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Self Love: How to Learn to Love Yourself

Everyone says you should accept yourself as you are. But it’s not that simple. In addition, the question arises: Do we really need more self-love in a society full of self-promoters?

Foto: Alex Green / pexels.com

Love yourself! Accept your weaknesses! Embrace your inner child! Quotes and sayings full of wisdom as far as the eye can see. The word of the hour is “self-love” – and admittedly, that sounds great and like “I want it too”.

But how on earth are you supposed to love yourself while you’re constantly stumbling across great people with beautiful lives on the net? People who suggest to you that such a normal average existence is something you have to be ashamed of? Isn’t unconditional self-love a bit much to ask?

What is self-love anyway?

A definition of self-love? It’s actually quite simple: love your own self as it is. Unrestricted, with all flaws and mistakes, on good and bad days. Just like you do, with people you love! You can be angry with them or get angry with them, but at the end of the day you still love them. Or precisely because of it.

But when it comes to one’s own self, accepting “all flaws and mistakes” is unfortunately not easy at all. The demand is too high! And too much of the artificial flawlessness shines in your face, which some would have you believe really exists. All you have to do is invest a tiny bit in your self-optimization and poof – you belong to the select circle of the beautiful and desirable. So it’s up to you whether you’re beautiful and sexy. If you don’t participate, it’s your own fault! Well, that’s great! Of course, that’s not how self-love works.

Why is self-love so difficult?

The fact is: In the meantime, several studies show that the permanent comparison with others makes you unhappy and affects your self-image. Scientists at the Danish Happiness Research Institute, for example, say that those who scroll through the postings of friends, colleagues and celebrities on social networks day after day end up being jealous and feeling inadequate. True to the motto “Hey loser me, why don’t you sit on the beach and sip cocktails like your neighbor with the great living room furnishings?” At the end of the timeline there would be the sobering realization that everyone has a cool, exciting life, but unfortunately not yourself.

So no more comparing! Instead: a stronger focus on yourself. But doesn’t that run the risk of putting yourself too much above everyone else? What is the difference between healthy self-love and the completely exaggerated glorification of one’s own person? After all, quite a few scientists are now talking about an “age of narcissists” in which adolescents are already celebrating and staging themselves without limits.

Self-love does not mean self-infatuation!

“Narcissism is a conspicuous self-infatuation and exaggerated self-centeredness,” explains Anne Heintze, therapist and founder of the Open Mind Academy. “Narcissistic people are primarily concerned with themselves and are not interested in others. They overestimate themselves excessively and have an exaggerated attitude of entitlement.”

Self-love, on the other hand, is the acceptance of one’s own personality, the acceptance of what and how one is. “Self-love means trusting oneself, respecting oneself and learning to appreciate one’s own worth. Self-acceptance plays a decisive role in this,” says Heintze.

The right amount of self-criticism

It is therefore unlikely that strengthened self-love will ultimately end in too much self-infatuation or even narcissistic traits. Nevertheless, many women today share this concern. For example, British linguistics expert Judith Baxter of Aston University in Birmingham found in a study that 90 percent of the time, men make jokes at the expense of others. 70 percent of women, on the other hand, only ever pull themselves through the cocoa.

“The fact that women make themselves smaller in front of others actually has the goal of having a positive effect,” explains personality coach Kim Fleckenstein. It may sound paradoxical at first, but it is evolutionarily anchored in us. In the course of human development, men have long been polarized to compete with others, but women have always had a stronger sense of community. For them, it is important – obviously still today – to have a less threatening effect on others and to be able to build as large a community as possible around them. If you let others look behind the façade (“I’ve really never been good at giving a presentation”), you tear down walls and look lovable.

Unfortunately, evolution makes life unnecessarily difficult in this respect. Because if we look at the results of a self-love survey (Women’s Health International), 67 percent of the women surveyed believe that people who love themselves are also perceived more positively by others. Just 3 percent think that people who accept and love themselves come across as arrogant. And 77 percent said they had never been called self-indulgent by other people. Ergo: Loving oneself is not a crime, but also makes you likeable.

Why is self-love so important?

Love for one’s own self makes you look better in front of others, because it gives you self-confidence and charisma, which is simply because you care about yourself and take care of your own needs and desires. Whether it’s about your own body, with a balanced diet, exercise and care, or your own psyche, with challenges as well as breaks, with social contacts and hobbies.

This caring and care is what leads to greater satisfaction with oneself and therefore less fear of rejection or lack of recognition. Those who love themselves do not feel the need to bend over backwards for others, are therefore more emotionally stable and independent and generally go through life more openly and strongly.

How do you learn to love yourself ? 7 Tips


All right, so bring on the self-love. But how does that actually work? That loves yourself? Admittedly, there is no patent remedy that makes it easy to immediately rest deep within yourself and exude love from every pore. But there are a few smart tips that can pave the way for those whose self-love level could use a little push. So: Take courage – you’re great!

1. Stop comparing yourself

All this self-staging on Instagram & Co. is sometimes too much for you? Then just follow the people who make you feel uneasy. Be it because you feel envy rising in you or anger at yourself, because you may not have such a great trained body or such a nicely furnished apartment. Comparisons with celebrities are limping, because the image they convey on the net a) is often not entirely real and b) does not automatically represent desirable goals.

2. Don’t strive for perfection

You don’t have to be perfect. Neither for you nor for others. Or do you always expect 100 percent from those around you? Probably not, because you know it doesn’t exist. Then why are you so strict with yourself? It’s better to let go, true to the motto: “Perfect is boring, human is beautiful!”

3. Dare to do something

What have you always wanted to do, but have put it off so far? No matter what the challenge is – go for it, put all your strength and heart and soul into it and in the end savor the feeling of having reached your goal, which should not be underestimated!

4. Don’t stack so deep

Whether it’s on your resume or online dating profile, don’t hide your light under a bushel. You are someone, you can do something, and everyone is allowed to know that. And please stop putting yourself down immediately. Sentences like “I never do anything right” are best deleted from your repertoire immediately. Instead, push yourself, praise yourself more often, or at least start with “I’m not so good at that yet.” It’s best to speak to yourself the way you would speak to a good friend!

5. Set boundaries

Saying yes to everything, just for the sake of others, leads to a bad mood and frustration and ultimately to a lack of time, which should rather be invested for oneself. In the end, you only get angry with yourself. Therefore, even a “no” without explanation is allowed. You don’t feel well and need time for yourself? Then say so, and don’t make excuses. Listen to yourself and your body. That, too, is self-love.

6. Do something good for yourself

You can treat yourself to things again and again with a clear conscience. And not just as a reward if you have achieved something before or as a consolation, for heartbreak or other suffering. Treat yourself to time-outs just like that! Hours of rest or small adventures, maybe just a series marathon, even if the apartment needs to be cleaned, a delicious dessert, the new pair of shoes. Whatever it may be, you deserve it simply because you are you.

7. Be who you want to be

Sometimes you don’t like yourself very much because you have taken a path in life that is not the “right” one. Then you suddenly realize that you’re in the wrong job or living with the wrong partner. And now? Knock everything over, make everything new? The uncomfortable answer is: Probably yes. Go inside yourself and ask yourself what you really want from life and in which life you would really feel comfortable. This doesn’t work in a 5-minute brainstorming session, but takes a few weeks or months – and it’s painful. But it’s worth it!

Why is self-love important in a relationship?

“Only those who love themselves can love others.” – A sentence that comes up again and again, especially when it somehow doesn’t work out with the great love. Long version: “First of all, learn to love yourself. Then you are also ready to give and receive love.” Sounds like a piece of grandma’s wisdom and somehow a touch spiritual.

But the sentence is not entirely untrue. “Acceptance of one’s own person is the first step towards gaining acceptance by others,” says therapist Anne Heintze. However, you don’t have to love yourself unconditionally and consistently to be able to love others on the one hand and earn love from others on the other! You always deserve it, regardless of how you feel about yourself.

But the fact is that self-love has strong positive effects in relationships. If you don’t love yourself, you quickly wonder why others should love you, which leads to self-doubt and constant fear of loss.

According to the above-mentioned survey, as many as 60 percent of the participants have asked themselves how it is that they are loved in their relationship and that someone really wants to be with them. Nearly 20 percent said they had these thoughts all the time. These thoughts are poison for yourself and for your relationship. You have to know for yourself how great and lovable you are, no strings attached! “You don’t have to do others any favors to make them respect you. They should love you because you are the way you are, not even though you are the way you are,” says the expert. Spot-on!

Self-love is not vain self-infatuation, but the acceptance of one’s own personality with all its quirks and peculiarities. Accept yourself as you are, then your life will be more beautiful, relaxed and honest!

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