(Self Love Series #1) 8 ways self love changed my life when I felt lost
When I was a student in college, I often woke up in the mornings with anxiety and uncertainty about my life. I thought it was natural as a young adult, and I clung to the hope that if I studied hard and got a good, stable job and pursued my hobbies, I’d wake up one day to a life that I loved. So after graduating with a high GPA and getting my dream job in tech, I was disappointed to find that I felt just as anxious and uncertain as before.
There was an undercurrent in my existence that affected my daily life and everything I experienced - it was that I somehow did not like myself and was constantly seeking external validation that I mattered.
Here were some symptoms: I had an internal voice that was judgmental and critical of myself and of everything/everyone around me; I would push myself to collect “achievements” at any emotional cost; and I sought constant approval from others.
I’d gotten to a place of relative security and abundance, and the fact that I still wasn’t happy made me feel lost and confused. It took me a while to realize that my own relationship with myself needed to change.
Of course there are many factors that make a fulfilling life, but none of it matters if you don’t love yourself.
Self love is one of the best investments we can make for ourselves and those around us. Contrary to narcissism, self love is simply caring for your own well-being and happiness, just as you do for people you love. It’s a continual practice that includes treating yourself kindly and compassionately (things I’ll get into in later posts in this series).
Ultimately it can change not only your life but the world, too.
Learning to love myself has really been the turning point for me in living a more conscious, vibrant life.
Here are 8 ways it can make a huge difference:
You gain a supporter and best friend.
The person we spend the most time in life with is ourselves, so it’s just as important to develop our relationships with ourselves as it is with others. When you turn the voice in your head into something loving and encouraging instead of overly critical or judgmental, you start becoming your own best friend. And when you carry this support with you, you feel capable of going over any hurdle and taking your life wherever you want to go.
You bounce back a lot faster from failures.
I used to beat myself up whenever I failed at anything. Often this would create spirals of self-doubt and depression. Now if something goes wrong, I’m a lot quicker at dusting myself off to keep going instead of wasting time criticizing myself. Loving yourself unconditionally means knowing that whether you succeed or fail at things does not determine your worth. This also makes it easier to take risks and opportunities without the fear of failure.
You care less about what others think and live more authentically.
A lack of self love often makes us look for love from others. This translates into caring too much what others think, causing anxiety and low self-esteem, not to mention doing things you don’t want to do just to get approval. Instead of following your heart, you fall into the trap of doing what others or society expects of you. With self love, you feel more confident about what’s important to you, more intuitive, and more aligned with things that bring you joy… meaning a more authentic life!
You’re not as dependent on achievements or external validation.
Like many young people I felt so much pressure to “succeed”, to “achieve” this or that. This led me to believe that without achievements, I somehow had no worth. When you learn to love yourself unconditionally, you believe you have inherent worth simply as a human being. There’s no pressure to become someone ‘special’ just to get approval. Ironically this freedom from expectation can make it easier to succeed, as you become lighter and happier and live a more balanced life, which in turn fuels your energy to achieve your goals.
You say "No" more easily.
Part of treating yourself well means to protect your energy. Are you a people-pleaser? Do you take any opportunity that comes your way regardless of how excited you truly are about it? Or maybe it’s the fear of missing out. With self love, you know without guilt that you are a limited resource and there’s only so much you can take on with your precious time on Earth. Thus you get better at prioritizing things that are truly meaningful to you and cutting out the inessential.
Creativity and productivity start flowing from a place of love.
Creatives and high achievers can relate to the struggle of failing to “enjoy the process”. Sometimes we push ourselves too hard or have anxiety about results, and often our identity becomes tied up too much to the work we’re doing especially if the work is important to us. With self love, instead of having work fill your heart, you fill your work with your heart. All whilst being patient and gentle with yourself. I personally notice I produce much better work when I’m in a mindset of love and patience instead of frustrated grinding!
You take yourself less seriously.
Loving yourself means to love and even appreciate your inner child. If that child makes silly mistakes or gets caught up in shenanigans, no biggie.
It’s a big act of kindness for yourself and the world.
When you treat yourself as someone worthy of love and respect, when you develop yourself, you're putting a secure, confident, authentic person out into the world. Who wouldn’t like to be around such a radiant person? It also becomes easier and more natural for you to be big-hearted because you spend less energy trying to fill gaps in yourself - instead you provide your own heart with so much nourishment that you have plenty of love to give to others.
Self love also makes it easier to relate to others, as you understand that everyone is precious to themselves just as you are precious to you. So you act more out of empathy and kindness.
The world is like a mirror. I’ve noticed that when I feel secure, loving, and authentic, I tend to see the good around me, enjoy life more, and have better interactions. The better qualities I put out there, the better the things reflected back to me.
Of course I still experience anxiety from time to time, but unlike before, it’s become much easier to carry myself through the waves of life with love instead of kicking myself down. Instead, I support and lift myself up to live my best life, and both myself and others are happier for it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post about the life-changing power of self love - Part 1 of the Self Love Series! The next posts in this series will go into how to practice self love and develop into a generally more loving person. Don’t forget to sign up for the email newsletter to get updates delivered straight to your inbox!
Wishing you the best,