“He who likes himself is also able to like others.
How do you feel reading this quote?
Would you agree?
The topic of self-love has run through science and philosophy for centuries. Psychologists agree that self-love is a prerequisite for a good connection to the world and to other people. It is an important aspect of self-esteem and self-efficacy – both essential foundations for lasting satisfaction.
Mirror, mirror …
And you, do you like yourself?
Try the following:
- Find a mirror in your home and stand in front of it. This can also be a full-body mirror.
- Look at yourself, look closely, take your time.
- Then look into your eyes and say: “(Your first name), I love you! You are wonderful and lovable!”
So, how did you feel about this exercise?
What did you think when you looked at yourself?
Did the words come easily to your lips?
Or not at all?
If you had a strange feeling, no worries, you are not alone.
Self-love is usually not very popular. It is often compared with unhealthy egoism and even narcissism. However, wrongly so. Interestingly, the unhealthy forms of egoism and also narcissism are in fact rooted in a lack of self-love. And while these two qualities are characterised by the fact that they harm your fellow human beings, healthy self-love is one of the greatest gifts you can give to people around you.
For those who rest in themselves, who know what they want, are clear in their intentions and needs without having to fight for them in a tense and dogged way.
If you meet a person with healthy self-love, you know where you stand and an open, appreciative dialogue at eye level is possible. The result is an exchange that does not leave you feeling “shortchanged”. For those who love themselves have learned to take care of themselves – and not to make others responsible for their well-being and happiness.
“But he who wants to become light and a bird must love himself.”
The amount of self-love and appreciation you give yourself has a positive effect on your satisfaction in different areas of your life:
- Your work: Healthy self-love helps you to find a job that suits you and fulfils you – but also to set limits in time to avoid continuous strain and overload.
- Your relationships: Whether friends, family or partnership – if you value yourself, it will be easier for you to recognise, choose and have relationships that are characterised by mutual respect, inspiration and an inspiring energy. You will seek and cultivate relationships in which you enrich each other – rather than complement each other.
- Your health and lifestyle: If you feel you are worthy of it, you will automatically and without a guilty conscience schedule time for yourself and your well-being. These appointments will have equal priority than your duties in your calendar.
Quick self-check: How are you doing in self-love?
Read through the following statements and note how many of them apply to you:
- Sometimes I feel like I’m there for everyone – but no one cares how I’m doing.
- It is often difficult for me to make decisions because I am always looking for a solution that satisfies all parties involved.
- I often hold back because I feel that what I think or have to say might displease others.
- At work I always give 110% – but I seem to be the only one who sees how engaged I am.
- To really get ahead in life and work, you just have to try hard enough.
- I have to live up to expectations in order to be loved and recognised.
- I have a hard time being alone with myself (need distraction and feedback, e.g. through social media).
- “First work, then pleasure” – I take time for sport and relaxation and myself when all duties are fulfilled.
- I’d rather have a complicated relationship than be alone.
- Cooking for myself alone is not worth it.
- Sweets and alcohol are a good consolation.
- I often have the feeling that I can “never do it right”.
- If someone needs my help, I am there for him/her – even if I am not doing so well myself at the moment.
- I often help without being asked – but find it disappointing when the other person doesn’t see that I want his or her best or doesn’t follow my advice.
- I have to totally withdraw (physically and/or emotionally) to take care of myself.
- I often have the feeling of being taken advantage of.
- When I don’t succeed at something, I am very hard on myself (negative self-talk, etc.).
- In the past week, I have taken almost no time for my well-being (e.g. relaxing, activities that make me happy).
- In the past month, I have met with many people because I felt it was expected of me – even though the meetings left me feeling “empty and low on energy” at the end.
- I have no problem saying what I think and taking what I need – even if it hurts others.
- It often feels like “I am being lived” instead of having the reins in my own hands.
Each statement probably applies individually to each of us at one time or another. But if you recognise yourself in most of the statements and they apply to you most of the time, you should spend a little more time developing your self-love.
Because if you don’t find love and recognition in yourself, you will look for it on the outside, i.e. you leave it to other people to judge what makes you valuable, lovable, successful. You define yourself through the expectations of others and thus are “being lived”.
Who determines your needs?
Who defines your limits?
And who pushes you beyond these limits?
Yourself – or others?
There are as many opinions as there are people. And everyone “wants you good”. If you don’t manage to be good to yourself, you will feel misunderstood, unloved, exhausted, insecure, disappointed. And in this needy state you are of no help to yourself or others.
Three key elements of self-love
How about declaring this year the year of self-love?
If you are interested in increasing your self-worth, take a closer look at the following three aspects:
- Your needs: Do you know your needs and can you express them? Do you stand behind yourself and your needs?
- Your inner critic: How do you talk to yourself?
- Your beliefs: Do you have beliefs that prevent you from standing up for yourself? Or inner drivers that cause you to always “take a back seat”?
If you are further interested in this topic, I can recommend the following e-book on self-love, which was created together with the Happiness Academy:
The e-book will help you to:
- not only to see your weak sides
- understand the benefits of self-love
- recognise why self-love is not narcissistic
- learn 3 exercises that increase your self-love
- realise that helping yourself means bein empowered to help others.
Be good to yourself and take care of yourself!
You are wonderful and lovable.