A relationship expert will always tell you to love yourself first before loving anyone else, and although it sounds simple to value, appreciate and truly love everything about you, it’s easier said than done.
Life coach and relationship expert Christina Jay of Toronto, says loving yourself means accepting yourself for who you are, despite your imperfections and flaws.
“It’s important to love yourself or you will be susceptible to suffer from bad relationships whether that be in your love life, work, friendships or family,” she tells Global News.
“You will be aiming to please others and not respect yourself enough to have mutually nurturing relationships.”
It can also be hard to love someone who doesn’t love themselves, according to Dr. Mark D. White in Psychology Today.
“If your self-loathing partner finds something missing in himself or herself, he or she may rely on you to fill that gap,” he said.
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Jay says it’s hard for some people to love themselves and this can be for a variety of reasons. “It could stem from past toxic relationships or the simple fact of the impossible standards of beauty that the media upholds,” she says.
White adds they have a hard time praising themselves and often tears themselves down.
But loving yourself is really about self-reflection. Below, Jay gives us five tips on learning how to appreciate who you are.
Cultivate healthy relationships
Cultivating a healthy relationship means getting rid of toxic people in your life. Toxic people can be draining and constantly put you down in a passive or negative way.
“If you find yourself feeling bad about yourself after spending time with someone get rid of them in your life,” Jay says. “Spend time with people who make you laugh — it’s good for the soul.”
Do little things for yourself that make you feel happy and confident, she says. “Been eyeing that new skirt that looks great on you? Buy it! Feeling stressed and thinking about spending the day at a spa?” And since material things can’t buy you true happiness, you can also do things that make you happy. Make more time for self-improvement, take up a new hobby or just make time to relax on your own.
“Plan activities that reinvigorate your zest for life. Watch a funny movie, spend time with pets or spend time in nature.”
“Exercising creates feel-good endorphins which wil, in turn, make you feel better about yourself,” she says. Weight training, yoga, and Pilates are all great activities that will keep you energized and healthy.
“Meditation makes you more present and also reduces anxiety levels. People who meditate regularly tend to have a more healthy and positive self-image about themselves.”
Sometimes, you just have to remind yourself of your good qualities. “Write down 20 things you love about yourself and why. Focus on those things. Whenever you feel down look at this list again to remember all the positive things about yourself.”
Sometimes, not loving yourself can turn it into a bigger problem. It can affect your relationships, friendships and even be harmful. Learning how to love yourself is important, and sometimes, you may need help.
“Seek professional help if it is damaging your daily aspects of life. If your physical or mental help is deteriorating or if it is getting in the way of feeling happy or confident.”