Making our wellbeing a priority and making time for ourselves are so important, but so is dedicating time to what motivates us to take care of ourselves: self-love.
Self-love is unconditionally accepting who you are and respecting your truth. It’s the respect, trust and compassion you give yourself, the commitment to accepting yourself and to finding new ways to grow. It’s validating yourself, so that you don’t need to look for this in other people or things. It’s understanding that you are the one person who will be with you in every single moment of your life, so this relationship is really worth investing in. It’s knowing that nobody knows you better than you – you are the expert on you. It’s creating your own happiness and knowing that you are the only person who has the power to do this.
Make peace with your past
In order to take steps forward, it’s important to come to a place where we don’t regret our past. If we do have thoughts such as ‘I made the wrong choice’, ‘I made a mistake’, ‘why did this happen to me’, we have to be able to change this. You did what you thought was the right thing to do at the time. You are now a different version of yourself, you’re different to the person you were yesterday. Every single experience we have had, every choice we have made, has shaped us and made us who we are today. You wouldn’t be who you are today without any of the ‘mistakes’ made.
You can’t pour from an empty cup
We cannot give to and take care of others until we love and take care of ourselves first. When we truly love ourselves for who we are, we can practice greater compassion towards others. When you have spent the entire day running round or feeling pulled in several different directions, and still have one hundred other things to do, you can be completely depleted of all your energy and resources – there’s nothing left to give.
Cultivating an attitude of compassion towards ourselves helps is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and our relationships.
Compassion for others
When we are compassionate towards others we let go of judgement, are more accepting of others, empathise with others, try to help others, we listen, we don’t get angry, we prioritise peace. When we cultivate this, we are taking control of the situation by understanding someone else’s feelings.
There are also numerous health benefits associated with this, such as better health and longevity. Researchers at UCLA evaluated levels of cell inflammation (associated with a number of diseases) in people who described themselves as ‘very happy’. They found that people who were happy due to pursuing a life of pleasure still had high inflammation levels.; people who were happy because they lived a life of purpose or meaning had low inflammation levels.