Love Yourself, Whatever the Circumstances

23 August, 2020
Never leave the house without taking a good dose of self-love. Don't ever let anyone take it away from you, and don't let painful relationships water it down. Today, we'll talk about how to make the most of this basic aspect of your psychological structure.

Wherever you go and whatever your circumstances, make sure you always love yourself. Fill up on this positive emotional energy made of your self-image and self-esteem. Don’t leave it at home, and definitely don’t entrust it to a stranger. Your self-love belongs only to you, and you’re the one responsible for taking care of it and making it stronger every day.

Philosopher Michel de Montaigne said, “The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself”. This is something that no one teaches you in school. Cultivating self-love should be part of the core curriculum of any academic program. After all, if there’s one thing that we know for certain, it’s that people tend to either neglect self-love or have too much of it.

Loving yourself, valuing yourself, and feeling valued and worthy of what you desire is healthy. What’s unhealthy is overfeeding your ego and thinking so highly of yourself that you don’t value others. Too much self-love can even make you feel like you have the right to do harm.

Self-love is something you should protect and take care of so you can avoid underestimating yourself but also so you don’t become overly proud.

Without this incredible tool that your psyche provides, your personality would unravel. As humanist psychologist Carl Rogers argued, people need to feel worthy and capable in order to build a meaningful life.

A guy walking in a field of wheat.

Wherever you are, love yourself

You may be surprised to know that many people go through life without ever understanding that their relationships with and feelings for others are determined by their self-love. If you don’t love yourself as you should, you expect others to provide what’s lacking. That’ll never happen, and this will just lead to endless suffering and codependent relationships.

In the end, you limit yourself to accepting as much love as you think you deserve. You also accept friendships that don’t enrich your life because you think you can’t aspire to anything better. The same thing happens at work, and in every aspect of your life. If you don’t love yourself, everything is distorted. You just get used to living with the bare minimum, surviving but not experiencing satisfaction or happiness.

Everyone has a cheerleader in their lives, pushing you to love yourself more, willing you to try. “If you loved yourself, these things wouldn’t happen to you!” Maybe you agree with them, but how do you do it? What’s the magic formula for cultivating self-love? Is looking in the mirror and telling yourself you’re worthy? That everything looking back at you is perfect just as it is? The answer is no. Self-love isn’t just about accepting and appreciating your physical appearance. 

Loving yourself goes beyond feeling good about who you are or what you have. It’s a state of constant appreciation for everything you do, for all of the things that influence your personal growth. It’s a dynamic process that’s nourished and polished by working on identifying what you deserve. All of that helps you with your psychological strengths.

How to practice self-love

If you don’t love yourself at all times and in every situation, you’ll become someone you don’t like. It’s as if you had a twin that tolerates things that cause them pain, doesn’t fight for what they want, and accepts people who don’t deserve them.

Therefore, it’s important to remember the basic tenets of self-love:

  • Self-awareness. This involves being conscious of what you think, feel, and need at any given time. Being in touch with yourself allows you to align your needs with actions and commitments.
  • Self-esteem. This is the beating heart of self-love. It’s essentially an appreciation for who you are and what you think about how others see you. This perceptive evaluation of yourself is something you should be aware of every day.
  • Self-care. Self-care is about more than eating well and staying healthy. It means paying attention to your emotions and being mindful of your thoughts. The art of good self-care should always take into account your mental and emotional health and make sure you’re never short on self-love.
A woman standing with her eyes closed in a field.

Happiness is balance

Remember to always love yourself. Neglecting self-love will bring suffering. You should also remember not to think too highly of yourself, as that can bring suffering to other people. Dr. William Campbell conducted a study at the University of Texas that pointed to this very idea.

The researchers also proposed a more specific idea of what happens when you love yourself too much. They argue that people with an excess of self-love aren’t necessarily narcissistic. Narcissists tend to use other people to make up for their deficiencies, draining the energies of those around them. That being said, people with excessively high self-esteem think they’re better than other people, intellectually and morally. They differ from narcissists in that they aren’t trying to control anyone. However, their attitudes do create an exhausting sort of environment because they’re always trying to outdo everyone around them. It’s inappropriate, and we don’t recommend it.

The key is to find balance. Love yourself and respect others and you’ll find happiness. Position yourself in the world in such a way that you can achieve your goals but also live in harmony with other people.

  • Campbell, W. K., Rudich, E. A., & Sedikides, C. (2002). Narcissism, self-esteem, and the positivity of self-views: Two portraits of self-love. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. SAGE Publications Inc. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167202286007