Gradually it is becoming acceptable to say you love yourself. What do we mean by the term, ‘loving yourself’? To love yourself is not about thinking you are more beautiful or better than those around you. It means you accept yourself as you are and take care of your needs. When you love yourself, you can feel love for others and accept them, ‘warts and all’. Also when you project an attitude that you respect and love yourself this encourages others to love you in return.
It was back in the 1950s that Erich Fromm, a German social philosopher and psychologist, suggested self love or loving yourself involves knowing and respecting oneself and also caring for and taking responsibility for oneself. However, it seems this wasn’t part of the general life of women back in the fifties. A woman’s job was to take care of and love others. If she had said she loved herself that would have been disapproved of.
These days you can find information on the importance of loving yourself. What can you do to ‘love yourself’?
1. Listen to and respect your own feelings. It can be easier to take note of how others feel (or how you think they feel) than be really in tune with your own feelings. Sometimes you may think others will be disappointed or cross if you choose a particular action so you do what you think will keep them happy. Meanwhile you are not happy. In effect you are telling yourself your feelings don’t matter.
Acknowledge all your feelings, including the not-so-nice ones. Ask yourself why you feel resentful, neglected, angry or jealous. Painful feelings need to be addressed and you shouldn’t blame yourself for sometimes having them. Treat yourself gently and with compassion.
2. Know that you have a right to express your ideas and opinions. Respect the right of others to have their own views and give yourself that right too.
3. When you are free to choose, pick to be with people who are positive and loving. Avoid those who are judgemental or unkind. You deserve to be around positive people who are supportive.
4. Create a balance of work and play in your life. Schedule time to relax and recharge your batteries. It is important to be busy and get certain tasks done but time to meditate, daydream and relax is also important.
5. Take care of your physical needs, your time and your personal space.
What are the benefits of loving yourself? Nia Peeples, an American singer and actress born in 1961 said, ’You have to love yourself. That's the single most powerful thing. Out of that springs: How are you eating? How are you exercising? How are you resting?’
If you think you don’t matter much and that other people are more worthy than you it follows you won’t take much care of yourself. Others in your life will get used to you putting yourself last and will tend to follow suit.
Going back a few decades the idea of a woman loving herself probably wasn’t given much, if any thought. Slowly things are changing. Loving yourself is not self centred but a way of making sure you are the best you possible and this benefits everyone.