You struggle to put your needs first and tend to sacrifice for what others want. You wonder why you always feel rundown and exhausted in your interactions with others. You fear rejection and of being alone, so you often settle for less than you deserve.
Whether you know it or not, lack of self-love may be a cause of the difficulty you are experiencing in your relationships. Though it may seem like a personal issue, neglecting self-love can have a damaging impact on your psyche which negatively affects the way you conduct yourself with others. While this may be true, it doesn’t mean you have to stay this way. Loving yourself is a choice you can start making today! And its a great for New Years Resolutions that will ensure better relationship in the year ahead.
What does Self-love Really Mean?
Self-love is the maintenance of positive regard for one’s one worth and well-being. It is the belief that you are worthy of good things and deserving of health and positive relationships. Loving yourself looks like valuing your own experience and respecting your own needs. It can also be demonstrated by honoring and paying attention to personal boundaries and expectations and taking the time to examine why these exist for you.
Self-love is a construct that develops for most people as they navigate through different relationships. The way you love yourself lays the foundation for how you experience love with others. Sometimes trauma, or negative relational experiences, can impact a person’s ability to practice self-love. The way a person treats themselves is habitual and can, therefore, become a source of either strength or distress depending on their self-concept.
Lack of Self-love Affects your Relationships
The general rule of thumb: loving yourself makes engaging in appropriate love with others easier. Lack of self-love leads to experiencing low self-worth/self-esteem which can impact your ability to operate within relationships effectively. It can cause issues with trust and connection if you are constantly under the impression that you are unworthy of love. This can send the wrong message to others. Being upfront about needs, expectations, and boundaries lays an excellent foundation for healthy relationships.
In romantic relationships, couples who practice self-love set realistic and practical boundaries and maintain a healthy sense of individuality. Taking the time to examine personal experiences and what each partner brings to the relational-dynamic can reduce the instances of miscommunication.
Finally, if your opinion of yourself isn’t positive, you may be unwittingly engaging in behaviors and making life choices which are perpetuating your emotional struggle. Perhaps most damaging is that it can lead people to accept treatment and situations which are unhealthy. Continual acceptance of such experiences can perpetuate the cycle and make experiencing self-love even harder. The cure for this is to work towards valuing yourself and making your health, safety, and emotional well-being a priority in any relationship. Actively engaging in self-love behaviors makes being a good partner, parent, and friend more possible!
- First, engage in some introspection concerning the areas in your life wherein you struggle to love yourself. Assess how you arrived at this self-concept and consider how this has been impacting your ability to connect and love others. Ask yourself what changes might look like and determine appropriate steps towards making these changes a reality.
- Work towards valuing your emotional needs in the relationships you engage in and discontinue acceptance of anything less. Respecting your own worth will set a standard for others to do the same.
- Determine what self-care means to you and set realistic goals for making it a part of your daily routine. Aside from the daily grind, establish a healthy list of small things that recharge your batteries and make experiencing self-love easier.
- Remind yourself that it is not selfish to consider your own needs and prioritize your mental health!
- In general, treat yourself kindly! Give yourself a break from perfectionism and negative self-talk. A healthy self-concept starts with continually viewing and talking to yourself positively.
The positive implications of maintaining a healthy sense of Self-love are infinite and touch both the personal and the interpersonal areas of your life. So, if you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution that will boost your confidence, increase your mental health, and improve your relationships, consider dedicating time to figuring out what Self-love means to you and start loving yourself better this year!
About the Author
Lauri is an intern couples counselor at the Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. She works with couples and families who want to reconnect and strengthen their emotional bonds. Lauri enjoys all things you can do in the great outdoors, horseback riding, and caring for her pets: a cat and a three-legged dog.”