How loving yourself leads to better health and success

Michelle Velan, Founder of Wondersource

Loving yourself is a beautiful thing. Self-love is a powerful force that will positively affect every single aspect of your life. Studies discovered that you’re more likely to enjoy well-being, resilience and success when you show yourself self-compassion. Self-love provides the fuel that boosts our moods, job performance and achievement. Studies from the University of Wisconsin show the more self-compassion you have, the greater your emotional arsenal.

The researchers discovered that compassion meditation changes the brain, affecting brain regions that make you more empathetic to other people. Positive emotions like loving-kindness and compassion can be developed in the same way as learning a language or being proficient in a sport. The imaging revealed brain circuits that detect emotions were dramatically changed in subjects who had extensive practice in compassion meditation. Other studies show that the expression of empathy has far-reaching effects in your personal and professional lives. If you cultivate the habit of loving-kindness self-talk, you change the way your brain fires in the moment. Forgiving yourself for previous slip-ups like procrastination, for example, offsets further procrastination. A survey of 119 Carleton University students who forgave themselves after procrastinating on the first midterm exam were less likely to delay studying for the second one.

Many of us look outside of ourselves for love and validation, and underestimate the importance of self-love. But no amount of love and affection from another person or achievement will make you feel whole and worthy, and you can never feel safe if you don’t have confidence in your talents and develop self-love.

So how can you learn to love yourself deeply and feel more self-confident?

Thankfully, self-love and confidence are skills that can be developed. It has to start with a commitment to loving ourselves and overcoming our limiting thoughts and living a life that truly lights us up.

Practicing self-love will allow you to be good to yourself and in the process become a better human being. You can improve your relationship by learning to love yourself and practicing self-love. This is essential if you want to develop a strong connection with other people. Although it takes time to develop self-love, you will undoubtedly get better at it.

Here are some ways you can cultivate self-love:

  • Praise yourself. Even if you’re under stress or no where near where you want to be, consider all that you’ve already accomplished. You will be one step closer to being the best version once you discover how to be kind to yourself.
  • Ditch perfectionism. Striving for excellence is not a bad thing in itself. In fact, it can lead to building incredible things. Perfectionism is different. Perfectionism is about controlling outcomes that are often out of our control. Work hard, know where you want to go, have faith and self-belief, but you also have to have faith and trust that while you’ll encounter failures and missteps along the way, ultimately, you’re doing your best and you can never fully avoid making any mistakes. Some things are out of our control.
  • Stop comparing yourself. We tend to compare ourselves when we don’t feel like we’re on our path or we have decided that we’re not capable of achieving what we might like to achieve. Don’t count yourself out. Ever. Try to be happy for others by recognising that there’s room for everyone to succeed (even if it seems so far away). It starts with getting clear on what you want to achieve and making small steps daily to become that version of yourself living the life of your dreams.
  • Slow down and embrace stillness. “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” wrote the French philosopher Blaise Pascal. Stillness helps to reduce our stress, bring clarity and strength to our visions and find peace in challenging moments.
  • Recite affirmations that resonate and will help you achieve your goals.
    – I’m willing to be seen
    – I’m willing to step into my true power and the absolute greatest version of myself
    – I’m willing to believe in myself and keep going no matter what, even when I feel alone or lost
    – I’m healthy, healed and healing every day
    – I love myself deeply and I deserve the very best
    – My business is a huge success
    – I manifest my dreams with ease
    – I’m worthy of living the life of my dreams
    – I’m willing to release judgements and make space for magic and miracles
  • Journal. Journaling can help us gain clarity, work through challenging thoughts and boost resilience and mood.
    Practice gratitude. There is so much research on the benefits of gratitude. Write down things you’re grateful for each day whether they’re big or small, there are so many things to be grateful for. You can be grateful for the coffee you had that morning, for the chance encounter you had with a friend, and more. Ideally, add one thing that you’re grateful for about yourself. Maybe it’s your ability to commit to your goals no matter how far out of reach they may seem or your ability to show kindness to yourself and others even when you’re feeling down.
  • Meditate. Try a guided meditation on self-love or healing the heart chakra. Check out two of our favorites (see here and here)
  • Be playful and allow yourself to have more fun. Get in the habit of lightening up and not taking yourself too seriously. Too often, we think we have to be serious until we’ve achieved our goals or gotten to where we need to be. This is just not true. Love yourself today by allowing in more enjoyment. Do more of what you enjoy.
  • Get enough sleep. This is so key. It’s fundamental to feel good about ourselves, keep negative thoughts at bay and manage stress. Not sure where to start? Read this blog post with key tips.
  • Limit alcohol and eat well. Limit processed foods, sugar and any foods that upset you. For many, cutting out dairy and gluten can make a big difference. Everyone is different and what I might need to eat to feel good, might be completely different from you.
  • Take up space. Right now, exactly as you are, start taking up space. Know that taking up space is a birthright and something we innately know how to do, but not everyone feels able to do it. But it’s something well worth working towards. The amount of space you take up in all aspects of your life has an impact on people’s perceptions—but more importantly, it has an impact on how you feel on the inside and how you own your voice. And it starts with how you physically take up space and how you vocally take up space. ‘I always think that’s the most important thing—to feel like you belong in every room you’re in.’ – Shonda Rhimes
  • Check in with your emotions often. Ask yourself how you’re feeling and what you need throughout the day? The more we tend to ourselves and our needs, the better and emotionally resilient we become. When you feel a difficult emotion like anger, sadness or fear try telling yourself: “I understand why you feel this way. That is totally understandable in this situation. You are so strong and even though it hurts right now, you are going to make it through.” Let yourself feel it without judging yourself, attaching to it or rushing to make yourself feel better. A person who feels that their emotions are not “wrong” or inappropriate is more apt to have a solid sense of identity and worth and can manage emotions more effectively. Furthermore, emotional validation helps open the door to self-compassion: Feeling that our emotions are valid helps us avoid shame and self-blame, so we can respond to them with confidence.
  • Be for yourself. A key step to practice self-love is to be for you—not against you. When going through a challenging time, we often look to others for guidance or validation–learn to validate yourself instead and develop a connection to your intuition and inner knowing. In times of distress, talking yourself off the ledge with a compassionate voice in a calm, comforting tone helps you cope and soften towards yourself. Too many of us berate ourselves, call ourselves names or shame ourselves. Often they can be subtle but it’s important to have a look at them so we don’t chip away at our self-worth. For example, do you think you should be further along in your life or career? While it’s good to keep moving forward and making steps in the direction of your goals, we also don’t want to shame ourselves or make ourselves feel as if there’s something wrong. Remind yourself you are exactly where you’re meant to be. Everyone is on a different journey and you’ll get to where you’re meant to be in the perfect time.
  • Forgive yourself for shortcomings and see them for what they are: habits, old behavior patterns or just plain mistakes that all of us make. Making mistakes makes you human! Forgive yourself again and again. When you’re more loving toward yourself and accept your limitations with compassion, you deal only with the stressful experience, not the added negative feelings from self-judgment. The more self-compassion you show yourself, the more empathy you will have for others. The best medicine is to give yourself pep talks or positive affirmations. Give yourself some credit every time you finish a project, reach a successful milestone or accomplish a goal at work. Whether you’re dealing with a small hassle or a big crisis, a nurturing voice reduces stress and provides the calm and clarity to scale career obstacles.

Self-love is something that you have to commit to and work towards. Get out there and pursue the activities that ignite your passion. Enjoy them, enjoy who you are, and take in your amazing life.

=========

Wondersource provides life-changing holistic care that supports employees and individuals to live their happiest, healthiest, most empowered life – at work and at home. Join our next workshop to help you proactively support your mental health. Book a call with us today to help you find the right expert for you and feel the change through living well and generating happiness like never before. Email us to learn more or with any questions at admin@wondersource.co

 

Explore the world of Wondersource with
our free resource of short and long reads