Feeling the L-O-V-E for Me!

By: Centerstone

Self-love. It’s a concept we may hear a lot about, but what does it mean? Simply stated, self-love involves our mindset and attitude about ourselves. It’s how we talk to ourselves and embrace our positive characteristics along with things that we might see as flaws. Self-love also involves being able to see the ways that we’ve grown and the ways we want to keep growing.

The difference between self-love and self-care

“Self-care is action-based ways that we take care of our health and wellness, and self-love is our mindset and our feelings towards ourselves,” says Brittany McCrady, Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Centerstone. The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are separate practicesHowever, when we engage in those self-care actions, we are fostering love because we’re taking care of ourselves.

Is loving myself the same as being full of myself?

“So much in life is about balance,” McCrady adds, “things can tip towards being egotistical or being full of yourself when you are excessively inserting yourself, or talking about yourself in a context when it isn’t necessary and, in turn, you aren’t able to be present for someone else.”

We can be confident and believe in ourselves without putting other people down, dismissing others, or believing that we are superior to others. We can want to be the best version of ourselves without thinking we’re better than other people.

Different ways to practice self-love that come from within:

Talk to yourself the way you’d talk to a friend or loved one. Speak to yourself with the same compassion, encouragement, and support that you would for your best friend.

Set boundaries and expectations with others. Show yourself and others that you and your time are valuable by saying “no” to things that don’t prioritize your time or energy.

Recognize challenges you’ve overcome and celebrate achievements. Take the time to intentionally say ‘Heck yes, I did that’. Make space to reflect and sit in that accomplishment and give yourself credit for a job well done. Every accomplishment no matter how big or small can be celebrated!

Practice positive affirmations. While affirmations aren’t for everyone, they need to make sense for you if you want them to be effective. Generic affirmations can be ineffective because they may not apply specifically to your goals. For example, instead of saying, ‘I’m a good leader,’ try being more specific and say ‘I create a safe and calm environment for the people that I supervise.’

Choose to surround yourself with positivity. We can work on how we treat ourselves and how we talk to ourselves, but that gets easier when we’re around others and in environments that send us the same types of messages.

Challenges to cultivating self-love

Things happen in life that can impact our inner dialogue. This could be trauma or significant, repeated events that instilled certain messages that can be hard to unlearn. “Some people aren’t starting with a clean slate when it comes to being proud of themselves,” adds McCrady. This could also come from our environment or how we saw our parents, siblings, and friends talking to and about us and themselves. These influences have the power to form how we talk about and see ourselves.

What are the mental health benefits of self-love?

  • Self-love can develop your confidence and resilience. When hard things happen, having confidence and self-assurance can help make it easier to bounce back
  • Improves your self-esteem and overall view of yourself
  • Help you handle stressful situations more easily
  • This can lead to improved relationships with others. When you love yourself, you’re better at loving others

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