The Importance of Self-Love & Positivity
With the rise in popularity of online dating, and the general societal pressure on single people to find a partner, we’ve decided instead to celebrate the importance of self-love and acceptance. Patrick Williams is Clinical Director of LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell. He’s a huge advocate of self-care, and has this to say on the topic…
“Did you know that ‘happiness’ is the single best word that captures the construct, or concept, of well-being? When we’re happy, we experience positive emotions that allow us to broaden our perspective. On the flip side, when we’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, we get tunnel vision and make short-sighted decisions out of our instinct for self-preservation. In these situations, we often have trouble seeing the goodness in life, making it difficult to sustain the healthy habits that make us feel good and keep us on track. At its most basic level, stress can sabotage us and our best efforts.
Self-love then, is key to building happiness, but it’s also one of the things that tends to fall by the wayside when we’re feeling stressed or depressed. Some of the main ways to develop self-love are thorough positivity and self-esteem. No matter how old you are, self-esteem can help you set and achieve goals and take setbacks in your stride. Adults with healthy self-esteem accept responsibility for their own actions. They’re motivated, set challenging goals for themselves, and take pride in their accomplishments. They have tolerance and respect for others, and love for themselves.
Even if you're having trouble feeling good about yourself, there are things you can do to strengthen your self-love.
- Focus on Your Own Unique Set of Strengths
Make a list of your positive qualities, strengths, and accomplishments. Read over your list and add to it often. Make sure you incorporate these qualities into your life; the more you live from them the better you’ll feel.
- Take Inventory
Identify negative thoughts or feelings that you experience about yourself, as well as the situations that cause them. Ask yourself: "Do they really make sense?" Determine a more positive way to react to those situations next time they occur. Remember that self-talk affects the way you feel, so be kind to yourself.
- Do Something Every Day That Makes You Feel Good
Feeling a lot better about yourself overall often begins with feeling a little better every day. Depending on your interests, you might exercise, listen to music, say a prayer or recite an inspiring poem, cook a wonderful meal, read a story to your children, spend time with a pet, or pursue a rewarding hobby.
- Practice ‘Gratitude Spotting’ and Journaling
Being mindful of – and reflecting on – the things we’re grateful for is key to happiness. Martin E.P. Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness, says that people who practice gratitude spotting and journaling are more optimistic. Every day, write down a minimum of three things you’re grateful for.
- Savour Life’s Pleasures
According to Seligman, savouring is an awareness of pleasure, and the deliberate, conscious attention to the experience. Sharpen your perception by zeroing in on the ‘good stuff’, like closing your eyes while you enjoy a piece of music. Afterwards, absorb and marvel in how you lost yourself in the moment.”
So, next time you find yourself worrying about things beyond your control (or getting wrapped up with work or the pressure to meet someone special), take some time out to focus on you. Patrick’s step-by-step guide is a fantastic way to get started on the path of acceptance, positivity and self-love. Good luck!