Self-Love is critical for happiness in your life for many reasons. Self-love is defined as a deliberate act that you make in order to provide care and compassion for yourself, first and foremost. Many people think of self-love as a day at the spa or a bubble bath…. but self-love means so much more than that.
On a deeper level, self- love includes having a higher regard for your own well-being. Self-love looks like trusting yourself, asserting boundaries and an overall deeper connection to yourself, which in turn can connect you with others. Self-love can also include talking kindly to oneself or prioritizing rest when you need it.
It can be challenging to understand how important loving yourself is…. however, even more challenging is what can happen when you don’t offer self-love. Your happiness is dependent on how you take care of yourself and self-love has been linked to increased resilience and capacity to see things from a new perspective. When you put yourself last or fail to love yourself, you will notice increased stress, anxiety and reactivity to the little things that you may have ignored beforehand. Things will feel more difficult, overwhelming and lead to you feeling depleted and overall, more unhappy.
Maybe your day to day looks something like this:
You are working increased hours from home…and feeling the pressure. Being in desperate need of a vacation and can’t seem to justify time off for yourself. Not really feeling like you deserve the time off and can’t even ask for it for fear of others thinking you are weak or can’t handle the workload. You lower your voice and settle on asking for some time off when it’s convenient for “everyone” on the team (even though it’s evident you need it now!).
At the same time, you feel an obligation to be there for your kids, your spouse, and your best friend, who is going through a lot. You feel pressure to help everyone and, in the meantime, you are lacking sleep and not taking care of yourself because it seems everyone needs you. Feeling resentment and wonder why you feel sad and sometimes even mad. You go along with what everyone else wants, even if it doesn’t feel right to you or is completely draining. You feel you’ve lost your voice and it feels like no one cares.
Eventually you wind up in a place where you are extremely unhappy and feel like you are not good enough.
You feel like you are lacking empathy for others, but you don’t bring it up because you don’t want people to think you’re selfish…. and you realize that you care deeply about what people think and say about you.
The truth is, self-love is difficult to learn, and it takes work and practice to stay consistent in loving you. Many people feel guilty choosing themselves first. However, self-love is critical to your happiness and growth.
It’s true that learning ways to provide self-love, is extremely challenging, however, there are many reasons that self-love is critical to your own happiness. When we learn the reasons why self-love is important for ourselves, it is entirely possible to relish in your own happiness, despite what is going on in the world around you. Keep reading to learn the reasons why it is so critical to embrace self-love for increased happiness in your life.
5 Critical Reasons Self-Love is Necessary for Happiness
#1. To Liberate Yourself from Comparisons
Who do you compare yourself to and why? When we compare ourselves to others, it is a total and utter set up for failure. Why? People who truly love themselves realize that comparison doesn’t feel good… ever… yet sometimes, they continue to do it. Teddy Roosevelt once said “Comparison is the thief of joy” … and he’s absolutely right!! How many times have you been scrolling through social media and seen an acquaintance bragging about their “perfect” life?
The beautiful house, the car, the happy perfect family… Well, what you don’t know is that on the inside, that family may be doing their own family therapy, and they are about to lose their home and it’s creating stress and arguments. In fact, they just signed up for marital therapy too and they are actually considering divorce and haven’t had sex in a year. The lesson is, what’s on the outside may not be what’s really going on behind the scenes… and it’s okay… but here we are comparing our life to their “perfect picture”, feeling envious… and also feeling worse than an hour ago, before we started scrolling.
When we allow ourselves to buy into a feeling of inferiority through comparison or that the “grass is greener”, we invalidate our own gifts and achievements.
We envy those with more than we have, and discount what is in our own life. When we can fully grasp the gratitude for what we truly have, instead of wondering if it’s enough, we will be less likely to compare ourselves to others and enhance our own happiness.
At Simi Psychological Group, we take self-love seriously and value what serves you in your life. We will help you to let go of comparisons in your life and truly embrace what’s yours. Through self-exploration we can really get to the bottom of the messages you receive and give to yourself that are not helpful and impeding your ability for self-love. Once you learn to love yourself, you will never feel the need to go back into old ways and comparisons to others…because you and your life will be enough.
#2 To Live Life in Alignment to Values
What are your values? Are they family? Friends? Success? Kindness? Are you living in alignment with your values? If you are not practicing self-love, it is highly probable that one or more areas in these categories are slipping. For instance, your “family” value may not be aligned in the life you are living because you lack self-love. You may notice you have a hard time being present with your family and are missing the special moments, or you just don’t have the energy for them. Or perhaps your value is kindness, however, you have been increasingly irritated or easy to react… and cannot be kind right now… Why? Because you are running on empty and everyone is getting your love, except you.
When you allow for self-love, you make time for you… to replenish yourself, to get the rest you need or just some quiet time. Once you are recharged and have some you-time, you will find you are more present with those you love and care for… and feel overall happier.
In anxiety therapy and depression therapy, I assess values, to find out what is important to you in your life and how to help find cracks where you are not living in line with those values. Most times, lack in these areas result from a lack of self-love. Understanding what you value can be eye opening and a motivating factor to begin to take your happiness back and live the life you want.
Think about someone who is confident… How do they act? Do they seem secure in their opinions? Do they use their voice? Are they a good listener too? Self-love enhances confidence in yourself because you allow yourself to accept you… just as you are. You aren’t so hung up on your flaws or the fact that you fumbled over some words during that zoom training. Being human and forgiving to yourself. You trust yourself and behave as such and you never judge or are harsh to criticize yourself. When you allow yourself to embrace all that you are you will notice you won’t feel shame or insecurity for not being something else.
In my work, I see many clients who have lost their confidence due to lack of self-love. Many of them don’t even realize it. Also, if they are harsh or critical to themselves, they are probably very harsh with others too. When you can begin to offer compassion to yourself, especially during the challenging times in life, you will begin to gain confidence and as a result, increase the happiness in your life. Allow us to help you in this journey.
#4. Resilience Through Challenges
Let’s face it, it’s a hard time in the world! We are faced with new challenges that we’ve never seen before… With COVID19, social distance learning and trying to manage working from home and running a household, it’s normal to struggle. However, sometimes when we face hard times, we grow. We realize our own strength and we learn to see challenges as lessons or “lily pads” to jump to the next level of life. Personally, through the hardest and most challenging times in my own life, I learned to value myself, set boundaries with others, and yes… love myself.
When you can truly learn self-love, you will be quicker to forgive yourself through hardships and learn that everything will work out for the best. You will learn to talk to yourself the way you would talk to a loved one, or a small child…with love, kindness and a gentle tone.
At Simi Psychological Group, we see a lot of people with serious hardships…. How quickly and effectively they pull through sometimes depends on their levels of self-love.
Allow us to support you during these delicate times and find how self-love works wonders in your life. Once you begin the process, you will see how much better you feel and how essential this practice really is.
#5. Maintain Healthy Relationships
Whether its friends, family or a romantic relationship, self-love enhances these relationships. In essence, we teach others how to treat us. If we don’t have self-love or self-respect, we may notice others feel they have the greenlight to disrespect us too. Through self-love, you set the standard of how you will accept being treated in any relationship. Sometimes when we are treated poorly, we must examine our own self-love. How strong are your boundaries with others? Are you a “people pleaser”?
Learning to trust yourself and use your voice to communicate what’s right for you, can help you avoid things like saying “yes” when you really mean “no”, or allowing someone to disrespect you. When you truly love yourself, you have no tolerance for people who don’t respect you or value you. You also will learn to set boundaries and protect your own energy.
In anxiety therapy in Simi Valley, Ca, I work with many clients that report being “people pleasers”, almost like it’s a badge of honor… and usually while laughing a bit about it.
Once we explore how people pleasing is not serving them, deeper emotions arise, and I often hear reports of resentment and depression arising, resulting in tearful sessions and lots of healing and release.
In therapy, I focus on how your relationships are a direct result of your magnitude of self-love. Understanding your worth and value as a person prevents you from ever settling from less than you deserve in any relationship. Allow me to show you how and help you through this journey of empowerment and happiness.
Self-love can seem like a hard behavior to begin… and where to even start? It can seem selfish to put yourself first and to set standards in your life that work for you. However, implementing self-love can enhance various parts of your life and is critical to increasing your overall happiness. It is entirely possible to live a healthy, happy and fulfilling life with the addition of self-love. Choose self-love, unapologetically, and learn to release the guilt holding you back and keeping you unhappy. Truly loving yourself is the direct path to a happier life.
We here at Simi Psychological Group are here to help you increase self-love and improve your happiness! Call us today and allow us to help you and your teenager through the process.
Written by Dr. Reena Becerra
I believe that through self-compassion, inspiration and hope it is possible for anyone to reach their deepest and truest goals. My focus is working with children, adolescents, and families that struggle with Anxiety, ADHD, Depression and relationship issues. I also have a strong passion for working with adults with a history of trauma. Healing, self-love and acceptance and growing through transformation, are all within reach. Learning to truly love and connect with one’s self and others is a true gift and it is my honor to be on this journey with you. Learn more