Self Love

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” ~ Lucille Ball

Self Love

If we want to create a more peaceful and loving world, we must first be able to achieve this ourselves by practicing self love in a healthy and productive way. How can we expect others to love themselves and each other, if we are not able to achieve this on our own?

Before we being practicing ways of raising our self love, we must first recognise and understand the difference between ‘healthy self love’ and ‘unhealthy self love’. Unhealthy self love is excessive, false, and could essentially be described as narcissism. It is shallow, is more concerned with the ego than the heart, and may cause us to look down on or mistreat others.

Healthy self love, therefore, would be the opposite: in moderation, authentic, is deep and meaningful, comes from our heart, and does not cause is to look down on or mistreat others.

To practice self love means to accept your flaws, weaknesses, and idiosyncrasies in addition to your strengths and better traits. In addition, it is also about being disciplined with yourself and holding yourself to high standards of behaviour, such that you become a better person.

If you believe others should deserve compassion, kindness, or love, especially if they have experienced difficult and trying times, then why should it not also apply to you? Everyone needs it, even those who are flawed, broken, or sinners, which is really everyone.

It is like giving yourself a big warm hug, that perhaps was missing at times in your life when you needed it the most.

Below are a list of ways of some of the ways that you can try to begin increasing your self love:

1) Accepting your feelings and emotions.

2) Setting enough time for yourself.

3) Practicing self-care.

4) Getting enough sleep and rest.

5) Using positive affirmations.

6) Forgiving yourself for past mistakes.

7) Giving yourself constructive feedback and criticism with the goal of improving yourself.

8) Knowing your values and living by them.

9) Having self compassion for your suffering. Treat yourself like you would a close friend you were taking care of.

10) Knowing your boundaries and limits.

Self love is both a practice and an end goal. For those who came from an environment that lacked love and nurturing, this process may be more challenging, and for most people it can take time for any noticeable differences in how you genuinely feel about yourself. You may require the help of friends, family, therapists or religious figures to help you in this process, especially if you have come from a difficult, toxic, or traumatic environment. As your self love increases, you should be able to show the same love to others, so it really is a win-win situation. 

Myths of self love

This article gives a pretty good comparison between the myths and truths regarding various the ideas associated with self love.

Myth: Self-love makes you selfish, narcissistic and arrogant.

Truth: Self-love makes you more positive, confident and resilient.

Myth: There is no science behind self-love.

Truth: There are many concepts, especially in positive psychology, that link to self-love.

Myth: Self-love is basically self-care.

Truth: Self-care is one form of self-love.

Myth: Self-love is about showing to the world that you love yourself.

Truth: Self-love is about believing in yourself and treating yourself with love.

“You were always enough, but if you learn to see yourself through a lens that is warped by the projections of wounded souls, then you may arrive at a less fulfilling conclusion.” (Picture)

Random Fact: Some neuroscientists compare the addictiveness and power of love to drugs like cocaine. So when someone is heartbroken, or missing someone they love, the brain reacts in a way that is similar to drug withdrawal.

Self Hate

The opposite of self love, unsurprisingly, would be self-hate. Self-hate is the extreme disliking or hating of oneself. It is generally thought of as a more extreme version of guilt and shame. It is often a significant obstacle for this who struggle to develop and maintaining health amounts of self love—they are too busy hating themselves!

The two most common reasons that would cause someone to hate themself are through repeating the negative messages they have received from others through emotional abuse or bullying. The second cause would be the punishment from their conscience as a result for immoral behaviours and how they have mistreated others through their life.

There are three main methods of tackling and reducing self-hate, as outlined below:

1) Repentance

A common cause of self-hate is the result of the guilt we feel for our less than moral behaviours. Religiously speaking, it is called a sin when we behave in an immoral way that typically harms others, and the price we pay is guilt, shame, or even self-hate. Fortunately, there is a solution to this, and that solution is called repentance. Follow these three steps to practice repentance:

1) Write a list of things you have done that are bothering you the most.

2) Say a genuine and heart-felt apology, either to the people you have hurt, God if you are religious, or just say it to yourself.

3) Plan to change your behaviours, or the overall direction of your life if needed, and try to put the past behind you so you can move forward with a clearer conscience.

2) Forgiveness

Sometimes it is not our behaviours that are the cause of our self hate, but the effects others have had on us, due to emotional abuse or bullying. It could have been a parent, a friend, a classmate or co-worker who made you feel this way, but the best solution is the same regardless of the other: forgiveness. .

Forgiveness is the deliberate and intentional decision to let go of negative emotions like resentment, bitterness, anger, and vengefulness, which reduces your hostility towards those who have sinned, and allows you to feel a greater sense of peace and joy.

Forgiveness has also been shown in some studies to positively affect your health, by improving cholesterol levels and sleep; reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress.

1) Write a list of things someone else has done that are bothering you the most.

2) Consider all the negative emotions you feel by holding onto resentment and refusing to forgive them.

3) Write or say “I choose to forgive X for behaviour(s) Y, because it will bring peace to my heart, and I would like to be forgiven for my mistakes too”.

3) Self-improvement

Aside from forgiving yourself and others for any mistakes and sins that have been committed, another great way to reduce self-hate is to stop focussing on the past, and start thinking of ways to improve yourself instead.

1) Virtues – One of the best ways to improve yourself and feel better with who you are is to become more virtuous. This website contains a list of virtues with a brief description of each one, and the virtues that it compliments, as well as the vices they transcend. Ask yourself which virtues you are currently lacking and try to find ways of practicing them more in your life.

2) Contribution – Focus on ways that you can contribute to the world more. Some ideas are share your talents with the world, volunteer time to a good cause, give compliments and encouragement more freely, and practice random acts of kindness.

3) Strengths and Weaknesses – Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. We all have areas of life we feel more comfortable and competent in, and we all have areas that could use some improvement. Reflect on your strengths and realise that you have gifts to share with the world. Next, develop a plan to address some of your weaknesses and find ways that you can improve and build upon them.

Full post on self-hate:

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