Self-love. I always thought that was for people with big egos… I have always tried to be humble and compassionate, so I didn’t think I should pay attention to loving myself. In meantime, I was full of self-criticism and self-doubt.
“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”– Louise Hay
Finally, through my yoga practice, I became open to the idea of self-love and realized it wasn’t about having a “big ego” or about being narcissistic. It was about accepting yourself, respecting yourself, and allowing yourself to truly be loved without looking for it from some outside source.
I realized that I first had to love myself and be compassionate towards myself before I could genuinely love and be compassionate towards others. Wow. That was big for me.
Once I did that, I noticed deep changes in who I was, how I viewed others, and my life.
Here are four benefits that I discovered on my path to self-love, that turn out to be backed by science.
- Increased Willpower & Strength – Previously, I would be filled with self-doubt. The more I loved myself, the more that I believed in myself. I felt like I could I could do the things I needed to do to take care of myself and really value who I was as a person instead of neglecting my own needs. I ate healthier, I exercised more, I entered into healthier relationships.
- Increased Motivation & Productivity – When I criticized myself, I would feel bad about myself, and then I wouldn’t accomplish the goals that I had set out to do because I didn’t feel that I deserved them or was good enough. When I focused on self-love and self-acceptance, I was more likely to put the work in to make my goals a reality… For example, it allowed me to believe in myself enough to start my own business helping other women who have been through trauma with yoga and mindfulness practices.
- Less Stress – Self-compassion triggers the parasympathetic nervous system which releases the hormones associated with stress reduction. There you go – science. When you have a parasympathetic response, anxiety is reduced and you feel better.
- More Kindness & Compassion – I found that when I loved and accepted myself, I was able to love and accept others. I was very critical of myself, yearning for perfection, and that would lead me to be critical of others. But, when I saw myself, just as I was, and loved myself, I was able to see that each person is unique. We all have our flaws, NO ONE is perfect, but we all deserve love and compassion.
“I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect.”– Maya Angelou
Please, be kind to yourself today. Love yourself. You are lovely just as you are.
May you have peace within,