How Self-Love Can Improve Your Relationships
Self-love describes how you feel about and treat yourself. Self-love involves being able to appreciate your own value and worth. It also involves taking steps to optimise your happiness and wellbeing. So, nurturing self-love means taking steps to work on your relationship with yourself. As you begin practising self-love you may start to celebrate yourself and your strengths more, take more time to listen to and honour your needs and to do more things for your happiness and good health.
However, when you start nurturing more self-love, this can a ripple effect throughout your life. Suddenly as you are feeling better about yourself and taking care of yourself, your professional life can improve, you may dedicate more time to hobbies and passions and your relationships with friends, family members and partners can improve too. So, self-love can actually bring you more love and joy in all of your relationships.
Here are some ways in which self-love can improve your relationships:
You interact with others from a place of confidence
So many people go through life feeling bad about themselves and being very harsh on themselves and often experience low confidence levels as a result. This low confidence then affects their interactions with others. They may doubt or second guess themselves and come across as nervous or uncertain, they may be embarrassed to just be authentically themselves and they may always put others first, sacrificing their own needs. However, when you love yourself, you appreciate your value and your worth. When you love yourself, you are able to interact with others from a place of confidence, from a place of knowing how much you bring to the relationship and therefore from a place of feeling secure about yourself. All of this means that you are able to show up more in these relationships and just be yourself.
You are able to set boundaries (and so feel less resentful)
Often when you aren’t feeling very confident or good about yourself, you can end up putting other people’s needs before your own. This can mean that you end up feeling very resentful in that relationship. Whether it always doing what your friend wants to do (rather than what you want to do) when you meet up; only meeting the person you are dating when he/she is free and has some time (rather than when it is convenient for you); or feeling obliged to do things for family members even though you are feeling down and tired, all of these things can make you feel very resentful and angry at the other person. However, as you start practising more self-love, you can set stronger boundaries in your relationships. You may start saying “no” to things that you don’t feel comfortable with and prioritising “me-time” and your needs over the needs of others. Whilst this may seem selfish, it is actually both good for you and for others too. Often people will respect others that set boundaries more than those that just say “yes” to every whim and demand. Setting stronger boundaries will also mean that you bring your happiest, best-self to each relationship and that your relationships are more balanced.
You set a precedent for how you expect to be treated
How you treat yourself sets a precedent for how you expect other people to treat you. If you never listen to your own wants and needs, how can you expect others to even know what these wants or needs are? If you never allocate any time to take care of yourself or your wellbeing others may also think that you don’t need or appreciate that time that they may want to look after or take care of you. If you want others to talk to you and to treat you in a certain way, one of the best ways to achieve this, is to start treating yourself this way first. By prioritising yourself and your needs and by treating yourself with the utmost care and respect, you show others that they too need to do this to remain in your life.
You aren’t relying on others to make you happy
When we don’t feel very good about ourselves, we can often rely on other people to make us happy. As we are not taking the time to do things we enjoy or dedicating time to our own needs and interests, we rely a lot more on what other people say and do to feel good. However, as we practice self-love, we take our happiness into our own hands. We value ourselves and we also know that we are worth spending time on our passions and interests. We invest in ourselves and our wellbeing. As a result of loving ourselves and investing in our own happiness, we are not relying on what other people say and do to make us happy. Either they add to and supplement our lives or they don’t but we aren’t completely dependent upon them to feel good about ourselves and our lives.
You don’t need so much external validation
A lot of people base how they feel about themselves on what other people think of them. So, they will only feel good about their appearance on days that someone compliments them, they will only feel proud of their work or art if someone else likes it or they will only feel confident in their outfit if a friend is wearing something similar. This means that they are very reliant upon external validation (or the approval of others). However, when you practise self-love, you learn to value and appreciate yourself, your choices and your worth irrespective of what other people think. This can really help your relationships as you aren’t constantly seeking out the approval and validation of others and you can instead just enjoy the other person’s company. For example, you won’t need constant validation from your partner that you look good and you won’t need regular reassurance from your friends that they still like you. Once you love yourself, all that validation and approval comes from within you and you can just get on with enjoying the company of those you love and care about.
You choose people to spend time with knowing your worth
One of the biggest benefits of self-love is that it can mean that you walk away from or change the dynamic in relationships that don’t serve you and your life. As you appreciate your worth, you also know when other people don’t. You have high standards for how you should be treated and what or who you will accept into your life. You begin to realise that you only want in your life those relationships where there is mutual trust and respect, where you both care for each other and where you are uplifted and inspired by your interactions. Self-love allows you to choose your relationships wisely and to create a life full of meaningful and uplifting bonds.
So yes, self-love is about your relationship with yourself and how you feel about and treat yourself. However, practising self-love can bring you the most powerful love, respect and care that you have ever had in all of your other relationships too.
Meet the author
Uxshely Carcamo is a psychotherapist, registered nutritionist, hypnotherapist and ex-lawyer. She founded The Food Therapy Clinic (www.thefoodtherapyclinic.com) and helps her clients to re-build their relationship with food, boost their confidence, believe in themselves and feel great about their lives and their bodies. You can find her on Instagram here: www.instagram.com/your.food.therapist, Facebook here: www.facebook.com/thefoodtherapyclinic and LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/company/72440873 for some more posts to help you to nurture self-love.