“If the person you love the most isn’t you first, you are surely loving the wrong person.”
Self-love is surely the first step to truly loving everyone and everything. Loving yourself is an essential part of living a healthier and much happier life.
In an era where constant comparison and self-criticism are often encouraged by an avalanche of unattainable and picture perfect ideals on social media, self-love has become more crucial than ever. This article will explore the importance of self-love, highlighting how it protects us from mental health issues, increases our resilience, leads to healthier, longer-lasting relationships, contributes to our physical health, and guides us to greater personal fulfillment.
First, however, let’s understand the difference between self-love and self-knowledge, narcissism, self-esteem and self-compassion, finally understanding the main reasons for the importance of self-love in our lives.
Self-awareness and self-love are closely linked, and one can help promote the other.
Self Knowledge refers to understanding your own individuality, desires, strengths and weaknesses, habits and everything else that makes you who you are. This is an important aspect of personal development and self-realization. The idea is that the better you understand yourself, the more able you will be to make choices that align with your personal values and that lead to fulfillment and happiness.
In short, self-knowledge and self-love are deeply interconnected. One feeds the other into a cycle of personal growth and self-discovery.
While narcissism may seem similar to self-love at first glance, they are fundamentally different.
Narcissism is a term that comes from Greek mythology, where Narcissus was a young man of great beauty who fell in love with his own image reflected in a lake and ended up dying when he threw himself into the water in an attempt to embrace himself.
In psychology, narcissism is a characteristic present in the personality of many people in different degrees. However, when it is very pronounced, it can lead to Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This is a clinical diagnosis that is made when the person has a persistent pattern of grandiosity, tending to display an inflated sense of self-importance, often needing constant attention and approval, exploiting others without feeling guilt or remorse, and generally having difficulty maintaining healthy and lasting relationships.
Self-love and self-esteem are related concepts, but they are not exactly the same thing. Here are some key differences:
Self esteem is generally described as our assessment of ourselves, including how we feel about our abilities and emotions. People with high self-esteem often feel confident and capable, while people with low self-esteem may feel insecure or inadequate. Self-esteem tends to be based on how we compare ourselves to others or how we measure ourselves against certain standards or expectations.
Both self-esteem and predominantly high self-esteem are important for emotional and psychological well-being.
Although self-love and self-compassion are related and often overlap, they are not exactly the same thing.
Self compassion involves being kind and understanding to yourself when you are faced with personal failures or difficult situations in life. Rather than ignoring the pain or lashing out with criticism, self-compassion guides us to embrace ourselves willingly, ensuring we remember that imperfections and difficulties are part of the human experience.
In short, self-love and self-compassion are important and complement each other in the journey of personal growth and development.
The main reasons for the importance of Self-Love.
Here are some reasons why self-love is so important.
Having a high level of self-esteem can help protect against mental health issues like depression and anxiety. If you love and value yourself, you are less likely to create criticism or allow negative thoughts about yourself, thus affecting your self-esteem.
Self-love can help you be more resilient and cope better with stress and adversity. When you love yourself, you are more likely to treat yourself with compassion and understanding when you face difficulties, rather than criticizing or blaming yourself.
Self-love is the foundation for healthy relationships. When you love and value yourself, you are better equipped to establish more positive relationships, thus earning more respect and consideration from others.
Self-love can also contribute to physical health. When you love yourself, you are more likely to take care of your physical health by eating right, exercising regularly, and getting enough rest.
Self-love can help you reach your goals and succeed in life. When you love yourself and believe in yourself, you are more likely to take better advantage of opportunities that lead you to achieve your goals.
How I Discovered True Self Love
In 2006, when I started my therapy journey, I was completely unaware of the concept of self-love. My psychologist asked me: “Eurico, what is self-love for you?” I replied that I followed my usual routine seven days a week: working, training and horse racing, earning a good amount of money and acquiring material possessions such as elegant clothes, cars and beautiful houses. I understood that loving myself was related to these activities.
He looked at me and asked if I was willing to learn the true way to love myself, to which I said yes.
It was then that he explained to me: “Eurico, self-love is dedicating yourself daily to taking care of your mind and body. Self-care is like recharging your battery. And when you face difficult situations, this reserve of positive energy will be key to helping you meet these challenges.”
It was from there that I began to incorporate different practices into my routine, such as hobbies that included nature walks and Taekwondo practice. Over time, I also developed an appreciation for the arts.
In addition, I learned to nourish my mind through techniques such as meditation, aromatherapy, positive perspectives with elements of nature. And, as a former athlete, physical exercise has always been part of my routine.
Cultivating this self-esteem has proved to be fundamental to my achievements, both professionally and personally. But, above all, it allowed me to become a more complete and happy person.
“Self love is not the happy ending of a journey, but rather a happy journey.”
Self-love is a crucial part of living a healthy and happy life. It’s important to remember that self-love is a journey, not a destination, and it’s something we can all work on improving throughout our lives.
Self-love directly influences our personal fulfillment. When we love ourselves and believe in our capabilities, we are more determined to seek out opportunities that lead to success and fulfillment.
In conclusion, self-love is much more than it seems. It is an ongoing journey that everyone must undertake to live a fuller, more autonomous and happier life. Understanding and practicing self-love is one of the most significant ways we can improve our quality of life and positively contribute to the world around us.