Why Self-love is Important to Your Mental Health and Wellbeing

beyouloveyourself

As solo practice and small business owners, most often we wear many hats.  Even if we’ve learned to delegate and automate, we can often act as somewhat control freaks. Which is where we get into trouble. We want success. We want the success of our friends, and colleagues, we want to see our families safe and secure. We want our cake and we want to eat it too. And we know, life doesn’t always work that way. Still, we try. Alongside our efforts, we experience emotions like disappointment, frustration, fear, shame, guilt, stress, etc. We’re hard on ourselves, and sometimes we convince ourselves that we can’t afford to take breaks, or we can’t afford to take a vacation, or we can’t afford to get help. And we wonder why we’re burned out, why our businesses either shut down before we ever make a sustainable and profitable venture, why we’ve finally “made bank” and are miserable and exhausted and alone even as we’re surrounded by people.

Sometimes in an effort to gain control we find ourselves seduced by the success we believe others have and carry our ladders over to their vision hoping to build for ourselves what we think they have. We lose ourselves in the process.

But thanks to many concerted efforts, we’re finally talking about emotions, and we hearing more and more about work environments emphasizing mindfulness, and rest. We’re reading about offices incorporating sleep pods, and onsite personal fitness classes. But what about the non-corporate businesses? How can we boost our workplace wellness in the midst of deadlines, pitching, feast and famine cycles, kid is home sick, spouse is unsupportive, and hoping we can afford to go to the doctor’s office without getting an astronomically high bill. 

When shuffling from one program to the next, one course onto another about personal development and anything that felt like it was holistic health related, I found love to be the most accessible possibility for me. It became an entryway, an aspiration I was willing to spend my hard pressed time and precious energy on if it meant a passage to healing, health, and wholeness. One of the patterns I noticed in many great works around the concept of love was the notion that one couldn’t give what one didn’t have to give. So, I started with a focus around self-love so I could learn to extend myself for growth without self-destruction. The more I learned to love myself, the more I was willing to actually do the work of healing and taking care of myself, because I made it a priority instead of something I squeeze in if I find some time.

There are many definitions for self-love, but I like to reference the model of a self-love tree and its branches. I first learned about this model through the book, Madly in Love with Me by Christine Arylo. The book inspired our first virtual summit

The branches of self-love are:

• Self-acceptance

• Self-awareness

• Self-care

• Self-trust and honesty

• Self-esteem

• Self-compassion and forgiveness

• Self-empowerment

• Self-expression

• Self-honor and respect

• Self-pleasure

• Self-worth (these are the roots)

And we tend to a particular branch (or two) for a period of time (enough to build a habit) in order to care for and nurture our self-love tree.

Now, when working on building a habit it helps to give yourself credit where credit is due. I believe in celebrating small wins, and I believe in the power of micro movements that build up to become big changes…so if we commit to 10 minutes of practice a day, we will be better off than when we did nothing at all. I believe in starting somewhere and then “doing better when you know better,” as Maya Angelou once said.

I’ve learned and continue to learn many life lessons along the way as I move from one small step forward to determined and committed practice.

So here’s just a few ways a dedicated practice of self-love can boost your mental health and wellbeing:

1. It helps you gain more self-awareness. When we actively work to get to know ourselves better, we are better able to identify when we are stressed, when we are exhausted, and when stress is becoming something more. Burn-out can be prevented with a keen sense of self-awareness and the actions you take with that self-awareness.

2. You make a commitment to yourself and to being your own best friend. When we care about ourselves enough to want the best for ourselves, we tend to make better decisions with the many choices life offers. We stop acting from a place of fragmentation. When we believe we are worthy of our best effort, we tend to waste less time with people and situations who get a ego-boosts and power-rushes off of our oppression and trauma.

3. Depending on what area of your self-love tree you’re nurturing, you release a build up of negative tapes you’ve played in your head that has affected life over and over since childhood. Patterns you’ve habitually built over time begin to be healed and released in order to make room for new ways of being and doing in life. This is important for business owners who may subconsciously self-sabotage their business success by an internal message that they are not good enough to charge certain rates, or attract certain clients, or network at the right events, or sell a program they’ve worked so hard on.

4. You learn to be more compassionate to yourself in the face of failure. Self-compassion yields more compassionate towards others. It humanizes all of us and helps us to stop seeing and treating each other as commodities. It helps us not to dehumanize anyone who is different. When we work as a team, when we build community, personalities conflict, that is a fact of life. However, if we see ourselves as whole even in our own imperfection, we can learn to see that in those we struggle to get along with and act with integrity.

5. Practice builds resiliency. Life is a winding road type of journey. Entrepreneurship and running a business often feels like a roller coaster ride. When we make an effort to love ourselves through all life changes, we realize that we have the ability to make it through storms, that we are courageous, and we are stronger than what we believed.

 


 

Lynette Davis is the founder of Love Yourself Love Your Business. Follow her on Twitter @lynddavis