Yes—I’m back at talking about self-love again. We’ve talked about how to practice self-love, but I know too many of you have hesitated to take that step. It’s so easy to push off self-love when some part of you doesn’t believe you deserve to love yourself. Maybe you’re afraid you’ve made too many mistakes or think it’s selfish to say, “I love myself.” Perhaps you’ve convinced yourself you don’t have time, or maybe you don’t see the value in prioritizing your own needs.
Whatever your reasons for ignoring your self-love practices, you’re in for an awakening. Today we’re going to discuss why self-love is so important and how it is directly tied to your current and future success.
If you’re not a believer in self-love, you will be soon! Let’s get started!
What Are Self-Love Signs? How Do You Know If You're Practicing Self-Love?
Do you love yourself? Are you practicing self-love? Well, believing you love yourself and actually putting that into practice are two very different things. Sure, knowing that self-love is important is a very critical step, but you must be putting self-love into practice every single day.
- Do you feel love towards who you are right now?
- Do you filter your decisions through “is this a loving act towards myself”?
- Do you look in the mirror and appreciate who’s looking back?
- Do you know what your needs are, and do you honor those needs?
- Do you have clearly established boundaries and consequences for when those boundaries are crossed?
- Do you carve out “me time” on a weekly or daily basis?
- Do you prioritize awareness practices, like mindfulness and intentions?
- Do you choose activities and relationships that empower you?
- Do you set aside time for self-care?
- Do you keep track of gratitudes and acknowledgments in a self-love journal or love jar?
- Have you put an end to negative self-talk, both out loud and in your head?
- Are you able to say, “I love me,” fearlessly?
- Is self-love one of your top personal values?
- Do you practice acts of self-love so they become ingrained habits?
We’re all guilty of putting off self-love—myself included. 🙋🏼♀️ Things get in the way. We have other people to take care of. We have careers to focus on. We have chores to do. We have to help our friend move. We have a Netflix show to finish watching. The list goes on.
But no matter how much life gets in the way, self-love must be a priority if you want to live the life your soul intended™. Your health, your happiness, your identity, your success, and your ability to care for others all depend on the fuel of self-love.
Let’s dig into that further. Here are four of the reasons self-love is critical to your success, happiness, and wellbeing.
What You Can Accomplish With Self-Love
1. Self-Love Prioritizes Your Physical, Mental, and Emotional Health
Let’s begin with the most obvious but still far too often overlooked point: Self-love is essential for your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Let’s start with our physical health. Without self-love, it is easier to abuse our bodies by continuing unhealthy habits and self-destructive behaviors, like overeating and drinking, which just makes us feel even more angry, ashamed, and apathetic. We fall into a “what does it matter?” mindset that keeps us going in circles.
And when it comes to our mental and emotional health, without self-love, it’s easy for negative self-talk to take over, which is another way of saying fear takes over. If you’ve ever found yourself beating yourself up, you know how debilitating that can be on your self-confidence and self-respect.
Fear’s number one way to keep you off track is to convince you that those hurtful phrases you say to yourself are true. One of my favorite fearless acts of self-love is when I make a choice to challenge those thoughts and ask myself: “Am I making it up, or is that thought true?” When you do the same, you’re gifting yourself an act of self-love.
Self-love is the pathway out of negative self-talk, self-betrayal, and self-abandonment.
Open your heart and hear these words: You are precious. You are beautiful. You are FEARLESS. Every aspect of your health is important, which is why it’s also important to practice acts of self-care.
“Acts of self-care are acts of self-love.” – Rhonda Britten
Eating healthy food is an act of self-care. Moving your body is an act of self-care. Drinking loads of water is an act of self-care. Meditating is an act of self-care. Going for a walk is an act of self-care.
Self-care matters because it keeps our bodies alive and thriving. These activities nourish and revive us inside and out.
But self-care isn't solely about exercise and eating right. It’s about discovering the activities you really enjoy, the activities you do just for you, that spark joy and leave you feeling refreshed, and doing more of them! It doesn’t have to be complicated. You could garden, read, write, cook, go for a swim, work on a craft or art project, or do anything you find enjoyment in that isn’t self-destructive. What makes you feel calm, content, and fulfilled? What activities make you feel better instead of worse the next day?
I love putzing. A little putzing each day allows me to decompress and get into the zone. It’s also allowed me to stop my competitive mindset and quit comparing myself to others. Putzing, for me, is an act of self-love.
Decide—and you must, must, MUST decide—to carve out time in your day-to-day to practice the activities that bring you joy. Only you can choose to care for that body, mind, and heart of yours. After all, your body, mind, and heart make up YOU. And because you’re the only one that has the power, you’re the one who ultimately decides if you care for your health or not. No one else.
Take a breath. Ahh. Yes. You are THAT powerful.
So, decide not to skip what you love when something comes up. It’s so common to ignore, pass up, or even avoid the activities that prioritize your physical and mental health, but there will always be “something more important” that comes up. There’s always one more event and one more meeting and one more chore and one more “Yes, I can do that for you.”
Yet, there is nothing more important than your health, and when you practice self-love, you are making your body, mind, and heart a top priority. And that’s a win for you and for your loved ones who want you to continue thriving.
2. Self-Love Establishes Your Own Identity
I’m going to ask you a tricky question right now. Who are you? No really. Who are you? The words mother, father, business owner, your job title, and so on are probably right on the edge of your lips right now, right? But who are you beyond what you do for others? Without a strong personal identity, you can begin to lose sight of where you start and your family and friends begin.
You are YOU before you’re anyone else. What do you like? What don’t you like? Are you a pineapple on pizza kind of person, or are you passionately against the idea? Do you like to go out? Do you like meeting new people, or would you rather curl up in your favorite chair with a book and a cup of tea? Are you uncomfortable in crowds, or do you love them? How do you prefer to communicate with others? How do you want them to communicate with you?
These are the kinds of things that make you who you are. This helps you get clear on your boundaries because they define what you like and dislike. Without strong personal boundaries, it’s easy to get caught up being a mirror, a carbon copy, of somebody else. When people look at you, all they’ll see, and expect, is what they like and what their own boundaries are. If you always say you don’t mind or that you’re easy, people will take you at your word, and they’ll decide what you eat, where you go, what you watch, and so on. And in some way, they’ll decide who you are.
Speaking of boundaries, I have a whole guide dedicated to Why Personal Boundaries Are Important and How to Develop Them.
But you’re you; you do not have to be a chameleon who adapts to whoever is around. Your personal boundaries help find and honor who you are at your core. They make you uniquely you!
It may be hard for you to even think of what your boundaries are because you’ve spent so long living your life for other people. You may even worry that defining your personal boundaries (and the consequences that come with someone crossing your boundaries) is selfish. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
By clearly defining your boundaries, you’re also helping others. They won’t have to play a guessing game trying to figure out what you like; instead, you will tell them. No one likes being a mind-reader, and when we put someone in that position, we are setting them up to take the blame when we aren’t happy.
When you practice self-love, you begin to ask yourself, think about, and express your own needs and boundaries. You establish your own identity, which is so critical to your future feeling of personal success. Because if you don’t, you’ll start to feel, and you may feel this way already, resentful of the fact nobody seems to care about what you want.
3. Self-Love Prevents Anger or Resentment From Building
Often, without even realizing it, when you deprive yourself of love, you allow anger and resentment to creep in. Even if it doesn’t happen all the time, and you may 100% believe you don’t engage in this behavior, it's still there. If you’re not regularly practicing self-love, the hurt feelings start brewing.
You might be thinking, “No way, Rhonda; I’m a positive person. I’m not angry.” “Not me, Rhonda. How could I possibly resent the people I love?”
Your resentment might not show up all the time, or it may appear in subtle ways, but I bet it’s there. It's often only in times of extreme stress or fear that these feelings push through. You might snap at people you love or lose your patience in the moments when fear takes over. Or maybe you hide all of your anger and resentment deep inside and it only ever amounts to those negative nagging thoughts that either blame you or them.
Because instead of caring for people and being loving towards them from an authentic place, a place that is already filled up with love, your love and sense of duty will come from a place of resentment because you feel underappreciated and burnt out. When that happens, your caring deeds have turned into things you have to do or believe you’re supposed to do rather than coming from a place of love—a setup for keeping you a victim.
It might sound like, “Why does my spouse get to watch their favorite sports game every night when I never have time for me?” Or, “Why do my teenage kids have all of that time for their friends when I barely get to see mine?” Or, “Why am I always the person at work who stays late when work needs to be done?”
Why, why, why? Well, the answer to all of those whys comes down to your own choices and habits. Because you do have a choice, even if it doesn’t feel that way. You are choosing—deciding—to put yourself last instead of prioritizing your own self-love and self-care.
Now you might be thinking you don’t have time to practice self-love—you’re already busy enough. But here’s the secret to self-love: It will actually free up more of your time. It will give you more energy, keep you healthy and resilient, and help you focus on what matters to you most. When you love yourself, you will believe in yourself. And when you believe in yourself, the possibilities are endless.
Keep track of how you spend your time each day. I’m talking details here. This exercise will take time to complete but what you will learn is invaluable.
Take any typical day; write down what you did every half hour. Now, ask yourself: is this something you SHOULD do or a CHOICE? I know, intellectually, you know the right answer; instead, focus on how it feels. Do you feel like you should pick up the kids from school or show up for work on time? Or do you feel like it’s a choice? Be honest with yourself.
Most of us are not living our values, not because we don’t want to, but because we don’t pay attention to our own needs, wants, and boundaries. I promise you’ll be shocked by how you spend your time.
Do this for one week; write down should or choice next to every thing you do during your day. If it feels overwhelming, start with four hours a day and build up. Oh, and be sure to choose the hours where you get distracted the most.
Ask yourself: Are you investing your time where it matters most? Are you investing your time where you’ll get the most value? By writing down how you spend your time, you become conscious and awake to your choices. (Psst. Most of my clients find anywhere from five to ten hours a week they can free up and start to live more true to themselves.)
Where can you take back more time to prioritize self-love, including acts of self-care? Time spent on social media, time spent resenting others, time spent indulging in self-deprecating behavior, and time spent caught up in drama are all areas you can gain time back—time for healthy self-love practices.
Now here’s the second part of the exercise. Take a breath.
Do the same exercise again for another week. During this second week, write down the word “choice” next to everything you do instead of either should or choice. You’ll soon discover what definitely does not feel like a choice. This will become your opportunity to re-decide your day and, instead, choose self-love acts, like asking for help, letting go of things that don’t serve you, and honoring your time as your own (even if you have a family and a vast slew of friends.) Because when you love yourself, it’s easier to live by your values, and when you do, you’ll discover that loving yourself helps you authentically love others.
4. Self-Love Supports You to Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams
When you love yourself, you aren’t afraid to get to know yourself. And, in turn, that allows you to believe in yourself, which is a critical step toward making any dream a reality. Because your dreams are YOUR dreams, not someone else's. They belong to you. It's your life, and you are the only one (with a load of help from your support team) who can make your dreams happen, who can witness your destiny unfold.
Go ahead and ask yourself, and be honest: Do you believe you haven’t earned the right to be loved? Do you believe your dream life is out of reach? Do you believe you’re just too flawed to be successful? Do you believe you have achieved all that you can from life? Do you feel like you’ll always end up feeling stuck? Do you believe following your calling is only something that happens in movies and fantasy stories?
While I can tell you none of those thoughts are true, you need to decide to believe that for yourself. You have all the power to choose right now, to believe in yourself, honor who you are, and claim your ability to create your own success. And yes, it’s so seductive to go day after day without feeling your dreams could be a reality when you don’t love yourself.
Self-love is completely intertwined with our success. It’s so engrained, it even determines our definition of success. Stop and ask yourself: What is your definition of success?
If it includes getting everyone’s approval, proving that everyone is wrong about you, or never being rejected or failing, this definition of success will convince you it’s safer NOT to love yourself.
When we don’t love ourselves, our priorities can seem frivolous or selfish, so we put off our dreams and, in turn, sabotage our own success. We make excuses.
I will start when…
I will begin when I have…
I will when I have more time…
I will when I have enough money…
Self-love puts your own needs, dreams, and desires into focus, so you can finally begin your journey toward living the life your soul intended. When we love ourselves, we start to envision and believe in our dream life. All of a sudden, we can see past the cloud of fear to the steps we must take in order to get ourselves there. What once felt hard feels easy.
Here’s the truth. You can have the life that’s been calling you because when you practice self-loving acts, you will know what I know: You are beautiful and enough just the way you are. You were made perfectly for your calling. You will need everything you’ve experienced to fulfill your purpose, calling, and dreams. So yes, your life is perfectly perfect for you to be your best you and live the life your soul intended. It's time to love yourself, no matter what.
At the heart of who you are, you are made of love, and therefore, are love itself. You have all you need inside of yourself to make your dreams a reality and live your purpose.
Because the truth is: Dreams need work—they require fuel, and not just once, but each and every day. Self-love is one of the ways you can fuel those dreams.
More on living your dream life from the Fearless Living blog:
- How to Believe in Your Dreams (Because You’re the Only One Who Can)
- How You Can Start Living Your Dream Life—TODAY!
What Are Self-Love Habits and How Do You Develop Self-Love?
I have an entire guide dedicated to how to practice more self-love that I hope you read next. In the article, I outline seven strategies that will help you build strong self-love habits.
Here are a few of the most important pieces of advice distilled down.
- Treat Yourself With Compassion—If compassion seems like too big of a word, then just think of it as being gentle with yourself. Treat yourself like someone you truly care about; would you purposely hurt your own feelings if you truly wanted to practice self-love?
- Establish Clear Boundaries—Create boundaries and couple those boundaries with consequences. What happens if your boundaries are crossed? Which consequences will follow?
- Practice Self-Care—Taking care of yourself provides you with the energy and headspace you need to take care of your feelings, your relationships, and your needs. If you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t effectively take care of others.
- Stop the Negative Self-Talk—Whether in your head or out loud, the negative self-talk must stop if you want to quit letting fear run your life. You must decide to change the way you communicate with yourself if you ever want to love yourself in a real, authentic way. You are too amazingly fearless to speak to yourself like that.
- Build Habits and Set Self-Love Reminders—Change doesn't happen overnight. Changing your habits around self-love is going to take time. Set reminders and be sure to track your progress because when something is tracked, you take ownership of it.
💗 Read the full article: How To Love Yourself: 7 Self-Love Tips You’ll Love.
Begin Your Self-Love Journey With Fearless Living
Self-love can't be put off; otherwise, you risk putting your physical, mental, and emotional health on the line. Happiness comes when you truly love yourself inside and out. Of course, we all know just how difficult that can be.
The good news is there’s an entire Fearless community here to help you on your journey! Follow the Fearless Living blog for the latest guides and resources, and please reach out to our community online if you have any questions or simply need a friend to help guide your way.
My 10-week Fearless Living Training Program is based on decades of learning how to crack the automatic behavior patterns associated with fear, including all of the fears that are keeping you from loving yourself.
You’ll learn how to love yourself one small step at a time to build your self-compassion, self-esteem, self-respect, and self-awareness. Additionally, you’ll learn how to build strong, lasting relationships, participate in healthy social interactions, and surround yourself with positive influences.