How to cultivate self-love in your life?
Most of us seek someone to love or to love us. We don’t think about cultivating self-love or realize that love originates within.
You may be seeking a relationship, but research suggests that singles are actually happier than married people, with the exception of happily married people. But even that dwindles over time.
A new study shows that on average, after the first year, spouses return to their baseline state of happiness prior to the marriage. Thus, similar to the conclusions reached in the studies done on lottery winners, after marriage and after winning, we eventually return to how happy we are as individuals.
Thus, our self-esteem matters. Research has well-established that it’s a big factor in the health and happiness in marriage. In fact, the level of our self-esteem before the relationship can predict its longevity. Low self-esteem can prevent us from reaping the rewards of love in a relationship.
We think about ourselves based on things we were told, incorrect inferences, and false beliefs informed by trauma and the parenting we received. These learned beliefs, defenses, and habits are not who we are, not our natural, true self. How can we reclaim it?
Cultivating self-love is a worthwhile endeavor for ourselves and to have happier relationships. Science has shown these remarkable benefits associated with love:
- Better stress management
- Better sleep
- Better heart health
- Longer lives
- Improved self-esteem
- Greater happiness
- Lowered risk of depression
We are all born innocent and worthy of love. Our flaws, mistakes, and things that happened to us affect us, but are not who we are inherently. Once we understand this, we can begin changing our self-concept and nurturing our real self.
Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds.
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Love is like a garden we need to fertilize and cultivate. To fully give and receive love, we must first pull the weeds that sabotage it. We ward off invading pests in the form of toxic relationships, and welcome animals that protect and help our garden grow.
Here’re 7 Ways to Cultivate Self-Love in Your Life
What we resist persists. When we don’t accept ourselves, we strengthen a negative self-concept. Low self-esteem is self-reinforcing, making change and self-acceptance difficult. Paradoxically, when we accept our shortcomings, it’s easier to let them go.
Self-acceptance is greater than self-esteem, and self-acceptance paves the way for self-love. It means honoring and accepting all of ourselves, including our shortcomings, appearance, our mistakes, and feelings. Learn to stop self-criticism and Raise Your Self-Esteem.
What we did is not who we are. Staying in self-blame and self-condemnation is harmful. On the other hand, guilt can motivate us to change and reach out to others. Great healing is possible with confession, self-forgiveness, and amends. Overcoming guilt releases us from the past and the person we once were. It paves the way for transformation, wholeness, self-respect, and self-love
Love is indivisible. It’s difficult to love ourselves when we harbor hatred toward someone else. Moreover, resentment toward ourselves or others keeps us stuck. When we forgive others, we feel freer and better about ourselves. Similarly, as we develop self-compassion and forgive ourselves, we’re more accepting and compassionate toward others. There are specific steps and stages in forgiveness. Follow them in Freedom from Guilt and Blame: Finding Self-Forgiveness.
After pulling the weeds, we must nourish our garden with self-appreciation. Our mind does not distinguish between praise coming from others or our own words and thoughts. Do you focus on your shortcomings and deny or take for granted your positive attributes?
Inventory your strengths, accomplishments, loving qualities, acts of courage, and your desire to give, love, and grow. Practice appreciating yourself and others. Each day write three things you did well and qualities about yourself that you or other people appreciate. Focus on the positive, rather than the negative. It takes time and consistency to replace bad habits with life-affirming ones.