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Last Updated on September 16, 2020

10 Reasons Why You Should Love Yourself First

10 Reasons Why You Should Love Yourself First

Have you ever heard the expression, “You can’t help someone else until you help yourself”? The same idea applies to self-love. How can you love someone if you don’t love yourself first?

Try to visualize yourself with a ball of white light in your chest. It glows with pure love, especially when you are with family and friends.

When you want to express your affection to someone, you take a small piece of that light and hand it to that person. With every coffee you buy for a stranger, listen to a friend when they feel down, or lend them one of your favorite books, you are giving them a piece of your light. It is unlimited, so you need not do anything replenish it.

However, when you don’t love yourself, it depletes with every kindness and affection that you show to other people. This light eventually goes out, and you feel burnt out and exhausted. Once you become emotionally exhausted and unable to find the positive in anything, depression sinks in.

Here I’m sharing with you 10 reasons why you should love yourself first.

1. You Have To

Loving yourself first is essential if you want to be happy and live your life with no regrets.[1] You may have been holding back because you have been told you aren’t worth loving at some point. Thus, you’ve been bullying yourself about it ever since.

But that is the glass ceiling that this generation must break through immediately.

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You deserve to be loved. You are a wonderful human. Life on this planet is short; do you really want to waste it with self-loathing?

Hate only leads to hate, misery, and war. Do you want to be at war with yourself forever? Or do you want to be at peace and create new and amazing things?

You have a whole life waiting for you on the other side of all that.

2. It Is Your Responsibility

By taking self-love out of your control and leaving it in the hands of others, you can only ever be disappointed. After all, it isn’t someone else’s job to do that.

Pressuring other people to do it for you is unfair. You need to love yourself, not your parents, spouse, or kids. It is time to take responsibility for that now.

3. It Isn’t Selfish

They say in every flight that you have to put your own life mask on before helping another person. It isn’t selfish to do that because you will die before you can help someone who can’t help themselves. It is impractical — not heroic — to make yourself suffer while trying to be there for others.

Similarly, you need to love yourself first so that you can help anyone you want. Put yourself first, say no to draining circumstances, and make choices in your best interest.

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Although it sounds selfish, it is not bad at all.[2]

4. It Makes It Okay To Be Unloved By Others

When you love yourself, you live on another level, another vibe.

Some people won’t like that, and that is okay for you. It may be even good, considering you will see who cares for you, who is happy to see you happy, and who just wants you to be miserable.

When you prioritize yourself, you can see who matters and clear out all the toxic people in your life.

5. You Deserve It

All of your life, it may have been heavily implied that you aren’t supposed to love yourself.[3] You are supposed to help others first and only gain it as a result of your acts of service. As we have all experienced, love isn’t always equal.

Still, let us reiterate: you deserve to love yourself. You are a beautiful, caring, selfless human being, so why on earth would you deserve any less?

This article can nudge you further in the right direction: How to Love Yourself And Embrace Who You Really Are

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6. Why Not?

Are you afraid of being perceived narcissistic and reducing your likeability? That might happen, but wouldn’t it be better if you were around people who loved you for loving yourself?

You create your reality, so it is possible. There are no downsides to loving yourself. Even if something seems wrong, your life will be better for it.

7. You Can Inspire Someone

By taking up the chance to love yourself first, you can inspire other people to make that same change. Most people are just waiting for a leader to step up, take the scary steps, and show that it is safe.

This new way of living is okay and acceptable without suffering from a social setback. Come forward and say, “Hey, I love myself! It’s scary, but it’s okay. If I’m honest, it’s nice not to rely on other people to know my self-worth.”

Watch how many people will turn around and say, “You inspired me. I started my journey to self-love, and I couldn’t be more excited.”

To love yourself, you just need to give yourself permission to try, so set a positive example to someone else and do it now. Who knows, it might change their life.

8. It Can Only Improve Your Life

The thing about self-love is that it can improve your mental state. You can only feel better, more confident, more secure, and happier when you are in a better space. Once that happens, you can create a better life for others.

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Your life will be full of laughs. You will try new things because you won’t be afraid to fail and get out there and not care what people think of you. More importantly, you will live your life to the fullest and have the confidence and grit to go after your dreams. Here are more tips for you: 6 Ways to Show Yourself the Love You Truly Deserve

9. You Can Change the World

When you love yourself first, you can create real change.

You have that new confidence, bravery, and conviction to do it. You stop depending on someone else to give you all the emotional benefits that come with love.

As soon as you make that happen, greatness follows suit.

10. You Can Love Someone for Real

You can spend your life by giving love away, hoping to gain it in return, but life isn’t a business transaction. Some people just take, and you keep giving without realizing that it chips away at your own self-esteem and self-worth.

When you love yourself without expecting anything in return, you can love someone the way they deserve to be loved. After all, you have an endless source of it, and it can never deplete.

Bottom Line

If you want to replenish the ball of light in your chest and reconnect with an unlimited source of love, take a day off to do that. Find out who you are and be compassionate to yourself. Buy something nice, go to a spa, compliment yourself, and make other hard choices that are in your best interest. That’s the only way to reignite your light and love yourself.

I hope that you take a moment to feel that love inside you after reading this. Love is beautiful, and you deserve to feel it all. It doesn’t make you a wrong person to want that.

More on Practicing Self-Love

Featured photo credit: Raychan via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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