What are the benefits of self-love to your well-being?

People often fall victim to perfectionism and a persistent lack of fulfilment. In the modern-day western cultures, people are brought up to believe that pursuing happiness is equivalent to setting goals and accomplishing them… Being ambitious is also considered a highly respected personality trait, which parents attempt to develop in their children from a very early age. Interestingly enough, science disagrees with this cultural dogma!

According to the professor of human development Kirstin Neff, practising the act of self-love and compassion can have significant benefits on the physical and mental well-being of a person. Neff shares that the reluctance and inability of people to learn how to love themselves derives from the ill-taught idea of self-love that they have from society or their family environment. She says that people often tend to associate the act of self-compassion as an “excuse” for not achieving goals or as a skill that can’t be developed. 

Opposite to popular belief, scientists have proved that self-love can be cultivated over time with continuous practice, belief, and persistence. A recent study in psychology has shown that the ability to love yourself is linked to higher motivation and better success in life than being self-critical and pursuing new goals as a matter of pursuing happiness. 

Very often, the modern-day person is incapable and reluctant to practise self-love, but they are more than willing to show unconditional love to their partners, kids, friends, and even their cup of morning coffee on a daily basis…

Psychologists agree that people who share this mindset are almost always struggling with finding happiness in life and they are unable to face the adversities in life without fear.

What is the meaning of self-love?

Self-love could be considered a relative term if one looks at it from the perspective of culture, religion, and family environment. Nevertheless, scientists believe that this state of mind is universal to all people and it is the single biggest definition of personal happiness from within. It is also thought to find expression in the following 3 directions:

  1. Self-kindness: Are you understanding of yourself and your individual needs without criticism?
  2. Body and others: How do you see and perceive your physical body in relation to the rest of the world? Can you accept your faults?
  3. Mindfulness: Are you mindful of your own emotions, pain, and trauma from the past? Is your mind at rest or restless?

If you have been hesitant answering those questions positively, then it’s maybe time you put yourself first! That, by all means, includes accepting your mind, body, and personality, which you have already grown to become.

This is certainly more easily said than done! In order to reach a place of self-loving and acceptance, one needs to practice regularly without any ulterior motifs and expectations! Instead, they must face this journey with readiness and an open heart, even if it goes through the hurt and insecurities. Finding true happiness will come naturally along with the hard lessons, listening to your inner self, and understanding where you stand in this world.

Useful techniques for growing your self-love

If a person is ready to take on the journey of loving their “self”, they need to stay open to the personal transformation that will take place along the way. Achieving results with these mindfulness techniques is entirely based on practising regularly and making the small steps towards living happily with who you are. 

Psychologists recommend that practising the act of self-love (also known as Mindful Self-Compassion) should take between 10-40 minutes of your day when you are going through emotional pain, hopelessness, or anxiety. This type of technique requires your deliberate attention to your feelings and the active expression of self-compassion in that moment of suffering. When you are going through a stressful emotion, you can repeat these phases out loud or in your head: “This is just a temporary feeling”, “Pain is just a feeling”, “I love myself”.

Clinical studies show that practising mindful self-loving techniques like that for a period of 2 months leads to increased levels of happiness and feelings of self-fulfilment. 

Another practical technique for removing negative thoughts and replenishing the self with love is called mindful breathing. When a person brings their full attention to the act of inhaling and exhaling they remove their focus from their destructive thoughts. Thus way, they create enough space which allows them to see their struggles from another perspective. Only then, they can realize that all of the pain is conditional, manufactured by the brain, and not the actual inner self.

When you give your mind some time to rest by practicing meditation, you will be able to distance yourself from the worries and the negative thoughts. You will soon realize that your toxic thought patterns are a projection of the mind as a response to your external environment!

There are a number of effective mindful techniques out there, which can help with removing the focus from emotional pain and directing it towards the feelings of self-love, acceptance, and kindness. Examples of such are the practice of “Soothing touch”“A loving letter to me”, and “Sync with your own body” in times of emotional distress by feeling your heartbeat attentively with one hand. 

Instead of being harsh with yourselves and nurturing self-doubt, you should inquire to know about your needs in this moment of suffering. Listen carefully to your inner voice! This is a great start to cultivating your self-love by being compassionate and kind to your number one in life: yourself.

Put these techniques and advice into practice not just once or twice. Ideally, you should be taking time to nurture your self-love every day to achieve optimal and long-lasting results.

Let’s talk about the beneficial effects of practising self-love?

self-love happy woman

Happy for life

We started by elaborating on happiness, the constant pursuit of achieving goals, and perfectionism as the wrong approach to finding happiness and self-love. It’s been proven that the most effective way to feel content and happy is actually by practising love and compassion internally. 

This is a very important take-home message for those who are looking to find true happiness.

Many people nowadays would finish this sentence: “I will be happy when…” with a whole list of goals and examples that they perceive as their happiness. The truth, though, is that all the conditional factors such as events, material things, and other people, who you may rely on for your happiness, are only taking you further away from experiencing self-love here and now.  

 It’s also important to mention here that ambitions and goals are positive contributors to life as long as they don’t create feelings of discontent, lack of self-worth, and deep insecurities. 

A person that has self-love is in tune with their own strengths and inner voice. They don’t allow outside factors to affect their internal happiness when they are challenged by other people or circumstances.

Success in everything

To love yourself truly means making time to listen to your needs. It does not speak for laziness or showing weakness! According to behavioural studies conducted by the University of California, practising self-compassion and motivation before an important exam, with the use of mindful techniques, helped students achieve better results than those who didn’t.

That is just another proof that the intrinsic ability of the person to manage their emotions happens through listening attentively to the inner world during a moment of stress. 

Next time you catch your mind wandering off to places of pain and insecurities, make a conscious effort to take control of your emotions by listening and practising positive affirmation! This is a wonderful way to set out on a journey to finding self-love, new motivation, and success. 

Healthy mind, healthy body

Regular practising of compassion and self-love has proven benefits for both your psychological and physical well-being. Scientific research shows that mindful practices can reduce the levels of cortisol in the body, which leads to less stress and anxiety. Furthermore, there is evidence that these techniques help with boosting the functions of the immune system and the pancreas for people who suffer from autoimmune diseases and diabetes. 

There are a number of proven benefits to practising mediation and mindful self-love for psychological disorders such as post-traumatic stress, depression, and panic attacks. Relaxation of the mind and techniques that can boost self-love are just a great way to heal from a wide range of stress-related health problems, along with the obvious benefits including higher confidence and a feeling of self-worth!

More evidence of the power of mind and self-love on the body are eating disorders. It’s a known fact that people who suffer from anorexia, bulimia, and obesity tend to have low self-esteem and general discontentment. The more someone allows negative feelings and thought patterns to take over their daily lives, the less self-control they have over their physical well-being and happiness. 

Healthy relationship

The urge to give and receive love is an inherent characteristic that we all have as human beings. Being in a relationship can bring immense happiness but also be the single cause for a lot of suffering (if the person has not matured their feeling of self-love and worth). For those people, the trap of falling into unsuccessful relationships and disappointments becomes rather unavoidable. 

To be able to listen to yourself truly means that you can also listen to your partner, understand their needs and communicate yours. That speaks about maturity, which will allow the person to face different obstacles that they face individually, and as part of a team.

A person that has grown their self-love is a good listener! They don’t allow the outside world to affect their self-perception and the happiness that they hold within. In fact, it’s just the opposite! That person understands their own needs and has grown compassion not only for their inner self but also for everyone around.

Don’t wait for too long! Make this time of your day to overcome the roadblocks of your mind and experience a true feeling of self-love, happiness, and fulfilment. 

Your happiness starts and ends with you. 

For more information and useful tips on how to find the love within, see the transformation program of Next Level Love.

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