Health and Harmony
Happiness is an Inside Job
We’ve all heard the safety message on the plane when the flight attendant tells you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others with theirs. There’s a reason they do this – because you cannot help others if you cannot breathe yourself. Self-love works pretty much the same way. You cannot give love to others if you do not know how to have that love within yourself.
And if you do not love yourself, you may feel you do not have the ability to love others. If you are giving love all the time, constantly draining your energy and emptying your own tank – you may be trying to give love from an empty space.
It’s tempting to seek happiness outside of you and although you may find temporary happy moments, you may not find long lasting happiness. The truth is, the more you love yourself the better you will feel. And the better you feel, the happier you become. Because only you are in charge of your happiness – and self-love is the key to finding it.
Constantly giving your time and energy to others leads to depletion, emptiness and exhaustion. However, when you remember to put your mask on first and stock up on self-love, you will be giving love from a fully replenished and energised tank.
The problem is -there is a notion that self-love is selfish. But it’s actually about connecting to your needs and honouring who you truly are. Loving yourself is magical – a divine relationship that will help you radically improve every aspect of your life.
We are taught from an early age to put others first and this is likely why setting aside time to love ourselves can feel selfish – bringing up feelings of guilt. So, we know we need self-love but struggle to give ourselves permission to experience it. The more you love yourself though, the less you will tolerate being treated poorly. You will get a clear understanding of what you will and will not accept in your life.
Self-love is an ongoing and continuous practice. Sometimes it can be more difficult than others – much like anything that needs work. And when you put these changes in place, they have the power to push you towards becoming a healthy, functioning adult – able to take on new challenges.
Self-love is also an inside job which means letting go of the negative language you use towards yourself and recognising all the good that others see if you. It is also very much connected with how you treat your physical body. If you eat unhealthy foods, don’t move your body daily, don’t drink enough water – you probably won’t feel too good about yourself.
When you think of eating in terms of fuelling as opposed to filling, think about moving your body to strengthen your bones and muscles and become more discerning about your TV viewing – choosing positive and motivating programmes – then it becomes much easier to create a positive image of yourself. When your mental, emotional and physical needs are being met from within you will be able to think and work much more efficiently.
One of the most powerful ways to practice self-love is to use daily practices such as mindfulness, affirmations and practicing daily gratitude. Being mindful builds mental and emotional stamina. The big bonus here is that on the days when you might ordinarily be harsher on yourself you can be much more compassionate. Self-love is key for mental wellbeing and helps to boost your mood and keep anxiety at bay. If your daily conversations are unkind and harsh – that will definitely not be good for your mental wellbeing.
As you learn how to love yourself – warts and all – it’s easier to accept that you are important and valuable. The way you grow to love yourself is by behaving in positive ways that support you physically, psychologically and emotionally. When you let down the barriers preventing you from self-love you will find it easier to form lasting and loving relationships with others.
As you begin to love yourself you will find your life falling in to place in unexpected ways allowing you to design a life you love around thoughts and feelings that make you healthy and happy.
Where we struggle in being able to show ourselves kindness and compassion is a belief that we need to be perfect. The truth is – human beings have flaws. Using language towards yourself – about your shape, your eyes being too small, your nose being too big – is language you would never use towards your best friends, so why would you choose to use it to yourself.
Saying goodbye to your inner bully, not constantly giving yourself a hard time - means that you can allow yourself to be kind, patient and exercise true self-love.
"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection" BUDDHA