How To Love Yourself, Even When You Can’t

Loving yourself is good.

Proper self-love is the foundation for loving others and creating a better you. Research has proven it is a powerful tool for improving your life.

PLEASE SEE DISCLAIMER

Nothing in this article is medical or legal advice. Visit with a licensed health professional for any persistent health or psychological issues.

In another article entitled, How To Find Love Using Feng Shui Correctly, I wrote how there is a solid, for the most part, reliable method for finding a love interest. That process is comprised of the following.

  1. Love yourself, and if you feel you can’t, try to appreciate that you exist to experience this life.
  2. Be healthy in body, mind, spirit, and money, and if you’re not, it’s worth getting there.
  3. Enjoy life, because happiness in small things leads to bigger ones.
  4. Expect you’ll find and receive love, if you want it, just don’t worry about how. Let it happen as it does.
  5. Use Feng Shui to help 1 through 4, because your environment influences your behavior. 
  6. Be consistent for however long it takes.

In reviewing that article, I felt it would be helpful to expand on a few points. In this one, we’re going to explore self-love, and why it’s so important.

Without Self-Love, You Become A Shadow

Without loving yourself, there is an inner disconnect.

Without self-love, I’ve noticed people tend to become shadows in society, mere echoes of their true potential.

When someone lacks self-love, it reflects in their relationships, work, and overall demeanor. I’ve also noticed people constantly seeking validation and approval, trying to fit into societal molds rather than embracing their unique identity. 

Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs places self-esteem and self-actualization near the top, underscoring the importance of self-love in achieving personal fulfillment and interacting with others.

Psychologically, self-love is closely tied to self-esteem, which is the subjective evaluation of your worth and abilities. People with low self-esteem often experience higher levels of anxiety, depression, and a diminished sense of self-worth. As a result, it becomes challenging to connect with others, engage in meaningful relationships, or contribute positively to communities. 

Scientific Research Supports Loving Yourself

Love yourself more often than not.

Numerous studies have shown that practicing self-love and self-compassion can have tangible benefits for mental health. Researchers like Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field of self-compassion, have demonstrated that self-love is strongly associated with emotional resilience. Anxiety and depression have decreased as a result.  

Neuroscientific research utilizing brain imaging techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), have revealed that self-affirmation and self-compassion activate brain regions associated with positive emotions and reward. The brain’s reward system, including areas like the ventral striatum, responds positively to self-affirming thoughts and behaviors. 

These findings suggest that self-love may be neurologically wired into our brains.

Unlocking The Power And Benefits Of Self-Love

Unlocking parts of the mind.

Embracing self-love leads to improved emotional stability, reduced stress levels, and better overall happiness.

Studies in psychology have shown those with higher levels of self-compassion tend to experience less anxiety and depression. Self-love encourages positive thinking patterns, fostering a more optimistic outlook on life, as outlined in research published in the Journal of Happiness Studies.

Furthermore, people who love themselves are better able to have healthy relationships.

They tend to be more capable of empathizing and understanding the needs of others. Studies published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology highlight the connection between self-esteem and relationship satisfaction, indicating that individuals with a positive self-image are more likely to have fulfilling, long-lasting relationships.

Self-love is also closely linked to physical health.

Research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology suggests that self-love and self-compassion can boost the immune system, making individuals more resilient to illnesses. Studies provide evidence that self-compassion practices can lead to improved immune function and faster recovery from illness. Additionally, it tends to encourage healthier lifestyle choices, such as regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and sufficient sleep.

Consistent love for yourself acts as a catalyst when it comes to self-improvement. They are more likely to set realistic goals, work through challenges, and achieve success. 

Self-Love Is The Foundation To Loving Others

Affection for others.

When we embrace self-love, we are acknowledging our worth and acceptance, flaws and all. This creates a sense of inner peace and contentment, freeing us from the constant need for external validation.

With self-love, we become more compassionate toward ourselves, allowing for kindness and understanding. This positive self-view provides the foundation from which we can truly love others. It allows us to do so without becoming dependent on someone else’s affection to feel complete. We can give and receive love from a place of abundance, enriching our relationships with sincerity.

Furthermore, when we recognize our own needs and desires, we are less likely to compromise our values or tolerate bad behaviors from others.

By understanding our worth, we naturally gravitate towards relationships that uplift us. Mutual respect and support are the norm. Self-love allows us to make choices that honor our individuality, passions, and goals, ensuring that we don’t lose ourselves in the process of loving someone else. 

Narcissism, The Dark Side Of Self-Love

Too much love for yourself leads to narcism.

More often than not, self-love is a very good and highly beneficial thing. However, there are times when you can love yourself the wrong way.

When taken to an extreme, self-love can have detrimental consequences. It’s possible to go beyond a healthy respect and admiration for yourself into narcissism, where someone becomes excessively focused on their desires, needs, and appearance. It’s also not unusual for this often to happen at the expense of others. 

Narcissistic individuals tend to lack empathy and disregard the feelings and boundaries of those around them. There is an inflated sense of self-importance which can lead to manipulative behaviors, as such people prioritize their desires over others. This type of self-love can damage relationships, causing emotional pain and distance from friends, family, and romantic partners. 

This can result in feelings of isolation and loneliness as a replacement for a genuine connection with others.

An obsessive focus on oneself can also hinder personal growth and self-improvement. When someone is excessively self-absorbed, they may resist acknowledging their flaws and limitations. Constructive criticism or feedback is often perceived as a threat to their self-image. The result is that personal and professional development stops, as that person inadvertently doesn’t learn from mistakes or adapts to changing circumstances. Their potential for true happiness hits a wall.

Lastly, this toxic form of self-love can lead to a distorted sense of reality.

Narcissistic individuals often create an illusion of success, confidence, and happiness to maintain their self-image. Behind closed doors, most grapple with feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and self-doubt. The constant need for validation and admiration from others can become exhausting, leading to anxiety and stress. Their inability to form genuine connections can also result in a deep sense of emptiness and unfulfillment. 

The article, Is Self-Love Healthy or Narcissistic?, as published in Psychology Today, does a great job explaining the differences between the two.

Loving Yourself Is More Important After 40

Love yourself, especially after 40.

Reaching the age of 40 is a time of changes, both physical and emotional. It’s when many may find themselves reflecting on their achievements, relationships, and overall life path. This usually brings with it tremendous emotion, often mixed.

This one of a few reasons why those over 40 should do their best to embrace self-love, or learn to love themselves. 

One of the key challenges many encounter is the physical changes that come with aging. The realization that your body may not function or appear the same as it did in earlier years can create anxiety and doubt. However, by allowing yourself to find love in these transitions, helps to garner appreciation of these changes as natural part of the human experience. 

Another often centers around career choices and reevaluations of choices made, both professional and personal. The impact of those thoughts and emotions may suggest a number of changes, some positive and others not. Self-love becomes a powerful tool in helping to make choices aligned with passions and values rather than succumbing to external pressures.

The 40’s also bring shifts in family dynamics. Children may be growing older and becoming more independent, and some parents may be facing new roles, like caring for their aging parents. Navigating this can be emotionally exhausting. This is where self-love crucial helps in maintaining mental and emotional well-being. Loving oneself can set healthy boundaries, prioritize self-care, and build endurance.

The importance of self-love for people over 40 cannot be overstated. By practicing self-love, you can cultivate a positive mindset that can make this time in your life better, and maybe ven find fulfillment.

Here Is How To Practice Self-Love The Right Way

The journey to the self.

There is no right or wrong way to love yourself. However you choose to go about it, so long as you are respecting and accepting yourself (no harm to your well-being), while respectful and considerate of others (no harm to anyone else), you’re good to go.

Nonetheless, here are a few ways of loving yourself I like, and are also supported by many psychologists and social researchers.

Letting Go

This involves the allowance of whatever you’re feeling in the moment, and choosing to let it pass through you. It’s non-judgmental, non-demanding, and without force. Letting go uses a very simple acknowledgment that a feeling exists, and a question of whether or not you can allow it to move through you. 

A “yes” or “no” answer doesn’t matter, however, recognizing the feeling and asking yourself if you can release it, seems to loosen its grip. More often than not, there is a near-immediate relief. 

This methodology is exceptionally powerful and one I use regularly. 

Practice Self-Compassion

Self-compassion involves being kind and understanding toward yourself in times of failure or suffering. It includes self-kindness, where you can acknowledge your imperfections without judgment.

Positive Self-Talk

Our inner dialogue significantly influences our self-perception. By practicing positive self-talk, you can challenge and replace negative beliefs and enhance self-esteem. 

Celebrate Small Victories

Setting achievable goals and celebrating small victories can boost self-confidence and self-love. Studies in positive psychology emphasize the significance of goal-setting and how it helps with overall well-being and satisfaction.

Practice Mindfulness and Self-Reflection

Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and deep breathing, can help you stay present, reduce self-criticism, and improve self-awareness. The more you are in tune with you, the higher the likelihood you’ll come to appreciate yourself.

If you’d like to read what some experts in Psychology have to say about how to love yourself, check out this article in Psychology Today.

When You Can’t Love Yourself, Try This

Can vs Can't

Should you find that you’re struggling to love yourself, try not to worry about it. Sometimes, it may take a while before you do, especially if it’s been years of self-neglect or even self-disgust/hatred. Like most behaviors, it’s something you’ll eventually learn.

It’s Ok The Way You Feel Right Now

The first step is understanding that it’s okay to feel this way and that many people go through similar struggles. Being able to admit how and what you feel is a huge start to moving past it. Most talk therapies with psychologists center around being honest with yourself.

If you don’t like yourself, admit it. Don’t be afraid. The truth of the moment has a surprising freedom to it.

Ask Yourself To Let Go Of How You Feel

Once you can acknowledge and allow what you are feeling to be present, ask yourself if you can let it go. Just ask, don’t command. If it’s “yes” or “no”, it doesn’t matter. Studies have found that giving attention to what you’re feeling tends to slowly dissolve it. 

I have a lot of experience with this. For some strange reason, I’ve discovered that by being true to how you feel, that recognition, almost satisfies this hidden want the feeling has.

It’s like it wants to be acknowledged.

Then, in asking yourself if you can let it go, my experience is that it turns the feeling into an experience that separates from you.

At this point, it’s almost as if things turn participatory. More often than not, the feeling slowly dissipates on its own. This can happen quickly or over a little while. For me, it’s usually over a few hours if it’s a deep-rooted feeling that surfaced.

Repeat the acknowledgment and then ask to release it until the feeling is effectively gone.

Here’s an example.

Think of your feelings like a wet blanket. It’s soaked and wrapped around you, making you uncomfortable. You’re also the one holding it around yourself. You realize the wet blanket is the source of your discomfort, thereby giving it attention. It’s not your shoes, or your shirt, but the blanket. You open your hands and the blanket falls off.

Start Small In Building Your Self-Love

Starting small, like with anything, is a much easier and more immediately rewarding process. 

Begin by acknowledging your worth, even in the little things. Recognize your achievements, regardless of how minor they might seem, and celebrate them. It could be as simple as getting out of bed on a difficult day or completing a small task at work. These accomplishments might seem insignificant, but they are important steps in building self-love.

Another approach is to find things about yourself that you can objectively appreciate. This could be a talent you possess, a kind gesture you’ve made, or a skill you’ve developed. Reflect on your positive qualities, your strengths, and the things that make you unique. 

Do More Things You Enjoy

Do whatever healthy activities bring you joy and a sense of accomplishment. Pursue hobbies or interests that genuinely excite you, and invest time in learning new skills. As you achieve in these areas, your confidence and self-esteem will naturally improve. The process of mastering a new skill, no matter how minor, can be incredibly empowering.

Feng Shui Your Room 

At the very least, declutter the room you spend most time in.

Ideally, you’ll eventually want to declutter your entire home, but for now, start with your favorite room. Get rid of or put away items you haven’t used in the last few months to several years. The idea is to create a clean orderly, open space that you can comfortably move around in.

If possible, in your favorite room, try to also position furniture in such a way that you can see the entrance into your room. You want to organize things so that no one can enter without you first being aware of them. 

The purpose of this is to give you subconscious control over your room. This turns your environment into something that supports you, instead of burdening you (objects stumbling you, surprise visitors, disorder, lost items, etc.)

A properly arranged room can be a tool that enhances your well-being. I write about how clutter and the like can be a disaster in another article you can read here.

Loving Yourself Opens You To Endless Possibilities

Nothing is impossible, only improbable.

Loving yourself is the key that unlocks a world of endless possibilities and opportunities.

When you embrace self-love, you begin to see yourself in a new light. You recognize your worth, acknowledging that you are deserving of all the good things life has to offer. This newfound self-appreciation builds confidence. You suddenly are able to face challenges with a better, more positive attitude. 

When you love yourself, you become more attuned to your passions and interests. This brings you to activities and endeavors that truly resonate with your authentic self. In this state of self-love, you are open to learning, growing, and evolving. You become more receptive to new experiences and people, expanding your horizons and enriching your life in ways you might not have thought possible before.

In loving yourself, you can begin to dream big, set ambitious goals, and work towards achieving them with far better determination. Your future is suddenly filled with endless possibilities.

Until the next time, cheers!

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