-Kindness Meditation and the Self-Compassion Break.”
Start with a couple of these, or try them one at a time. But however we decide to help heal our relationship with ourselves, we need to be consistent. Then, hopefully, we’ll start to see our relationship with ourselves change everything. From our outlook on life, to our relationships with others, everything we see is through the lens of how we see ourselves. Good luck and for more reading, please visit Psychology Today.