We are taught from an early age the importance of cultivating relationships with other people. We are taught how to be respectful and nice to others, considering their feelings in the things we say and do. Rarely are we ever taught the need for and the Importance of Self Love. This seems counterintuitive since this is the first relationship we cultivate. At the end of the day, we are the ones that we have to live with, others will come and go.
What is Self Love?
Before we can even talk about the Importance of Self Love, it stands to reason that we need to define it. The Brain and Behavior Foundation defines self love as “state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Self-love means not settling for less than you deserve.” It is our physical and emotional health that is paramount in how we act and react to others and therefore should be placed pretty high in our daily needs assessment.
Self love can go all the way down to masturbation and as high as ensuring our mental health is in peak shape. The result is the same, treating ourselves with the love and respect we are taught to treat others with.
Types of Self Love
The definition above gives us a foundation of what self love is but what does that mean to us? Each person has their own take on what that can mean, but there are some commonalities that everyone needs more of. Here is a short list of some examples of what self love means.
- Talking to/about ourselves with love and laying off judgment. Often we scrutinize ourselves harder than anyone else. When we are dieting or trying to lose weight, we seem to focus on what isnt changing instead of the steps of change we do take, .We are harsh to ourselves when we focus on those things, using words like “I hate this part of me,” “I look fat today,” and etc. We need to focus on more positive things. “I feel better since I have started this diet.” “Look at the weight I have lost, I am down a pant size.” These types of encourage foster an environment of positivity and moving forward in a healthy mindset.
- Self forgiveness. This sounds weird when you first start thinking about it and it directly ties in to talking about ourselves with love. How do you forgive yourself? The truth is, we hurt ourselves more than any other person will. Take a moment to understand the thoughts you have or words you said, thank yourself for having those thoughts bjht instead of living in the negative thoughts of them try not to invest yourself in them. Let the thoughts go and say that you are sorry for the hurt you feel but it isnt needed for healing.
- Set boundaries. This is probably one of the most important for all of our relationships. If we drop everything we are doing to go help someone, they begin to depend on that happening all the time. This inturn means we stop putting our own needs or events ahead of others. We need down time, time to heal, and time to do our own things to stay healthy and focused. Take that time.
- Stay true to yourself. Let’s face it, social media has a MASSIVE influence on how we go about our lives. Seeing all those thumbs up reinforces a mindset that we are doing something others notice. In the short term, it feels good – like a sugar high. As that sugar processes through our system, we are left feeling empty and the desire for more. This takes us away from being who we truly are and instead creates the reaction of trying to be what others think we should be. This is a never ending battle that we will never win. Mainly because we are basing it off the interaction people have with us online. They dont know us or who we are and we dont know really know what they are thinking. This leaves us lost and addicted to the feelings we get of attention.
One way to start on the road to self love is through the act of self healing or self care. Here are four ways to start that process and to understand The Importance of Self Love.
- Listen to your body. Take some time out to just listen to what your body needs. This will seem strange, at first, but as you work on it you will be surprised at just how knowledgeable your body is.
- Take breaks, move and stretch. Sitting is not especially healthy for the body. We are designed to move and stretch. Sitting for long periods allows us to focus on negativity. Taking a break and moving around increases blood flow to organs and changes your perspective. Try it and see how it can change your mood.
- Turn off the internet and be creative. Nothing gets your juices flowing like being creative. You may say you’re not artistic or whatever, but there are so many other ways to focus your creativity. Do some writing, grab a book to read, or even cooking, all are ways of expressing your creativity.
- Eating healthy. This has a surprising effect on your body and mood. Your body needs vitamins and minerals to function properly. Processed and sugar rich foods do not give you those. Sure, grabbing a Reese’s peanut butter cup may make you feel good for the short term, but as the sugar burns off, quickly, you have nothing left but need. Vitamins and minerals help the body in various ways, increasing blood flow, affecting thought, and just feeding our bodies.
Self love in practice
Daily we have interactions that affect how we view ourselves. Someone doesn’t like what we are wearing, we take a personal offense to it. Your partner gets upset by something that is said and you become overly critical of what you say or do. You don’t get the promotion you wanted and you think that its is because of you or something you did or did not do. More often than not, these things have no bearing on you, personally. If we are coming from a place where do not practice self love then these thoughts take root more easily.
Here is an example. Every morning you wake up and as you are staring at yourself while brushing your teeth you repeat “Sheesh, I hate myself,” before going on with your day. The more you repeat this the greater chance you start believing in. You do something wrong and someone points it out, suddenly your mind is filled with how much you hate yourself and you start making up reasons why you did this wrong. You begin to believe how bad you are. All of this started with you saying how much you hate yourself.
Oddly enough, these feelings can affect how successful we are in our lives and career. When you believe the negative things you hear or think, you slowly stop taking chances and even begin to sabotage yourself. How can you change these manifestations?
- Make room for healthy habits. Eat better, exercise more, and start doing things because you care about yourself and not because they just need to be done or have to be. Not focusing on automatic behaviors allows you to focus on what you need. This breaks the negative reinforcing habits we get stuck in.
- Become more mindful. When we focus on how we think, feel or our needs, we approach the day and world with what is best for us and the most beneficial.
- Treat yourself well. Take some time to pamper yourself. A nice meal or a spa day are good examples. When you do something good, be sure to congratulate yourself on it.
- Figure out what you are good at and what you aren’t. This allows you to put your best foot forward and even learn how to be better on the things you aren’t the best on.
Remember, it isnt just about thoughts and feelings. Sometimes self love involves a little self stimulation and yes, that means masturbation.
This is as important as any of the above mentioned ways of practicing self love and is often the most overlooked one. When we talk about masturbation, we are reminded of things we were taught as children. Most of those thoughts come from religion. Christianity teaches us that touching ourselves is shameful. That masturbation is a waste and a sin. Spilling your seed in any act that isn’t meant to create a family is wrong. As with so many things, this comes from people’s interpretations of religious documents.
In Christianity, many people say masturbation is a sin based on the story of Onan. Onan was tasked, after the death of his brother Er, to father a child with his widowed sister in law, Tamar. Onan realized that any child from Tamar would be the heir to all Er had, when the time come for Onan to have sex with Tamar, he pulled out before ejaculation and spilled his seed on the ground. This ruined the ability for Er to have an heir. The next sentence in the Bible states that Onan did evil and that God slew him for it.. As you can see, this is not about masturbation as much as coitus interruptus. Many people have taken this story and stretched it to include masturbation since there is not thought of reproducing, only self gratification. Many believe this was added during the height of Freudian psychology.
There are no passages in the Bible that speak directly about masturbation, masturbation is neither good nor evil – it is an ambivalent act, in and of itself. We as people have tied this act to thoughts of adultery because we are not having intercourse without partners and therefore must be thinking about someone else. It is bred out of fear and self hatred and is used as a means of control and keeping people in line with popular beliefs.
All that aside, a little self sex allows us to learn what feels good for us. With that information, we can share it with our partners to strengthen our relationships. Also, by learning those unique sensations, we can then turn those into ways of making our partners feel better, in bed, as well.
Masturbation is natural
Masturbation is the act of self pleasure and satisfaction. It allows you to explore what your body desires and feels good. Masturbation is not physically, emotionally, or psychologically bad for you. We are taught from a young age to not talk about it and treat it as if it is something only bad people who don’t know how to interact with others should. The simple truth is we all have probably done some form of it at one time or another. In fact, some of you may be doing it right now. Glad to know this article prompted such a response. And… it is a part of The Importance of Self Love.
It is past time that we remove the negative stigma to this much important part of self care and open up dialog with our doctors, partners, and even our parents (if you are younger) about the importance of it in our emotional and psychological growth. Just remember to be safe, to yourself, while enjoying it.
We only briefly touched on the importance of self love and as January is National Self Love month, get out there and look for ways you can increase your self love. Do not be ashamed of taking time to be with yourself. It is as important as taking time to be with your loved ones, more so in many cases. Our personal health and well being is essential in our relationships with others and our own personal success.
Remember to love yourself before you love others. Let your healthy feelings dictate how you navigate life instead of others telling you what is best for you. After all, it is The Importance of Self Love.