Love yourself: The key to happiness, fulfilment

Are you your own worst critic? Here’s how to become your biggest supporter.

Do you love yourself? In Australia at least, answering in the affirmative might see you cop a ribbing.

“There’s definitely the fear of sounding arrogant, confidence being confused with arrogance, of tall poppy syndrome,” life coach Dr Lara Corr says.

However, she says it’s not about being braggy.

“You can love yourself to bits, but not say it every five seconds.”

Love yourself. What does it mean?

“To me, self-love or loving yourself is really about creating a relationship with yourself that is unconditional and non-judgmental,” Dr Corr says.

“It’s not about thinking that everything about you is awesome; it’s not about being happy all the time.

“It’s really accepting yourself, trusting yourself and having compassion for yourself.”

The benefits of loving yourself

Research shows the way we think about ourselves can influence our internal guiding system, nurture us through life and guide our behaviour.

“You get more peace of mind, you get more energy in your life, you’re more efficient and effective and productive because you’re not doubting yourself every five seconds or being nasty to yourself,” Dr Corr says.

“You’re happier at work and more successful in whatever your career path may be and you have better quality relationships. You just enjoy life more.”

How to love yourself

Take note of your thoughts

Dr Corr says the biggest thing you can do to change your relationship with yourself is to start listening to your thoughts and put them on paper – noting your thoughts aren’t always factual.

“It’s nice to just pick one thing that you’d like to work on, so say, ‘I’m just going to notice my thoughts about what happens when I make a mistake at work’, or ‘I’m just going to notice my thoughts about my body’.”

Remind yourself you’re only human

Mindfulness-based wellbeing consultant Jossy Jimenez says learning to love yourself is an ongoing practice, and the first step is to consider the concept of “common humanity” – or that we’re all in this together.

“If you feel that you’re not lovable or you’re not worthy of respect or kindness or a break, remind yourself that it is part of the common experience of human beings,” Jossy says.

So if you’ve lost it at the kids or you have eaten too much, remind yourself that you’re part of a very popular club.

Go gently on yourself

“If a baby’s crying, the first thing we do is go and hold a baby with kindness and tenderness,” Jossy says.

She suggests treating yourself in the same gentle manner – whether you’re crushing life, or struggling.

“It’s really genuine, it’s compassion – it’s like, ‘I’m with you, I hear you, I feel you, I’m here for you’.”

Written by Larissa Ham.