It's Really Okay to Love Yourself First - Here's How
Yes, it’s really okay to love yourself first.
In fact, it's essential! Go ahead, tell yourself how wonderful you are and give yourself some love, even if it's difficult to say.
Begin your healing practice. It's never too late. Doing this does not mean you should be self-centered, not taking into account the needs of those around you. Rather, invest in yourself, your time, and your needs, appreciating the amazing person you are.
Caring for yourself and valuing your needs will translate into a more confident, happier, and healthier you. Sometimes, women put themselves last after taking care of everything and everyone else first—the kids, their work, household responsibilities. You need to be a little selfish - a good kind of selfish - to love yourself first, remembering you are important too.
“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.” - Mandy Hale
When was the last time you did something unapologetically for yourself, by yourself, and without the “okay” from others?
I'm talking about the things we don't make time for, the things we don't do because we guilt ourselves into thinking we are not deserving. I'm referring to the things we need for ourselves, by ourselves, and take pleasure in without seeking approval from others.
So often, we live with the belief that we don't deserve to be as happy as someone else or entitled to the things that we know will bring us joy. This limiting belief is all in your head! Your thoughts are merely your own unconscious beliefs, handed down to you and programmed in your mind, most likely during childhood.
But remember, it's time to break free from these self-imposed limitations and embrace the power of loving yourself first. Give yourself permission to prioritize your own happiness and pursue the things that bring you joy. You are deserving of all the happiness and fulfillment that life has to offer. Let go of the guilt and let yourself experience the true joy of self-acceptance and self-love.
Let me tell you in case this resonates with you-
YOU ARE WORTHY!
Have Patience and Forgiveness for Yourself
All you have to do is stop that nagging voice in your head that defaults to the loop of self-sabotage. It takes practice, a lot of effort, and forgiveness. Be patient with yourself and understand one thing: what you are feeling, we all feel at one time or another. The trick is not to dwell in these feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness. Forget about trying to please everyone else at the expense of your own happiness.
You see, we often adhere to an invisible rule of thumb, dropping hints or planting ideas over time to friends, family, or colleagues in the hope of gaining their approval before we embrace our own path. This validation helps solidify our desires.
But why do we do this? Why is it so necessary to seek the approval of others on our personal journey towards fulfillment and pleasure?
Well, we engage in this behavior because we are human beings who naturally desire a sense of belonging and fear rejection. We are wired to be social and crave acceptance, and this fear often hinders our motivation to fully embrace our impulses.
For some individuals, self-love and prioritizing themselves comes naturally. However, society often labels this as being selfish. Unfortunately, the word "selfish" has developed a negative connotation over time. Technically, it is defined as being excessively or exclusively concerned with oneself, seeking personal advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others. This negative perception has led to an association between selfishness and self-centeredness. However, it's important not to confuse selfishness with greed, as the latter stems from a lack of self and is not what we strive for.
In reality, loving yourself first is about recognizing your worth, honoring your needs, and nurturing your well-being in a balanced way. It's about establishing healthy boundaries and practicing self-care without neglecting the needs of others.
When you prioritize self-love, you cultivate a strong foundation of self-worth and inner strength, which allows you to show up fully for yourself and for others. It's about finding a harmonious equilibrium between self-fulfillment and considering the well-being of those around you.
Fortunately, we are now experiencing a shift in culture—a more empowering and uplifting perspective that not only accepts self-love but encourages it. We are surrounded by the notion that it's okay to be more selfish, but in a positive sense. This means practicing self-care, ensuring your own well-being, and finding fulfillment and happiness in your life choices. Only when you are complete and content can you genuinely and freely give of yourself to others without resentment.
Give yourself permission to love yourself unapologetically
If we neglect our own well-being, we are unable to meet our own needs. Consider this: How can you offer support and care when you are physically and emotionally depleted? The truth is, you can't sustainably give from an unhealthy state. Trying to do so will inevitably lead to unraveling and falling apart. It's a gradual process of suffering.
As a mother, I have personally experienced the toll of running on empty, striving to meet the needs of my children while neglecting my own. There was a point where it seemed like life was on the verge of falling apart, and I realized something crucial. I asked myself, "What good am I if I'm shattered into a million pieces?"
I couldn't pinpoint the exact source of this realization, but it became crystal clear to me that I wouldn't be of any use to anyone if I allowed myself to remain in a state of chaos. It was then that I made a conscious decision to take control and make positive changes in my life. At that time, I was just beginning a transformative self-growth journey of shifting my mindset, nurturing self-confidence, and cultivating inner self-love.
SHIFT YOUR MINDSET
Don't you want to set a positive example for your children? The truth is, they already look up to you, so why not become a role model you can be proud of? Be strong, but also embrace your weaknesses to gain a deeper understanding of yourself. Make it a priority to spend quality time alone with just yourself, allowing yourself to indulge in personal pleasures that require no approval from others. Dedicate time each day to self-love, to satisfy your soul in a self-centered way, without causing harm to others.
During my teenage years, while living at home, there was a framed plaque hanging on our wall with the words, "happy wife, happy life." Perhaps you've heard this phrase before. At the time, I believed it was a message directed at my dad, a not-so-subtle hint for husbands to prioritize their wives' happiness. It couldn't have been more obvious to me that my mother intended to convey this message. Although the sentiment is sweet, let's be realistic—it is ultimately your own responsibility to ensure your own happiness and pursue the things that bring you joy. Times have certainly changed, haven't they?
As our society and cultural landscape continue to evolve, our values and beliefs also adapt to the changing times. The influence of culture and current trends plays a significant role in shaping our interactions and thoughts. Back in 1988, I held the assumption that my father's primary role was to make my mother happy. However, as we fast-forward 30 years, I no longer feel as compelled to hold that same belief.
No one can make you happy but yourself
We've all heard the adages like "no one can make you happy but yourself" or "you are the creator of your own happiness." While the world may seem to emphasize a self-centered perspective, there's now a softer and more compassionate approach to self-love. It's important to note that even as I express this, there is an ongoing discussion surrounding the rise of digital narcissism and the constant need for instant validation. Enter platforms like Instagram, where we preach the importance of self-love. The irony is hard to ignore, don't you think?
Spend time alone with just yourself, and remember your mental health is part of your overall health.
Recognize that while we dedicate ourselves to others and prioritize our loved ones, we should also treat ourselves as a priority. Know that it's really okay to love yourself first, and is not a selfish act, but rather a necessary step towards practicing self-care, self-advocacy, and self-awareness. This self-love provides us with the foundation to face life's challenges, to persevere with determination, and to approach relationships with authenticity and mindfulness.
Just as you invest in your children, it's important to invest in yourself. Be a role model by demonstrating the value of self-discovery and embracing your true potential. Take that solo spa day or try that dance class you've been hesitant about. Nourish your mind by diving into a good book you never had time to finish. Stay in your pyjamas all day and indulge in a self-pampering session with a nail painting session. Take a midday nap or embark on an exhilarating adventure you've been longing to try. Carve out the time for yourself and mark it in your own Google calendar to love yourself first.
Why? Because you deserve it!