To love others you must love yourself

Leo Buscaglia

Loving yourself

Many of us have had those relationships where we cared about someone dearly, but they simply didn’t believe it.  They didn’t believe it because they didn’t feel like that about themselves.   I know because I was in that place too.   When you can’t say “I love you” to yourself.  You do not believe someone when they tell you those words either.   The reverse is the same.  You can’t truly feel like that about someone until you know what it feels like.  You can only know what it feels like when you love yourself

How can you love someone when you don’t know what it feels like?  You might want someone to love you, to replace that feeling missing in you.  It’s possible you need to have someone care for you in various ways.  You may want intimacy with someone.  Wanting and needing someone is not loving someone.  Until you know what it feels like, you will look back and realise to love others you must do so for yourself first.  

Learning to care for yourself

In my article, I set out some simple techniques that can instil the caring and attention you need in yourself and for yourself over time.  This involves mirror work,  healing and learning to use our emotions to feel better about ourselves.  There are also some other practices which can help you to become more intimate with yourself and care more internally.   These consist of:

  • Accepting oneself
  • Not judging self
  • forgiving self

If you come from a place where you don’t feel cared about, it can take years to reinstall the caring part of you.  You may need to seek some expert advice.   However, once you have created that kind, caring space inside of you, you cannot help but extend that to others.  It is the beginning of being able to love yourself and others.  

How To Love Yourself More To Love Others Better

Here are 10 ways you can love yourself more – 

1. Practice Self-Compassion

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a good friend. Recognize that nobody is perfect and that everyone makes mistakes. Instead of being overly critical of yourself, learn to accept your flaws and forgive yourself. Engaging in self-compassion can involve simple acts like speaking to yourself kindly, acknowledging your efforts, and understanding that imperfections are part of the human experience. It’s also about recognizing that personal growth is a journey and being patient with yourself along the way. Regularly practising self-compassion can profoundly impact your self-love, as it nurtures a more accepting and loving relationship with yourself.

2. Set Healthy Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries is crucial for self-love. It involves understanding and communicating your needs, limits, and preferences clearly to others. This practice respects your own space and well-being, and it’s an affirmation of your self-worth. Boundaries can be physical, emotional, or mental, and they help in maintaining a balanced life. It’s important to say ‘no’ when something doesn’t align with your values or drains your energy. Remember, setting boundaries is not selfish; it’s a form of self-respect. By doing this, you teach others how to treat you and maintain relationships that are healthy and mutually respectful.

3. Cultivate a Positive Self-Dialogue

The way you talk to yourself significantly influences your self-esteem and self-love. Cultivating a positive self-dialogue involves being mindful of your inner voice and reframing negative thoughts. When you catch yourself being self-critical, pause and replace the criticism with something more compassionate and encouraging. Celebrate your strengths and accomplishments, no matter how small. Encourage yourself through challenges and reassure yourself during difficult times. Positive self-talk boosts confidence, reduces stress, and enhances your overall mental wellbeing, leading to a deeper sense of self-love.

4. Engage in Activities You Enjoy

Engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfilment is a wonderful way to cultivate self-love. Whether it’s a hobby, exercise, reading, or spending time in nature, doing things you love can significantly boost your mood and self-esteem. These activities provide an opportunity to connect with yourself and appreciate your unique interests and talents. They also serve as a reminder that you deserve to allocate time to things that make you happy. Regularly scheduling time for enjoyable activities is a form of self-care and an important aspect of loving yourself.

5. Practice Gratitude

Practising gratitude can profoundly affect how you feel about yourself. Start by acknowledging the good in your life, including your strengths and achievements. Keeping a gratitude journal where you write down things you’re grateful for each day can shift your focus from what you lack to what you have. This practice fosters a positive mindset and helps in appreciating the value you bring to the world. Gratitude not only improves your mood but also enhances your self-worth, reminding you that you are enough just as you are.

6. Take Care of Your Physical Health

Taking care of your physical health is a fundamental act of self-love. This includes regular exercise, eating nutritious food, getting adequate sleep, and attending to your medical needs. Physical health and mental well-being are closely linked; when you feel good physically, it positively impacts your mental state. Exercise, for instance, releases endorphins which improve mood and reduce stress. Prioritizing your physical health is a message to yourself that you value and respect your body and well-being.

7. Seek Personal Growth

Personal growth is about striving to become the best version of yourself. This involves setting personal goals, learning new skills, and stepping out of your comfort zone. Engaging in self-improvement activities shows a commitment to yourself and your future. It’s about acknowledging that while you are worthy as you are, you also have the potential to grow and evolve. Personal growth can be achieved through reading, courses, therapy, or new experiences. It enhances self-awareness and self-esteem, deepening your love and respect for yourself.

8. Reflect and Meditate

Reflection and meditation can be powerful tools in fostering self-love. Take time to reflect on your life, your actions, and your choices. Meditation, in particular, helps in understanding your thoughts and emotions, leading to greater self-awareness. It allows you to connect with your inner self and find peace within. Mindfulness meditation encourages you to live in the present moment and reduces negative self-judgment. Regular practice can create a calm, compassionate space for self-reflection, enhancing your relationship with yourself.

9. Surround Yourself with Positive Relationships

The company you keep can significantly influence your feelings about yourself. Surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people can boost your self-esteem and reinforce your self-worth. Seek relationships that uplift and encourage you, and distance yourself from toxic or negative influences. Positive relationships provide a mirror of your best qualities and help you see yourself in a better light. They also offer support and understanding, which are essential for cultivating self-love.

10. Celebrate Your Uniqueness

Embracing and celebrating your uniqueness is a key aspect of self-love. Recognize and appreciate the qualities that make you different. This can involve exploring your values, embracing your quirks, and expressing yourself authentically. Remember that you don’t have to fit into a mould or follow the crowd to be worthy of love and respect. Celebrating your uniqueness involves accepting yourself fully, including your strengths and weaknesses, and understanding that your individuality is what makes you special.

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