4 Ways Self-Love Leads to Better Self-Care

RAFT Team, February 13, 2023

Low self-esteem is a global epidemic. According to the Global Self-Love Index study:

  • Roughly 85% of people worldwide (adults and teens) have low self-esteem
  • One in two women feels more self-doubt than self-love, and 60% wish they had more respect for themselves
  • Almost 60% of people in US will act happy to please others

What’s contributing to the problem to the lack of self-love? Many things, but social media usage and beauty industry trends rank high. Those who use social media more than two hours a day have a lower self-love score than those who don’t. According to this study, most people globally believe that the beauty industry’s use of airbrushed and photoshopped bodies creates unrealistic expectations. Younger women view the lack of diversity in advertising as a major negative impact as well. And what does it mean to love yourself?

As you learn how to love yourself more, you’ll begin to take care of your own needs more effectively. As a result, you’ll be more motivated, determined, and appreciative of yourself. In this article, we’ll discuss 4 ways self-love leads to better self-care.

1. Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the first step to loving yourself. It involves understanding your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and how they are connected to each other. It also involves recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, as well as what triggers you emotionally. 

Being self-aware allows you to approach your colleagues, clients, and family with more clarity. But self-awareness is not easy. It requires a willingness to see yourself honestly, to recognize the truly best things about yourself but also the worst things. 

With greater self-awareness, you’ll be able to:

  • Manage your emotions
  • Gain confidence
  • Boost your happiness levels
  • Communicate more effectively
  • Experience better relationships
  • Become a strong leader

How do you build greater self-awareness at work? This article from Indeed offers 8 tips:

  • 1. Think before you react
  • 2. Be willing to hear and incorporate feedback
  • 3. Reflect on who you are
  • 4. Consider how your actions impact others
  • 5. Identify triggers of negative emotions
  • 6. Use a journal to record your thoughts
  • 7. Develop your listening skills
  • 8. Immerse yourself in new experiences

2. Self-Acceptance

Self-acceptance is about accepting yourself for who you are, flaws and all. This means being kind to yourself and not judging or criticizing yourself harshly for mistakes or shortcomings. It means not trying to fix yourself and not trying to hide the parts of yourself you don’t like. Self-acceptance also means being able to forgive yourself when needed. 

With greater self-acceptance, you’ll experience:

  • Increased self-esteem
  • Greater self-worth
  • Greater autonomy
  • Increased resilience to criticism (including your own self-critical voices)
  • Increased capacity for happiness
  • More self-kindness
  • Greater confidence

This article offers 12 practical ways to practice self-acceptance. Here are just a few:

  • Celebrate your strengths
  • Create a support system
  • Quiet your inner critic
  • Grieve the loss of unrealized dreams
  • Keep believing in yourself

3. Self-Care

Self-care is an important part of loving yourself. This includes taking care of your physical health by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking too much alcohol. It also includes engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, such as reading a book or taking a walk in nature. (Learn more about a healthy self-care routine.)

Self-care also involves establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries. As you increase your self-awareness, you’ll begin to notice what physical, intellectual, and emotional boundaries are necessary for you to remain healthy. (Learn the benefits of healthy boundaries, how to set them in relationships, and tips to make boundaries easier.)

With better self-care, you’ll be able to:

  • Reduce your stress and anxiety
  • Sleep better
  • Increase your productivity
  • Handle crisis better
  • Have more endurance for tasks
  • Thrive consistently
  • Stay healthier physically
  • Support others more effectively

How do you accomplish better self-care at work? This Career Guide suggests 14 ways. Here are just a few for individuals:

  • Pack a nutritious and delicious lunch
  • Take your breaks outside
  • Drink more water
  • Socialize with coworkers
  • Ask for feedback
  • Take time off
  • Practice being present

These ideas from Calm help leaders set an example of healthy self-care:

  • Foster good habits like eating lunch away from the computer and logging off at the end of the day.
  • Respect peoples time by building pauses into the workday and setting time boundaries for communication.
  • Practice mindfulness and gratitude with your words and actions.

4. Self-Compassion

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness and understanding when things don’t go according to plan or when you make mistakes. It also means being gentle with yourself instead of beating yourself up over failures or setbacks. Self-compassion dictates that instead of criticizing yourself, you speak to yourself in a loving, productive manner. Leading self-compassion researcher Kristin Neff believes that self-compassion involves 3 key elements: 

  • Self-kindness vs. self-judgment
  • Common humanity vs. isolation
  • Mindfulness vs. over-identification

Just because you’re compassionate towards others doesn’t mean you’re self-compassionate. Remember to turn that lens of acceptance and encouragement inward and speak to yourself the way you speak to others. Practicing mindfulness in various ways can help lessen any self-critical voices and negativity and increase motivation and gratitude. (Learn 3 ways to practice self-compassion and 4 ways meditation can help.)

Compassion It offers a step-by-step guide for leaders to promote more self-compassion at work:

  • Create a supportive environment by asking questions, setting new norms and lending a hand to your team from time to time.
  • Encourage teammates to set boundaries by allowing them to pause, prioritize, and be open to pushback.
  • Model self-compassionate behavior as a leader by being vulnerable, taking time off, quieting the inner critic, and valuing your values.

With greater self-compassion, you’ll experience:

  • More accurate self-awareness
  • Empowerment
  • Greater resilience
  • Greater happiness
  • Faster bounce-back after failure
  • Greater peace of mind
  • Greater emotional resilience

What does it mean to love yourself?

Loving yourself means learning to take care of yourself. The best thing about these 4 practices is that they’re attainable. You can learn them, and with practice you’ll begin to experience the incredible benefits.