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Sometimes when I talk about the importance of self-care and self-love, I see someone hesitate just slightly, as if they’re about to say something but stop themselves.


Sometimes, though, they don’t hesitate at all to share their objections:


  • “Self-love? Isn’t that narcissistic?”
  • “What do you do – sit around hugging yourself all day?”
  • “Self-care sounds like a fancy term for being selfish.”


I don’t even get defensive about it anymore. I know how to answer these concerns: with facts.


Like these:


  • Self-love just means taking time to make sure your needs are met.
  • It’s a powerful antidote to the stresses of everyday life, encouraging physical health, fitness, mental health, confidence, and better relationships.
  • Science PROVES it.


And, as a bonus: What’s wrong with hugging yourself? NOTHING, thank you very much.


The world too often tells us we’re falling short. Many of us have a powerful inner saboteur that’s more than happy to lead that chorus (insert destructive self-deprecating comments here!). So, we simply must make the effort to systematically and enthusiastically support ourselves.


But what do we mean by that? Well, to me, examples of self-love include silencing our inner critic and replacing it with compassion and encouragement… it means taking care of our physical and mental health … and nurturing all aspects of our wellbeing, including relationships and spirituality.


Acts of self-love release neurotransmitters that reduce stress and anxiety – and, as we know, stress will mess you up in countless ways, body, mind and spirit. It can even contribute to weight loss and lower immunity.


When you love and respect yourself, you’re more likely to set healthy boundaries with others – and to practice habits that strengthen you and your relationships at home and at work.


The mind-body connection is nurtured and strengthened. You sleep and eat better.


Challenges become less worrisome; your efficiency soars.


You see? There’s nothing airy-fairy about this. It just makes sense.


Compare that to how you feel when you insult yourself all the time, don’t exercise regularly or eat well, and push yourself so hard that sleep becomes a nightmare.


How does that lifestyle affect your health?


So, rather than criticize yourself again and again… rather than compare yourself unfavorably to others… rather than stew in all that anti-you sentiment, do this instead.


Give yourself a break.


Give yourself a hug – literally and figuratively.


You deserve it, today and every day.