How loving yourself helps you to love others

There are many factors that can impact our ability to love and love ourselves. You may have grown up in a home where you didn't receive love from a parent? Perhaps you were raised by other family members, or are adopted or fostered? It could even be that the experiences that you witnessed at home were unpleasant and negative. Any one of these experiences could have had an impact on your self-esteem and the types of relationships that you attract.

Why is love important?

We all have an intense desire to be loved and nurtured. Love gives us the reassurance that we are not alone. Consequently, the motivational force behind finding love is to be in a relationship, have children, experience and share our love with our spouse or children.

Research shows that love and belonging are vital in aiding a person’s growth, to reach their self-actualising tendencies. There is no drive to achieve anything in life without love. When you examine the existence of human beings, the key motivational force behind it is love.

A child is born in a world where they need love to thrive and have a sense of belonging. This child later goes to school, college and university to educate themselves to equip them in search of a career. The child may decide to work and earn money to support their day-to-day living, including renting or buying a house, which at some point they would like to share with a partner. It's very natural to expand that love by having a family, who you can share that love with. As a result, it is apparent that love is the foundation of human existence.

When an individual hasn't had or experienced love from their childhood they subconsciously crave for it in many ways other than themselves, including relationships, children, and external validation. Although this is normal and often healthy, it can also be unbalanced if you became dependent on another person to love you. This behaviour can be addictive, which is similar to being addicted to a substance (e.g. food, sex or alcohol). However, in this case, you are addicted to another person to love you. 

The foundation of true love starts from loving yourself first. No one is truly going to love you if you don't love yourself.

Image of a young woman standing in a field

9 simple ways to love yourself

1. Avoid seeking approval from others

When you seek approval from others, you are subconsciously asking people if you’re good enough.

2. Set boundaries within all your relationships

The secret is, people will only treat you based on the relationship that you have with yourself. If the relationship that you have with yourself is mostly negative, then that is what you will receive from others.

If there are no boundaries within your relationships, then don't be alarmed when people treat you as if you’re insignificant or like a "doormat". If you are not happy with how you are being treated by others, then speak up. If you are constantly putting up with unreasonable behaviour, then others will believe that that is how you deserve to be treated.

3. Take responsibility for your happiness

The only person that is responsible for your happiness is you. You are setting yourself up for disappointment when you expect other people to make you happy.

4. Create and enjoy your hobbies

Having hobbies enables you to have a balance and time away from your work, or family commitments, allowing you to recharge and enjoy your company or socialise with other people

The foundation of true love starts from loving yourself first. No one is truly going to love you if you don't love yourself.

5. Create quiet time to reflect

Being constantly busy will distract you from having time to reflect and connect with your emotions.

6. Learn to enjoy your own company

It is essential to enjoy your own company, if you don't, unfortunately, no one else will. Avoid constantly distracting yourself from being on your own.

7. Begin to make decisions on your own

When you're overly indecisive and highly dependent on others to make a decision for you, you become emotionally reliant on them, this pattern of behaviour could impact your self-esteem. Indecisiveness causes self-doubt, and self-doubt is the root cause of low self-esteem. Start off gradually, by making small decisions, and then expand to bigger ones.

8. Learn to forgive others

Unforgiveness causes bitterness, although you may think that you are hurting the person that has hurt you, you're actually hurting yourself by holding a grudge. Learn to let go of the emotional pain, even if you choose to remember experiences.

9. Never compare yourself with others

Comparing yourself with others can blind you from your own beauty, full potential. Take time to find out who you really are and your natural gifts.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Kate Megase MBACP accredited, registered Psychotherapist & Clinical Supervisor

I am a counsellor, coach and motivational speaker. I specialise in issues associated with relationships, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.… Read more

Written by Kate Megase MBACP accredited, registered Psychotherapist & Clinical Supervisor

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