Self-love and why it's important

Self-love and why it's important

"Please ensure that your own life-jacket is fitted before assisting others"

Nifty and Gifty is all about love, expressed by means of gift-giving. Naturally, this tends to focus our attention on our love for others. But what about ourselves? Should we be following the standard international aviation advice, to make sure we're sorted before we're in a good and safe position to turn our attention to others?

This might be a tricky concept for those of us who have been brought up with values that teach us to put others first. Self-love can smack of conceit, perhaps, or selfishness. But increasingly, in our more enlightened times, it's being recognised as vitally important for our well-being. Why is this?

What is self-love?

Let's start with a definition. Self-love is the act of accepting, valuing, and caring for yourself in the same way that you would for loved ones. It involves having a positive self-image and treating oneself with respect and kindness. It's not about loving yourself in a narcissistic or showing-off kind of way.

Self-love is also about self-respect and confidence. It's characterized by acceptance, kindness, and compassion towards oneself. It's about being your own best friend and supporting yourself through thick and thin.

The benefits of self-love

Self-love is essential for our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. This has been studied and evidenced by the work of top therapists, psychologists and respected authors in the spiritual and wellness fields. Benefits include:

Improved self-esteem and confidence

When you recognize your own worth and value, you are are more likely to believe in your abilities. This, in turn, leads to higher self-esteem and confidence, which empower you to pursue your goals and dreams.

Better relationships

This is where the airline advice comes in! When you love yourself, you are more likely to attract healthy and positive relationships into your life. You set healthy boundaries and are less likely to settle for less than you deserve. 

In turn, you more able to love others genuinely and authentically, as you are not seeking validation or approval from them. What could be better than a well-balanced relationship between two happy, healthy, emotionally independent and confident individuals?

Improved mental health

When you love and accept yourself, you are less likely to engage in negative self-talk, self-sabotage, and self-criticism, all of which can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Self-love helps you build resilience and cope with stress and challenges in a healthy and positive way.

Improved physical health

When you love yourself, you are more likely to take care of your body. It is your temple! So you look after it by eating well, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and seeking medical care when needed. 

What the experts say

Marisa Peer

Marisa Peer is a world-renowned hypnotherapist and author who has helped thousands of people overcome their limiting beliefs and transform their lives. Her approach to therapy is based on the belief that we all have a basic human need to feel loved, accepted, and good enough, and that many of our problems stem from a lack of self-love. "The quality of your life is a direct reflection of the relationship you have with yourself," she says.

Marisa has worked with royalty, celebrities and high net-worth individuals - people who, on the face of it, have it all. Yet even some of these people - the absurdly beautiful, talented and wealthy - have self-esteem issues.

Marisa's technique, known as rapid transformational therapy, regresses the patient, under hypnosis, into their subconscious mind in order to pinpoint the trigger that has caused the ongoing feeling of unworthiness. The cause is almost always traced back to a childhood memory or trauma. Even one crass remark from a teacher, friend or parent, along the lines of 'you are not good enough', can be the culprit.

Marisa then uses a combination of positive affirmations, visualizations, and cognitive behavioral techniques to help individuals overcome their limiting beliefs and develop a more positive self-image. The results are dramatic.

Neale Donald Walsch

Neale Donald Walsch, the author of the bestselling book series "Conversations with God," has written extensively about the importance of self-love. I first came across him when listening to a Mindvalley podcast (Mindvalley is an excellent personal development organization). And I have to admit, it was not the best first impression.

Neale had apparently been asked a question during a conference, by a lady who was struggling to find personal happiness. He retorted, "Your life is not all about you" - adding that it was, rather, about everyone else whose lives she touched.

At the time, I thought this comment was rude and dismissive - and I fundamentally disagreed with it. I felt sorry for the questioner. Of course our lives are about us! Everything begins, and ends, with us - even our love of others, and what we do for others, start from ourselves and our own thoughts and desires.

Subsequently, I learned a little more of the context around this comment, which was based on a lesson that Neale learned during his 'Coversations with God." He meant that our lives should be focused on the BIG 'us', that is inextricably melded with others and the world at large, rather than the TINY us that is solely focused on our individual likes, dislikes and desires. That, I can agree with.

Indeed, in his books, Neale agrees with my own point of view - that self-love is the first step towards creating a fulfilling and joyful life. He believes that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience and that self-love is a crucial aspect of our spiritual journey. It's the foundation of all love.

How to achieve self-love

Developing self-love can be challenging, especially in a world that often values external achievements and material possessions over inner growth and self-care. So I've put together these tips, drawing from the teachings of our two experts:

  • Repeat positive affirmations every day, such as "I am enough" or "I am worthy of love and respect." (Marisa recommends writing 'I am enough' in lipstick on your bathroom mirror, so that you receive this reminder every day!)
  • Be careful of your self-talk. If you catch yourself telling yourself you're stupid, or worse, stop! Because it's untrue. Use only positive and compassionate words to yourself.
  • Don't seek external validation from others. 
  • When you make mistakes or experience setbacks, be kind and compassionate to yourself, just as you would be to a friend in the same situation.
  • Tend to your physical, emotional, and mental needs by eating healthily, getting enough sleep, engaging in activities that bring you joy and seeking help when you need it. 
  • Learn to say 'no' to things that don't serve you. Don't feel compelled by the emotional manipulations of others - you don't have to be a people-pleaser.
  • Let go of grudges and resentments, both towards yourself and others, and practice forgiveness as a way of freeing yourself from negative emotions.
  • Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small, and take pride in your abilities and strengths rather than dwell on your weaknesses. "What you focus on, you get more of, so focus on what you love about yourself, and you will attract more of it," says Marisa.
  • Recognize and embrace your individuality and the qualities that make you unique, rather than trying to fit with someone else's expectations or standards.
  • Learn to appreciate and love yourself for who you are, flaws and all. A daily practice of gratitude is useful for reminding yourself of how awesome you really are!
  • Value yourself, stand up for yourself and communicate your needs clearly. "You teach people how to treat you by the way you treat yourself," Marisa reminds us.

Gifts for - yourself

Back to where we began this post - with love and gift-giving. There is no reason why you shouldn't buy a gift for yourself! Just to celebrate YOU. Why not? Anything in our catalog would be suitable, but if you want to follow Marisa Peer's advice to have a constant reminder that 'I am enough', you might like our minimalist heart necklace with message card that says exactly that.

Further resources

If you'd like to learn more about the work of Marisa Peer, she has a website, blog and YouTube channel. This blog post on 6 steps to discovering self-love is particularly pertinent.

Neale Donald Walsch has a website with more information about his books and links to videos of his talks. While his material is religious in nature, there is plenty of content that is of general interest and usefulness, whether you associate with a particular faith or not.

Mindvalley is a ground-breaking global personal development company. They offer a wide range of online courses, some of which include live coaching. They also organize occasional events in different cities of the world, at which talks are given by their teachers and other guest speakers. I have taken a few of their courses and I would recommend them to anyone.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.