A Few Reasons Why I've Found Self-Love Is Probably Worth A Try
I’m pretty new to the self-love thing. Sure, I’ve heard the term batted around many a time, but I’m definitely late to the party.
I sort of felt like I didn’t really need self-love. I thought that perhaps it was some kind of whimsical concept for certain people – predominantly women – to cling onto during their down days. Isn’t it just life to go through peaks and troughs after all?
But I am a big fan of self-development. Basically I had a pretty shaky start to all things adulthood. I struggled with my sexuality for years, and then battled with less than ideal mental health. The upshot is that I was sort of forced to take a good long look at my life, and then make some changes if things were going to get better.
And they have, which is awesome. But one thing I’ve heard people say countless times in my ‘I’m going to improve myself’ mission is, “after all, you can’t love somebody else if you don’t love yourself.”
Hell, I’ve definitely said it. What a bloody hypocrite! The words just rolled off my tongue, knowing that it was probably something important for people to hear but not really understanding why. Until recently.
It would take me ages to list off all the changes I’ve made in myself and to my life, and a lot of them have been super helpful. But yet I found that the benefits they offered me would only go so far.
Still, underlying everything I realised, I didn’t actually love myself. To be honest, I barely even knew myself.
Coincidentally, around the same time I started gravitating towards a new group of people I had met. They are literally awesome. We started a Whatsapp group, and even today I still wake up frequently to a barrage of voice notes from each of them, updating me on their latest self-love discoveries.
It was sort of the little push I needed. I decided that I was going to look into this self-love thing I’d heard people talk about for so long, and that I had nothing to lose by giving it a try.
The no bullshit reality here is that it’s not something that happens overnight. You don’t just tell yourself one morning that you love yourself. If only! We’re talking decades of negative mental behavioural patterns we’re trying to change here.
That takes a certain level of bravery to start, but also time to benefit from. But if you can persevere, and this is me talking very much as still a self-love beginner, it’s definitely worth it. Here’s a few reasons why.
It's Made Me More Confident
This is one of the biggest shifts in myself that I’ve noticed.
In trying to love myself more, I’ve come to know myself more. I have more of an awareness about the things I do and don’t like, I appreciate what I can and can’t tolerate, and I’m learning to identify how I react in different situations.
And then the biggest part: I’m trying to just accept these things.
I used to question myself all the time. You know, things like asking myself whether my reaction was appropriate or not? Had I caused this messy situation? Was I to blame for that bad situation unfolding? That all kind of came as a by-product of the anxiety and OCD I have, but also because I hadn’t really developed a good level of understanding or acceptance of myself.
By beginning to figure out how I actually operate, and then by accepting that’s just who I am, it’s made me feel a lot more confident in my behaviour.
People Have Started Opening Up To Me More
I think I’m very lucky in that I’ve always been the type of person people feel comfortable talking to about their problems. It’s one of my favourite things about myself, that I can make people feel at ease.
But I have noticed that since I’ve started trying to both accept and love myself more, I’ve become more able to share my own vulnerabilities. I’m trying not to see them as indications of weakness any more, but instead as potential areas for improvement.
Because of that, I’m a lot more comfortable talking about them. And I’ve noticed that when I talk about my own vulnerabilities, other people breathe a sigh of relief and start talking to me about theirs.
My Relationships Are More Authentic
I’ve found that the more I get to know myself, the more I’m able to work out the types of situations I do and don’t want to be in, and that includes the people I want to be around.
Like I said, I’m a lot more comfortable talking about my vulnerabilities these days. Since I started doing that, I’ve noticed how a lot of the pressures on how I should be behaving, or what I should be asking have gone down hugely.
Essentially, I’m starting to be a lot more ‘me’ than I’ve been before, and because that’s happening, I’m working out who the people who like that ‘me’ are. It makes those friendships much more authentic, and I’m surrounded more than ever before by people who know the real ‘me’.
It Makes You More Productive
This one is a sort of rogue one.
One of the ways I’m trying to practice self-love is by setting myself small achievable goals regularly. Instead of my life being filled with big, fanciful pipe-dreams that never really come to fruition, I’ve started breaking those down into do-able bits and bobs.
I noticed how once I stated ticking a few things off the ‘things-I-want-to-do’ list, whether life admin or just general bits of fun, it motivated me to get more done. I feel much more productive than I have done in a long time!
You Start Living More Consciously
This one is kind of linked back to the authentic friendships thing, but I wanted to give it its own merit.
The more I continue with this whole self-love thing, the more I think I’m realizing that I’ve been living my life on some level of auto-pilot for quite a while. I can see how it’s easily done. We’re all fed this narrative, whether consciously or not, of the things we’re supposed to achieve in life.
Things like settling down, finding a partner, buying a house, maintaining a job. I’m not saying that any of these things are bad by any means. But somewhere along the way I stopped questioning how much of what I was doing was because I wanted to.
The self-love quest more than anything has made me feel like I’ve woken up a little bit. There’s a reason people talk about gut instinct, and now I’m starting to listen to mine.