At Purevee Organics, we put "a little self-love into every bottle" of our leading probiotics.
But what exactly is self-love? And why do so many people find it difficult to achieve?
If you're like many people, even the term "self-love" might lead you to think of tree-hugging hippies or other new age fads. But many studies have shown that self-love and self-compassion are vital for both your mental and physical health, and even provide relief for depression and other mood disorders.
Messages about the importance of self-love is nothing new.
The Buddha said the most important love is the love you give yourself.
Self-love is important for many reasons. For one thing, it leads to more positive behavior and increased feelings of well-being, while reducing harmful behavior toward yourself and others. It inspires the confidence to take more risks in life and turn down opportunities that aren't right for our growth. Along with self-compassion, self-love allows us to take accountability for our actions and choices, and let go of the self-defeating victim mentality.
But putting self-love into action is not as easy as it sounds, and for good reason!
Many people have experienced abusive relationships, early childhood trauma, and other painful personal experiences that have led to low self-esteem. And that makes loving yourself, or even liking yourself, difficult.
If self-love doesn't come naturally to you, the good news is it's a skill you can develop and cultivate over time.
What is Self-Love?
Many people believe self-love is narcissistic, but they're quite different! While narcissism is extreme self-interest and self-absorption with a lack empathy for others, self-love is a positive trait. Narcissists also believe they're better than other people, and refuse to acknowledge or take responsibility for their mistakes and flaws. They crave unlimited amounts of external validation and recognition. Narcissism is also an indicator of a personality disorder and poor mental health, along with an inability to form healthy relationships. But self-love has a positive effect on all aspects of your life, including your mental fitness, well-being, and your relationships.
Unlike narcissism, self-love isn’t about needing to prove how great you are. Self-love also means that you fully accept yourself with all your imperfections, and always treat yourself with kindness and compassion. But self-love is also important regarding your thoughts and feelings about yourself. It means that you nurture an appreciation and positive regard for yourself -- even during hard times. So, when you make so-called mistakes, you don't make things worse by beating yourself up over them. Instead, you view life challenges as necessary learning experiences. You always treat yourself in a loving manner no matter what is happening.
Why is Self-Love Necessary?
Self-love is vital for success in all areas of your life. Without self-love, you'll find it harder to take risks, stay motivated, and seize important opportunities in life. But you may not have had any role models in childhood who taught you the value of self-love, and how to be good to yourself. You're more likely to be highly self-critical, a people-pleaser at the expense of your own needs, and more likely to tolerate abuse or mistreatment from others.
How to Start Practicing Self-Love
Practicing self-love can feel impossible at first, especially if you're suffering from low self-esteem. But learning how to love yourself doesn't mean you have to make dramatic changes to your life. It's actually very simple -- start small and try to treat yourself a bit better than you did the day before.
Each day, simply identify one loving thing you can do for yourself. It can be as small as a positive thought or action. Before you begin, take a moment to write down how you're going to be more loving toward yourself, along with when you're going to implement it. By writing it down, you'll be making a commitment to yourself, which makes it more likely that you'll follow through. As you add more loving thoughts and actions to your daily life, you'll notice less self-defeating thoughts and behaviors.
In Buddhism, a common practice is called Metta meditation, which sends self-love. During each day, practice saying to yourself: "May I be peaceful, may I be happy, may I be free from suffering." With practice, self-love will become second nature.