Do you love yourself?
It sounds like a simple question, but it can be very challenging to answer truthfully. “Love” is one of the most powerful and emotionally-charged words in the English language. So it may not be so surprising after all that, for many of my clients, engaging with the concept of self-love is difficult, or even downright scary.
Self-love has become a hot topic in the world of success and productivity. From self-help gurus to productivity experts, everyone seems to agree that loving yourself is the key to success.
But why is that the case, and what actionable steps can you take to apply self-love in your own journey of professional and personal growth?
In today’s article, I will dive into these questions further by exploring what it means to love yourself, why it’s so important for personal or professional success, and how you can start loving yourself more today.
What Does it Mean to Love Yourself?
It’s important to understand that loving yourself is not the same thing as being selfish, narcissistic, or self-involved, nor does it preclude realistic self-evaluation or the importance of holding yourself accountable and learning from your mistakes.
Rather, healthy self-love stems from the practiced ability to accept, respect, understand, and care for ourselves in the same way that we would another person that we loved in a healthy way.
Loving yourself means that you care about and value yourself as a person, including your strengths, weaknesses, goals, dreams, and anxieties. It also means allowing yourself to be imperfect and human, and forgiving yourself if you fall short. Your inherent value as a person is a constant — it doesn’t rise or fall with every success or failure.
When you love yourself, you are able to recognize and honor your internal self-worth, regardless of what is happening in your external world.
Lastly, self-love also involves self-awareness and self-care. Through daily practices like meditation and self-reflection, you can gain perspective on yourself, hone your ability to recognize where your thoughts and feelings are coming from, and where they are leading you, and become more attuned to your own emotional, intellectual, and interpersonal needs.
How Does Self-Love Lead to Success?
Loving yourself is about more than just internal wellbeing. It can have real, external benefits, as well. Not least among them: Self-love can help you be more successful at whatever goals you pursue.
It’s often much easier to be hard on ourselves, to hold ourselves to a higher standard than we do others. But the reality is that being hard on yourself can actually be counter-productive to success. It trains you to focus on your flaws, which decreases your confidence and motivation, increases your fear of failure, and leads to a self-perpetuating cycle of negative reinforcement.
On the other hand, practicing self-love opens up the potential to approach decision-making, work, and professional and personal relationships from a place of emotional stability and psychological wellness. Furthermore, it makes it easier to bounce back from a failure and learn from your mistakes in a constructive way.
We’ve all heard The Golden Rule: Treat others as you’d want to be treated. Self-love takes it one step further: Treat yourself the way you treat others (assuming, of course, you treat others well — which you should).
When we give ourselves space for downtime and self-care, it empowers us to tackle our goals with more energy, enthusiasm, intuition, focus, and emotional intelligence.
All of this can translate directly into more successful outcomes.
How Do You Achieve Self-Love?
Loving yourself consistently takes consistent work, of course — just like any good external relationship. No successful long-term relationship, whether personal or professional, ever happened by magic. From marriage to business partnership, making it work takes effort.
Building a strong relationship with yourself is much the same. Just as you’d make sure to maintain strong lines of communication with an external partner, you’ll have to take the time to regularly check in with your own physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Just as a healthy external relationship benefits when you are dependable, flexible, realistic, supportive, and authentic with the other person, so too does your relationship with yourself benefit when you show up internally in all the same ways.
Can loving yourself feel like pulling teeth sometimes? Absolutely. It might feel like an uphill battle, but as with any other skill, you’ll get better at it the more you do it.
In a practical, actionable sense, self-love begins with self-awareness and self-acceptance. Start by recognizing that you are worthy of self-love. Repeat that to yourself, over and over — even if you don’t always believe it, make it your mantra.
Focus on getting to know yourself better. Journaling and therapy can be useful tools to supercharge this process, but even simply sitting quietly and engaging with your thoughts and feelings is a good step.
This process can be uncomfortable, as many of us are conditioned to avoid feelings of vulnerability. That’s okay; lean into the discomfort. Recognize it but resist the urge to reject or suppress it. Instead, work to understand and process your negative feelings.
On the physical side of things, you may be surprised by just how far a few healthy habits can go. Getting enough sleep, exercising, lowering stress, taking time to rest and recharge, and giving your body proper nutrition can enable you to be more productive and do better work. After all, the better you feel, the better you can pursue your goals.
Creating success on the outside begins on the inside. I hope this helps, but if you still feel stuck, you may want to consider more direct coaching.
I’m here, and I’d love to work with you. Get in touch to schedule a meeting.