Importance of self love and how to cultivate it ….

Importance of self love and how to cultivate it ….

Self-love, everyone heard this word at one point in their life. For some people, self-love may sound a bed of roses rather than a necessity. We as individuals engage in lot of work day and night and take little or no time to pamper ourselves for our hard work. Ironically, self-care is much needed especially to those individuals who strive for perfection in every walk of life. Self-care helps one to rejuvenate and inspires them in their work. Self-care boost our confidence and we strive to do better. It gives a positive outlook towards future. One tends to love their life and work. Researches have shown that people who always go after perfection are on higher risk of illness in terms of both mental and physical illness. Thus, self-compassion is something which might free us from this grip. Self-love helps one to recognize strength and value one’s feelings.

In the report of Medical News Today, the ills of perfectionism were highlighted which spoke volumes on how bad perfectionism can be, comparing it with cigarettes and obesity. Though in today’s world perfectionism is seen as only way to succeed and provides edge in interviews to those people who strive for perfectionism in every sphere. It is contended that eating disorders, suicidal tendencies, depression are linked with perfectionism. Studies have shown that heart problems have direct link with perfectionism. Kristin Neff, professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin has told that happiness is the fundamental right of every individual. Even United Nations has recognized “pursuit of happiness as the fundamental goal”. Psychologist Paul Hewitt practising in Canada has described perfectionism as “nasty adult beating the crap out of a tiny child” in his book Perfectionism: A Rational Approach to Conceptualization Assessment and Treatment. Perfectionists berate themselves for every little mistake they do.

We have talked about self-compassion earlier but what is self-compassion exactly. Self- compassion refers to the way of treating oneself with kindness. It entails being gentle, supportive, understanding. Self-compassion allows one to have room for flaws, being unproductive and lazy. It teaches us to have setbacks and allows one to do even better. Over the last years, several researches have been done which has shown positive correlation between self-compassion and psychological well-being. Studies revealed that people who developed self-compassion in them have greater emotional intelligence, social connectedness and overall life satisfaction. Columbia University Professor Raj shah has contended that self-compassion gives rise to healthy self-esteem and resilience. People who lacks self-compassion often exhibit of unhealthy relationships. Psychologists have added that one needs to love themselves first in order to be in a healthy relationship.

Techniques described by Prof.Neff in her book to cultivate self-love are as follows-:

• Self-kindness

• Listening to oneself

• Writing letter to oneself comprising of appreciating words

• Yoga

• Mindfulness

Technique was developed by prof. Neff and Germer called “Mindful Self- Compassion” that comprises of loving- kindness mediation or affectionate breathing and informal practises for use in daily life such as soothing touch and self -compassion letter writing. Researches have shown that practising these techniques for 40 minutes every day for 8 weeks have helped participants develop self-compassion in them. Practising these techniques have shown decrease in stress hormones and increase in body’s ability to deal with stressful situations.

Prof. Neff in her book argued that one should take time to listen to their inner voice which is essential to cultivate the feelings of self-love in them. She has put stress on the tone which one uses while talking to themselves in her book. She further suggested to write a letter to oneself from the perspective of the generous and compassionate friend that one has been to others.

Sense and Savor Walk and Mindful Eating are employed the researches that are aimed to take pleasure from environment and food thereby increasing the habit of listening to oneself which are discussed earlier.

Yoga is a tool that involves using whole body and giving relaxation to the individual. Yoga refreshes and rejuvenates one’s mind. Regular practise of yoga enables us to have disease free body and high intellect. Yoga helps one to connect with their body and boost feelings of self-love. Further, Kristen Martinez, psychotherapist, uses term permission slip which means to give oneself a permission to make mistake as a way of accepting themselves as who they are. Also, having a therapist provides a safe environment to the individual as it helps them to recognize their thoughts and feelings, provides realistic perspective and inculcates empathy in the individual thereby developing feelings of self-compassion and shifting the perspective of person in life.

We have talked so much about self-love but often it is confused with narcissism. So, let’s understand the difference between narcissism and self-love.

 

Narcissism

Self-love

Its about having excessive interest in oneself

It about taking responsibility of one’s physical and mental health.

People who have narcissism in them disregards their weakness

People who practise self-love recognize their weakness.

These individuals cannot have healthy relationship

These individuals have healthy relationship.

They depend on others to praise them.

They do not depend on anyone to praise them

Self-esteem is hollow in these individual

These individuals have good self-esteem.

 

“Self-love is not selfish; you cannot truly love another until you know how to love yourself”

About the Author

Kajal Gupta
Student.

Ms Kajal Gupta is pursuing B.A honors in Applied Psychology from Amity University, Haryana.

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