It’s a very common cliche, but it happens to be true. It is very hard to healthily love others when you do not love yourself. Self-love comes from deep within yourself. It is not something that can be gained overnight, but with small steps you can take each day. There are a plethora of things that go into genuine self-love. I want to focus on the ones that I think are the most important—the stepping stones, if you will.
For starters, take some time to sit down with yourself and figure out “why?”. What has happened in your life that has led you to feel this way towards yourself. Coming to terms with why you are feeling this way is always the first step to healing. Once you have recognized that, you can then begin your process.
According to Noam Lightstone, the 3 main things you need to have a sense of self-love are feeling that you are “Safe and secure, loved and connected to others, and valued for who you are and what you contribute to society”. When you feel like you do not have a purpose and are not doing anything for the world around you it can cause you to resent yourself. I know this because for a long time I was in this position. Having support to get you out of this dark place is essential, but in the end, only you can get yourself there.
The Importance of Self-Care
If you are not taking care of yourself daily, you’re not loving yourself. Self-Care looks different for everyone, but there are basic things that everyone should follow. The first major thing is sleep. Lack of sleep is one of the main causes of stress. Your body needs sleep to gain energy and for you to stay healthy. Make sure you get at least 7 hours a night.
Ever heard the saying you are what you eat? Well, it proves true in many ways. Even if you aren’t gaining weight from your diet you can still be unhealthy on the inside. Loading up on carbs and sugar every day can cause you to feel fatigued, contribute to anxiety, and even add to your stress. In general, the cleaner your diet is, the better you feel. I suggest making sure you have at least two servings of fruits and two servings of vegetables a day. Swap that soda for seltzer and see the difference.
The last few things I want to stress the importance of are:
- Setting boundaries with yourself and others
- Complimenting yourself
- Forgiving yourself for things you can’t seem to let go of
- Treat yourself with respect
- Spend time with people who bring you up, not down
Hopefully, all these tools will help you or someone you know reaches their full loving potential. Sometimes we lose our way and think all is lost, but it is not. We just need the tools to get back to a place of love and happiness. Once we get there we can open our arms to receiving love from others. We can not truly be good for someone until we can meet all our emotional needs ourselves.