To increase self-love and love yourselfSelf-love is in antithesis with self-centeredness. Loving yourself has nothing to do with individualism.
On our Social Accounts we have a good number of debates with people who mistakenly overlap the concept of self-love with that of individualism and selfishness .
To say that it is necessary to build a complete personal identity and to feel good about yourself is nothing selfish. Self-love certainly incorporates the concept of healthy selfishness but does not end there. With self – love, internal and external complexities are integrated: this means that the importance of altruism and relationships is not ignored .
Self-love favors both self-esteem and a profound respect for others . Any process of growth requires comparison with the other and relationships, therefore even in the concept of self-love there is no absolutistic individualism. Having self-love allows us to move around the world safely, allows us to forge functional ties and to mark healthy boundaries. Healthy self-love gives us multiple advantages:
- it does not make us feel completely lost in view of a separation .
- It does not make us come out defeated in any comparison with the other.
- It allows us to cooperate with each other without competing.
- It puts us on a level of reciprocity because having a healthy self-esteem we do not feel the need to overwhelm the other, let alone feel inferior.
As can be understood, the concept of “self-love” has intrinsic respect for the other; in self-love there is nothing individualistic or selfish, on the contrary! Growth based on real emotional maturity aims to raise oneself without discrediting the other. Those who have not reached a healthy emotional maturity tend to raise themselves to the detriment of others. The ‘ Love just is naturare a result of a healthy emotional maturity.
With self-love we can suffice ourselves so as not to fear abandonment, we do not feel the spasmodic need neither to underline our superiority nor to please the other . We don’t feel the need to control everything and everyone because we trust our resources . We do not suffer the fear of judgment because we first do not judge ourselves severely. It is true, Self-love is the Holy Grail of affective well-being, it is the ingredient that allows us to live a fulfilling life and forge satisfactory bonds.
13 ways to love yourself
It is commonplace to think that in order to be loved, you must first learn to love yourself . Nothing truer, however the concept linked to this phrase is difficult to understand and loving each other is not a simple mission at all.
For a variety of reasons, for many of us, self-love is not a natural process. Day after day we undergo a series of self-criticisms that instead of helping us in growth have a destructive effect. A psychotherapeutic path can help you identify the causes of the lack of self-love, generally the causes are traced back to beliefs rooted from childhood, beliefs that must be identified and placed in a well-defined space and very far from the present that you are experiencing.
As you come up with the idea of embarking on a psychotherapeutic journey, there are a few things you can start doing to love yourself . Some of the things I will list are easy to do, others, however, presuppose a more tortuous path and may not be within everyone’s reach.
1) Learn to say “no”
Whenever you say “yes” when you want to reveal a refusal, you are giving up a small piece of yourself. Looking behind you, “how much of you” did you have to give up? How many “yes” did you say to not disappoint? By condescension? To please the other?
Boundaries are an essential form of self-care and the limits you place on others make it clear that you too deserve your space. If you have not already done so, learn to distinguish the desired “yes” from the established “yes” as a form of learned duty . Start exercising your right to “no”.
2) Don’t compare yourself to others
«It is useless (…) to spy on others furtively, to identify the way in which the various personalities develop, because each one is faced with a task of self-realization that presents characteristics of uniqueness . If many human problems are similar, they are never identical. All pine trees look alike (otherwise we could not classify them as pine trees), but none are exactly similar to another. Precisely because of the incidence of these similarity and difference factors, it is difficult to schematize the infinite possibilities of variation in the identification process. The thing is, each of us has to do something different, something absolutely private and personal. ” (Marie Louise von Fvon Franz, The individuation process. In “Man and his symbols”)
The comparison, by its nature, leads you to judge things in terms of “best” or “worst”. The problem with comparisons is that they are always one-dimensional . Confronting you with others, therefore, does not make sense: you do not have all the knowledge to be able to make wise comparisons, moreover, even if you had many elements, each of us had to face a different and therefore incomparable path.
3) Accept your past, it is the only one you have and you cannot change it
If you learn to value yourself and accept yourself, you will understand that you don’t need to confront anyone. The only comparison you can make is with yourself. Try to look behind you, think where you started from and look now where you came from. Even if they seem a few steps to you, learn to accept your path … self-esteem must necessarily go through acceptance.
4) You cannot please everyone but you can please yourself
Accept the idea that you cannot please everyone. Those who want to please at all costs, generally, enter into relationships with a strong load of anxiety, this also manifests itself through the desire to keep everything under control . Well, here’s the news: you can’t control what others think. You cannot control the reactions of others or the tastes and knowledge of others. That’s why you will invest your energies better in pleasing yourself.
5) Make leisure a priority
The problem of those who do not love themselves is to base their self-esteem on productivity and efficiency or to manage to regulate their self-esteem on the consent of the other . In practice “I respect myself only if Tizio considers me worthy of esteem” or “I respect myself only if I have produced enough in the workplace, family, friends …”. Estimating yourself with the conditional is very dangerous! In this way you move in a minefield made of duties and self-impositions, and you lose the dimension of pure pleasure .
In your weekly routine (and to a lesser extent, daily), insert pure pleasure activities to be carried out with the highest priority. Giving yourself pleasant moments is something you owe yourself unconditionally , because feeling good is already your right you don’t have to elbow to deserve it.
6) Autonomy at your fingertips
Autonomy is not something to be pursued for the need to defend yourself from what you believe may hurt you …. but the opposite is true, when you reach the right degree of autonomy and sense of self-efficacy, you will be more resilient and therefore, even if the others will hurt you, you will be able to get up faster and the hit will not be so hard.
Cultivating your autonomy does not mean isolating yourself or getting by yourself. Someone distorts the meaning of “independence” and “autonomy”. Autonomy does not impose enormous distances between oneself and the other; autonomy as a consequence of self-esteem, allows the right closeness, allows you to feel good with each other but at the same time gives you the opportunity to experience solitude in perfect harmony and not as a punishment .
He begins to understand that there is a big difference between being autonomous “putting distance” out of fear that someone may harm their emotional integrity and be truly autonomous.
7) Learn to appreciate loneliness
To cultivate real autonomy and increase your sense of self-efficacy, you should learn to appreciate loneliness. I am sure that many times you have been alone with your thoughts, alone at home, alone at lunch … but how many of these times have you been in the company of yourself? Loneliness can be a time to relax, to recharge, to work on your resources … but to do this you must learn to mentalize, you must learn to take care of your inner dialogue by choosing the right words, just like you would do with a good friend .
8) The inner dialogue that heals
Loneliness can be devastating for those who have a tendency to brood. Ruminating on the past, mistakes made, wasted opportunities or worries about the future stops growth. When you are alone with your thoughts, remember to be in the company of yourself and take care of your inner dialogue . Watch out for automatic thoughts that can undermine your already fragile self-esteem.
Thoughts are made up of fragmented sentences, poorly defined concepts and cutting words. Try to do the psychotherapeutic exercises illustrated in the article entitled “The inner dialogue that heals”.
9) Surround yourself with those who really appreciate you and …
We come to the sore point. Those who have an absolutist view of life will say “there are no good people” or will tend to say that he is probably the only noble person left on earth. Unless you’ve met all the people in the world, I think phrases like “people suck” or “I have lost interest in others” are rooted in strong prejudices and beliefs and that in no case can reflect reality.
Of transparent and genuine people there are, and how! The world is full of them … but in the world we are many, just as there are genuine people there can be profiteers, manipulators and … yes, psychopaths! Know that you do not have a magnet for psychopaths but also know that the way you position yourself and the boundaries you mark, create a lane for a certain type of person . Ok, ok, I’m not saying that if you only meet psychopaths it’s your fault! I am saying that with a little care, you can learn to forge relationships with genuine people and surround yourself with those who know how to appreciate and listen to you .
Remember that esteem, as well as listening, are reciprocal processes . Observe your relationships: how many are balanced? How many are equal? Do not misunderstand, I do not speak of giving / having for an opportunistic purpose, I refer to bonds made of mutual pleasure . You give esteem, they give you esteem back. You listen, they give you back listening. I assure you that this does not happen in a parallel world, but it does exist, functional relationships are a possible reality, often those who have never cultivated a healthy self-love find it hard to understand it but … it is so! Remember that it is difficult to understand what you have not had the opportunity to experience first hand, so allow yourself this new possibility!
10) … Remove those who hurt you
The people you spend your time with can help you build healthy self-esteem or demotivate you or even crush you. Sometimes loving yourself can mean distancing yourself from those who try to crush you. If you can’t get away, learn to practice emotional detachment . If that someone is part of your family I recommend you read the survival manual for unloved children article.
11) Get to know yourself
Personal identity is the conception of who we are and how we relate to the world . Do you have a strong sense of personal identity? Those who have a good sense of identity can make concrete decisions , manage to pursue their goals and behave in a way that is consistent with their desires.
In the process of building one’s identity, there are a thousand things that can go wrong. For example, an extremely oppressive or totalitarian caregiver (usually the mother) may leave very little room for the development of the individuality of the child . In practice, many of us grew up without the real possibility of developing our own identity but had to develop an identity based on parental desires. Growing up, we maintained an identity based on the expectations of others . In this context, I recommend you read my article “Personal identity: 22 questions to discover yourself”.
12) Be honest with yourself
This is probably the most difficult advice to follow. Every day, we all put in place defense mechanisms and / or real cognitive distortions. These are self – deception put in place with the aim of protecting us from truths perceived as threatening. Here comes the paradox: cognitive distortions are unconscious. How can you be honest with yourself if you don’t even know you’re lying to you ?!
This question, in itself, is twisted but the answer is very simple: you can do it through the assumption of responsibility and radical acceptance. Life becomes more uncomfortable if you face yourself thinking that you are (at least in part) responsible for what happens to us. True Self-Love allows you to take responsibility without fear.
If you are on the team “never a joy” and “they all happen to me”, I recommend you read the article on radical acceptance (a concept applied in cognitive behavioral psychology).
13) Don’t invalidate your emotions
Many of us have learned to silence suffering so as not to annoy the other . Many of us have learned to “make ourselves small small” in order not to disappoint the expectations of others . Some of us have learned that we can never count on the other because in their ancestral memory they have not internalized the image of a caring, stable and reliable caregiver. For these and other reasons, many of us have learned to deny our emotions before they even surface.
Those who have not received a good emotional literacy will find it very difficult to recognize their emotional states and find a “cause and effect” relationship in their inner experiences. Try to get to know your feelings and emotions. “I feel anxious because …” or “I’m sad because …”. Learn to name your moods and also a space-time location. Remember that if you give meaning to suffering and your discomforts, it will be easier for you to process them. On the contrary, if you deny your inner experiences you will end up not accepting yourself.
nb: the female gender also applies to the male.
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