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It's Really Okay to Love Yourself First - Here's How


love yourself first

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. Look yourself in the mirror (I get that it's going to be difficult for some of you) and show yourself the love you deserve.


Begin your self-care healing practice today – it's never too late. Loving yourself first is a practice that will help build your self-esteem, which reflects the value you place on yourself. Instead, invest in your own time and needs, appreciating the amazing person you are today and who you are becoming.


Caring for yourself and valuing your needs will translate into a more confident, happier, and healthier you. Often, women prioritize everything and everyone else first—their kids, work, household responsibilities—before themselves. It’s essential to be a bit selfish, in a positive way, loving yourself first and recognize your own importance.

“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.


Here are a few examples of what I am referring to:

1. Taking a quiet afternoon to read a book you've been interested in, without worrying about being productive.


2. Enjoying a leisurely walk in the park, listening to your favorite music or podcast, instead of rushing to complete errands.


3. Indulging in a hobby like painting or writing, simply for the joy it brings, without the pressure of others' opinions.


4. Planning a solo trip to a place you've always wanted to visit, embracing the adventure for yourself.


5. Spending an evening pampering yourself with a long bath and self-care routine, disconnecting from the demands of daily life.


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.


Break free from this self-imposed limitation, silence your inner critic, 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 this and I hope this will resonate with you-

YOU ARE WORTHY!


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Loving yourself first means: having patience and forgiveness for yourself


To truly embrace the concept of loving yourself first, it's vital to cultivate patience and forgiveness towards 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. Neuroscientific research supports this, showing that social approval activates pathways in the brain associated with reward, similar to those activated by food and money, thus reinforcing the behavior.


For some individuals, self-love and prioritizing themselves comes naturally, yet society often labels this as being selfish. Unfortunately, the term "selfish" has developed a negative connotation, technically defined as being excessively or exclusively concerned with oneself, seeking personal advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others. This negative perception often conflates selfishness with self-centeredness.


It's important to distinguish between being selfish, which can sometimes be necessary for personal growth, and greed, which implies a total disregard for others and is not what we advocate 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 witnessing a cultural shift—a more empowering and uplifting perspective that not only accepts but also encourages loving yourself first. We are embracing the idea that it's acceptable to prioritize oneself in a positive way. This involves practicing self-care, ensuring your own well-being, and finding fulfillment and happiness in your life choices. By loving yourself first, you can then genuinely and freely give 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.


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As a mother, I have personally experienced the toll of running on empty, striving to meet the needs of my children while definitely not loving myself first, 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.


Now my belief is strong in that I am no good to my children if I am no good to myself first! Taking time for myself and truly loving myself first ensures I have the energy and well-being to be fully present and supportive for my children. It’s about maintaining a healthy balance where my needs and theirs can coexist harmoniously.


SHIFT YOUR MINDSET


Don't you want to set a positive example for your children? Of course, you do. They already look up to you, so it's important to be 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, indulging in personal pleasures that require no approval from others. Dedicate time each day to loving yourself first, satisfying your soul in a self-centered way that does not harm others.


During my teenage years, while living at home, a framed plaque hung on our wall inscribed with the words, "Happy wife, happy life." You may be familiar with this phrase. At the time, I took it as a not-so-subtle reminder aimed at my dad, suggesting that husbands should prioritize their wives' happiness. It seemed clear to me that my mother wanted to impart this message. While the sentiment is endearing, let's be realistic—it is ultimately your own responsibility to ensure your happiness and pursue what brings you joy. Times have indeed changed, emphasizing now more than ever that our own happiness is something we must each take responsibility for, isn't it?


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 1989, I held the assumption that my father's primary role was to make my mother happy. However, as we fast-forward 35 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 loving yourself first. 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 - so how about with a woman life coach to guide you on your journey to becoming your most authentic and worthy self, the ultimate path to loving yourself first. A life coach can help you unlock personal development, setting goals that align with your true potential and challenging you to grow beyond your current boundaries. Be a role model by demonstrating the value of self-discovery and personal growth. Whether it’s taking a solo spa day, trying a new dance class, reading that book you’ve always meant to finish, indulging in a pampering session, taking a midday nap, or embarking on an exhilarating new adventure, make sure to carve out time for these activities. Mark them on your Google calendar as commitments to loving yourself first.


Why? Because you deserve it!



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Vanessa Marie

Vanessa Marie North 

Transformational Life Coach

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