The best advice my mother ever gave to me was to love myself. It’s a mantra repeated religiously to awkward tweens who respond with dramatic sighs and eye-rolls. We’ve passively accepted this as something we should do. However, most of us probably haven't thoroughly considered what it means and looks like to love ourselves.
Our relationship with ourself affects everything from our friendships to our romantic relationships. It affects our propensity to succeed and achieve our dreams. We need to start taking this relationship more seriously, because ultimately, it's the most significant relationship we have.
“It’s the primary relationship you’ll have in your life," said Dr. Aaron Krasnow, Ph.D., assistant vice president and director of ASU Counseling Services. "The more you develop this relationship the more fulfilling your life will be."
Think about it: if you don’t have a healthy relationship with yourself, you cannot expect to form healthy relationships with others. Being in authentic and healthy relationships means being vulnerable. If you’re not secure with who you are, being vulnerable is nearly impossible.
The combination of vulnerability and insecurity leads to jealousy, resentment and the ultimate demise of a relationship – be it romantic or platonic. This can be especially painful if you don’t practice self love.
When we’re in relationships, we tend to find solace in our friends and partners. This isn’t inherently bad. However, in the absence of self love, we begin to rely on our partners and friends for our self image and confidence, allowing them to shape our identities. As a result, when these relationships end, we feel like we’ve not only lost those relationships, but ourselves.
We all desire to be known intimately, but the truth is that even those we trust the most will never know every part of who we are. The only person who can truly know us is ourselves.
“You’re always by yourself even when you're with people,” said Krasnow, “The more you can practice being alone without distraction, the more you’ll begin to know yourself and love yourself.”
Our self love or lack thereof doesn't just play a role in our relationships – it affects every segment of our lives.
Fall in love with yourself.— Soul (@ReverieHippie) January 16, 2017
Give yourself compliments.
Self-love is important.
Those who think lower of themselves tend to perform worse than those who have a higher self efficacy score. Your view of yourself has the potential to affect your success in the workplace, at school and in your relationships. It will influence whether or not you go for that promotion or pitch that idea. It will determine whether you take the risks needed to achieve your dreams.
Self love doesn't simply mean you exude confidence nor does it mean that you're narcissistic. It means knowing yourself and being content with who that is. It can be hard and terrifying, but it's worth it.
Loving yourself isn’t going to hurt you, but hating yourself will hold you back from experiencing the fullness of life.
So let's date ourselves. Let's get to know ourselves intimately. Let's fall deeply in love with ourselves.
Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @skyjordan4 on Twitter.
Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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