Does loving yourself improve relationships?

It should come as no surprise that there is a strong link between self-esteem and the health of our relationships. If you have a low sense of self-worth, that affects a lot of your behaviors, which in turn affect your connections with others.

Specifically, having little love for ourselves tends to make us more negative in general. Think about how you react when someone around you is negative about almost everything. In contrast, you probably prefer to be around people who are comfortable in their own skin.

Below are a few steps you can take to start implementing self-love in your life, whether you have low self-esteem or even too much of it. If you want to improve relationships with those closest to you, then I highly suggest you start here.

7. Affirm yourself.

A common symptom of low self-worth is constantly seeking affirmation and validation. You don’t believe that the things you do are good enough, so you obsess over seeking compliments from others. What you may not realize is that this really bothers people and can damage your relationships with friends, coworkers or a significant other.

Even if you are doing so with the best of intentions, people will typically view your behavior as “fishing for compliments” in order to suit your ego. That said, you need to take a look at everything you’ve accomplished and give yourself some credit. Otherwise, you can become susceptible (down the road) to social anxieties and even phobias that will make it nearly impossible for you to be assertive.

I know for me, I fear letting pride inhibit my ability to relate and connect genuinely with others. But it’s also important for us to recognize the good we’ve done and let it sink in. Once you start doing this regularly, you’ll find yourself being less reliant on the validation of others.

6. Serve others.

It may seem counterintuitive, but pouring yourself into other people is a form of sharing your love with them. Numerous studies have shown that acts of service and charity benefit the giver more than the receiver, at least in the sense of positive and emotional gains.

Developing a personality built on service translates to all of our relationships as a result. Being a dependable and giving friend fosters a relationship that is built on goodwill and loyalty. Even gestures in a romantic relationship fit into this paradigm, as they cultivate emotional benefits contributing to a larger motive (such as commitment).

5. Keep your eyes up.

One of the best ways to improve relationships (and communication) is to practice good posture and eye contact. When you slouch and look down, you are subconsciously communicating to yourself (and others) that you are being submissive to them. This is how someone is able to determine instantly whether or not they can a walk all over someone else. The result is that you aren’t respecting yourself, and you’re letting others disrespect you.

Displaying poise and self-discipline will lead to self-respect and confidence. If you start to make a habit out of this attitude, then you will start to build relationships with others that are on equal terms.

4. Exercise and eat healthy.

Love yourself by showing love to your body. Being fit physically makes us fit emotionally, improving our moods alongside our health. Going to the gym and eating right gives us energy and relieves stress. As a result, we feel good about ourselves, and these positive feelings carry over to the people who are around us.

3. Practice good hygiene.

In case you aren’t doing so already, start taking good care of your hygienic needs. Take showers every day, wash your clothes, iron them, wear deodorant and do all of the things your parents told you to do that you stopped doing when you moved out.

Seriously though, taking care of yourself is a form of natural survival and health, and it makes us more desirable to be around. If you’re unsure whether or not you’re practicing good hygiene, ask someone who will give you an honest and objective opinion. Like your parents!

2. Create something.

Whether you’re a painter, writer, movie director, trapeze artist, construction worker or professional singer, creating something that is wholly yours is self-love. You don’t have to literally create something out of thin air; it’s as easy as doing something you love to do better than everyone else. That sense of accomplishment and pride in your work plays a huge part in personal growth and maturity.

Producing things, whether they be for work or art, shapes into a person who has something valuable to offer to others. As you can imagine, this makes you a person that attracts people.

It’s difficult to admit, but our relationships with others are conditional to a point. We favor those who enrich our lives. You can be that person if you start putting in the effort necessary to create something no one else has.

1. Be self-aware.

Start looking at yourself as a whole and identify your strengths, as well as your weaknesses. If you happen to have a lot of confidence, you may be inclined to gloss over the things you say and do that alienate others. But if you start to learn more about yourself, such as how you come off to others and what you instinctively say in certain situations, you’ll start to gain a self-awareness that will further your appreciation for yourself, as well as the people around you.

Recognize the things about you that are different and unique. Accept them and consider them a benefit because you are “you” due to these quirks. If you’re a little weird, don’t feel bad about it. Embrace the weirdness.

Self-awareness leads to other strong concepts that facilitate having a “whole” being, such as integrity. Being honest and consistent shows that you love yourself enough to be real with others, and this is easily the best way to avoid needless conflicts that would otherwise inhibit a strong relationship with someone close to you.

To sum up, loving yourself is about accepting who you are and what you can strive to be. You don’t have to be complacent about becoming a better person, but you also don’t have to set unrealistic goals for yourself that will never get done. Once you’re at a place where you love yourself, only then are you ready to start giving everyone else more reasons than ever to love you too.

You may also want to read 5 Reasons Why You Should Always Be Yourself

Featured photo credit: Portrait of pretty young female with daisy via Shutterstock

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