Article by Paula Quinsee

Paula Quinsee is a Relationship Expert speaker and author of the self-help guide Embracing Conflict. Paula works with individuals and organisations to cultivate healthy relationships in both personal and professional arenas by focusing on personal growth and development. Go to for more info.

Self-love is important for our overall wellbeing. It not only determines the relationship we have with ourselves but also relationships in other areas of our lives.

Our behavior towards ourselves lays the foundation for how others will treat us, in other words how we think about ourselves, how we treat ourselves and our self-talk. Often we are our own worst enemy, we are critical of ourselves, we are quick to berate ourselves and constantly knock ourselves down.

When I work with individuals the question I always pose to them is:

‘If you were your best friend, would you treat yourself in the same way?

The answer is always No.

So why then do we do this to ourselves? Why are we so hard on ourselves?

The definition of self-love is ‘regard for one’s own well-being and happiness’

If we are not in a good place internally within ourselves, it is difficult for us to have a healthy relationship with others as often we are looking at them through the same lenses we look at ourselves.

Often people with a low sense of self-worth will try and find other ways of filling that void, many times the coping mechanisms they use are not sustainable in the longer term i.e. antidepressants, substance abuse, addictions of all kinds (e.g. emotional eating, habits and behaviors) and are inability to have healthy personal relationships (e.g. abusive, toxic and volatile).

The most basic human need at the end of the day that we all strive for is to be loved and accepted for the unique individual we are. It gives us a sense of belonging, of significance and value. And when we have those we feel good about ourselves. When we feel good about ourselves, we are more resilient, creative and able to overcome obstacles and challenges more easily.

What are some of the ways you can show yourself some self-love?

  • Looking after your health – things like healthy nutrition, exercise and sleep
  • Have healthy boundaries – know what your personal boundaries and values are and when they are being compromised
  • Make time for self – whether this be exercise, mediation, reading or quiet time. It’s important to connect with yourself and where you are at.
  • Take note of your self-talk – do you have negative thoughts, opinions and self-talk? Change it to a positive.
  • Have a healthy circle of influence – they say we become the collective sum of the 5 people we spend most of our time with, make sure your circle of influence is positive, supportive and uplifting.
  • Set goals – achieving goals irrespective of how big or small they may seem gives us a sense of accomplishment and growth. It also helps to boost our confidence and belief in our capabilities.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others – when we compare ourselves to others we are setting ourselves up for failure. No two people are alike and therefore we cannot benchmark ourselves against what others have or their success as they are walking a different journey to us and everyone’s picture of success is different. Explore what your picture of success looks like for you and then set out to achieve that. You will be happier in the long run by being true to yourself than trying to match up to someone else.

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” — Buddha

If you do not love and accept yourself for the unique, wonderful and amazing individual you are, it will be very hard for someone else to love you because you will constantly be pushing them away with your insecurities, jealousy, low self-esteem and low self-worth. You deserve more than that – it’s time you started loving yourself. Today.

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