When you reflect on the relationships in your life, have you ever stopped to think that the most important relationship, the one that requires the most nurturing, is actually with yourself? If you’re not showing yourself love and respect or treating yourself with compassion and care, how can you be expected to do the same for others – or even expect others to do the same for you? Unfortunately, self-love is often low on our list of priorities.
Low self-esteem is a common roadblock to loving ourselves, whether based on past experiences, the way we were raised, or just an inherent poor sense of self-worth. On the other end of the spectrum, the extreme perfectionists among us have a tendency to constantly self-criticize in the pursuit of achieving their goals.
But I really want to focus on a mentality I’ve not only witnessed countless times, but also personally experienced in my own life. I find that many women, and mothers especially, operate from a self-sacrificing mindset, or “martyr complex,” which is the belief that you must deprive yourself – of love, of care, of comfort – in order to care for others.
Self-sacrificers always put themselves last in any situation, believing that to do otherwise would be selfish. They give and give until there’s simply nothing left for themselves. They are overextended, burned out and exhausted.
If this sounds familiar, I have a wake-up call for you: self-love isn’t selfish!
Helping and caring for the people in your life is certainly a noble goal, but not at the cost of your own health, wellness or self-worth. Loving yourself first and foremost can better position you to care for others.
Self-love doesn’t mean you’ll have less love or energy to share with others. Love isn’t a finite resource! Sharing a little with yourself doesn’t automatically mean you’re depriving other people.
Self-love recharges your emotional and spiritual batteries, providing you with the energy you need to go out and give 110% to everything you do, without completely depleting yourself in the process.
Self-love isn’t the same as self-care...but that helps, too! While self-care strategies like exercising, getting extra sleep or treating yourself to a salon day are great ways to show yourself some love, self-reflection is the real key to cultivating a capacity for self-love. Mindfulness exercises, meditation, journaling and prayer can all help quiet your mind so you can focus on learning to love yourself.
Because YOU ARE WORTH IT. You deserve love. You deserve happiness. You deserve compassion. You are a child of God who is perfectly and beautifully made, and He wants us all to love ourselves as much as He does. (What could be a better reason to love ourselves than that?)
Have you joined the NewVIEW NewCHALLENGE yet? We’re doing some real, meaningful work on ourselves this month to improve our relationships. I hope you’ll join our supportive community and me on this journey of self-reflection and self-improvement. Let’s learn to look at ourselves from a new VIEW!