Self-love, which is also often referred to as self-compassion, involves taking care of your own needs, accepting your weaknesses and failures as well as your strengths, and staying in touch with your emotions. Because selflessness is such a prized virtue in many circles, many believe self-love is egoistical. Caring for other people is important, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your own well-being. Why? Here are ten good reasons:
#1 Self-love helps reduce stress
Self-care is a significant part of self-love. When you love yourself, you recognize signs of burnout and can take steps to reduce your stress. Without self-love, you might not believe you deserve a break. The thought of doing something “just for me” might be very challenging to accept. You are therefore more likely to power through a stressful time even when it hurts. People with healthy self-love are more willing to take time to care for themselves when they’re stressed.
#2 Self-love can help you develop healthier habits
Data suggests that loving yourself can help you make better health decisions. In a Health Psychology meta-analysis of 15 studies, researchers found that when people accepted themselves without harsh judgment, they were more motivated to make positive changes in their life. One study showed this was the case when people began to quit smoking. Other behaviors included eating healthier and exercising. Self-compassion helped people form new, healthier habits.
#3 Self-love improves your emotional resilience
During hard times, it’s easy to slip into despair. Depending on the environment you’re in, you might be dealing with people who blame you for your hardships. You might blame yourself. Self-love helps counter negative, critical self-talk and put things in perspective. Even if your struggles are a result of a mistake you made, self-love encourages you to learn from the mistake and move forward. This builds your emotional resilience and prepares you for future challenges.
#4 Self-love improves your relationships
There’s a common saying that states you can’t truly love others until you love yourself. While this quip is a bit extreme, loving yourself does help improve your relationships with others. When you love yourself, you won’t feel as dependent on other people for your sense of worth. This helps you set boundaries or, if necessary, end unhealthy relationships. People who love themselves also tend to understand themselves better, which helps them identify the kinds of relationships they want or don’t want.
#5 Self-love makes you more productive
Procrastination is a productivity killer. To get yourself motivated, you might resort to harsh tactics. Some people use threats of self-punishment to try and get going on a task, but research suggests that’s not an effective motivator. It’s better to have compassion for yourself when you procrastinate. Use your “failure” as a learning opportunity for the future. Instead of being bogged down with self-criticism, you’ll feel lighter and ready to make changes to your behavior.
#6 Self-love can help manage anxiety and depression symptoms
Research suggests that people with high levels of self-compassion have a lower risk for developing anxiety or depression. This doesn’t mean that you’re incapable of loving yourself if you’re anxious or depressed. It does imply that aspects of self-love (such as self-care, self-compassion, and positive self-talk) can help manage symptoms. Self-love can also help free you from the common belief that mental illness is somehow your fault.
#7 Self-love can increase your happiness
Accepting and loving yourself is linked to higher satisfaction with life, and therefore, more happiness. When you’re constantly analyzing your flaws and criticizing your choices, it’s hard to feel happy about anything. Self-love encourages you to think of yourself like a dear friend. You can acknowledge that you’re not perfect, but still worthy of acceptance and support.
#8 Self-love boosts your confidence
It’s very difficult to feel confident if you’re focused on criticizing yourself. People with negative self-talk often struggle with low self-esteem. A lack of confidence naturally follows. If you want to feel more confident, self-love is a good way to exercise that muscle. Recognize your worth and skills, be compassionate when you’re frustrated with yourself, and you’ll notice your confidence building.
#9 Self-love helps you achieve your goals
Self-love teaches that your dreams deserve priority. It isn’t selfish to go after what you want in life. People may try to tell you otherwise, but as long as you aren’t trampling on others to reach your goals, you should live life in the way that fulfills you. Self-love also provides the tools you need to achieve your dreams, such as reduced stress, emotional resilience, increased productivity, and confidence.
#10 Self-love inspires others
The concept of self-love can be very challenging. You might be working through the belief that says self-love equals selfishness. The benefits of self-love we’ve given thus far may not be quite convincing enough. Consider this: loving yourself helps other people. Like happiness, self-love can be contagious. If you model what a healthy relationship with self looks like, it helps others see why that’s important. They’ll begin to practice more self-care and self-compassion. Everyone around you – and not just you – benefits when you love yourself.