How Practicing Self-Love Can Help Your Business Reach New Heights
Harmful myths about self-love persist -- but embracing it is key for professional success.
Self-love is crucial for your mental and physical health — and for your business's health.
At its core, self-love is about fully and unconditionally accepting yourself for who you are and what you have become so far. Self-love helps you remove the suffocating mask you have been wearing for the world. It reflects the deep understanding that you are enough.
Believing in yourself comes with incredible rewards. Everything in your reality is your own projection, and nothing can stop you as you fulfill your dreams effortlessly.
Although self-love helps you heal, grow and succeed, some harmful myths keep entrepreneurs from practicing it. Here are three of the most common misconceptions, debunked.
1. Self-love will make me selfish
On some level, you know self-love is good for you. So why don’t you practice it?
Caring for the self is often mistakenly conflated with being narcissistic or self-centered, so a lot of people are hesitant to practice self-love. But when you don't, you become overwhelmed. You experience a lack of focus, low energy, reduced motivation and irritability around the clock, and your life and business suffer.
Self-love helps you set appropriate boundaries so you feel positive and confident. When you prioritize taking time for yourself, you feel good about yourself, and your business will reap the rewards.
Take some time every week to take yourself for a coffee date. This is your sacred time to appreciate your success and failures for the week. Do not judge. Just reflect on the person you have become through your business so far, and it well help you go even further.
2. Self-love will hinder my progress
Another big misconception about self-love is that you will become lazy and uncreative if you slow down and take the time to heal yourself. It is true that you have to slow down and embrace stillness to know your authentic self, but it does not necessarily mean that your progress will come to a halt too.
In reality, self-love will make you creative, spontaneous, intuitive and inspired. When you show up as your authentic self without anxiety, doubts and insecurities, you do your job better because you are not in a fight-or-flight mode. When you're in fight-or-flight mode, you lose out on critical frontal-lobe functioning: memory, emotional expression, judgment, impulse control, problem solving, social interaction and motor functioning. It's counter-productive.
Yet many people run their business in fight-or-flight mode because they're afraid of slowing down and missing opportunities. But the truth is that there are so many things in this world that are out of your control, and sometimes it benefits you to take a breath and trust in the process.
So consciously slow down. Walk slowly. Drive slowly. Eat slowly. Be mindful when you are doing these activities and stay in the moment. You'll likely start to enjoy more peaceful, lower-stress days in addition to business gains.
3. Self-love means I am weak
The misconception that self-love equals weakness makes me sad because our society has chosen to see things in black and white. As a perfectionist, it makes total sense: Any gray area is uncomfortable and uncharted territory. If you feel self-love makes you weak, then you really don’t know the power of self-love and how it can, if practiced, take you to new heights of success.
Self-love means you unconditionally accept your limitations and aren't ashamed by them. Being able to fully accept yourself without judgements is probably the hardest thing you will ever practice. Whenever I see someone screaming, yelling or displaying behaviors of hostility, I think of that person as weak and fragile, like a bully who threatens others to feel strong. Yet we have accepted bullying as a sign of strength, at least in the corporate world. Similarly, acts of kindness are mistaken for weakness.
But when you practice kindness towards yourself, you better regulate your emotions. Being able to accept all aspects of yourself, good and bad, is the ultimate freedom and leadership style you should prioritize in personal and professional relationships. As a counselor and life coach, I teach people every day to accept their less desirable selves. And I am here to tell you that it usually is the most difficult part of their coaching journey. Criticizing limitations and flaws comes naturally for most people, but they should instead strive for unconditional acceptance. Self-love is not going to make you weak; it will make you strong beyond measure.
So make a list of things you hide from others or are ashamed of. Then start to accept one limitation at a time to avoid being overwhelmed by telling yourself, “I love you despite this limitation,” as often as you can. This will help you become whole. At the end of the day, we all want to be accepted unconditionally, and you can do that for yourself.
There you have it. The three most common myths about self-love, debunked. Remember, self-love is about unconditionally accepting your good, bad and ugly without criticism. When you are able to do this without apology, your confidence and self-worth will soar to new heights — and take your business with them.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor