Why Self-Love is Important for Growth: Mindset Medicine
When I think of growth, I often imagine pushing myself beyond my current limits. And when I imagine pushing myself, my mind adopts a less-than-kind internal voice yelling at me to keep going.
“You’re thinking about stopping? Come on, you’re better than this!” this inner critical voice says. But it’s not in a “you’re so great!” positive tone. Instead, it carries an air of judgment.
Essentially, it laments me for not being good enough unless I do something.
Does this sound familiar? Many of us attach self-worth to our growth and achievements. Therefore, when we fall short, we feel all types of shame and guilt. Not to mention the fear that comes with this mindset; what if we fail? What then?
Unfortunately, our society has perpetuated this mindset for decades. Our bosses tried to terrify us into action; our coaches tried to shame us into motivation. And don’t even get us started on our parents…
All of these examples have something in common. They’re all wrong.
Everything we know–ranging from researched studies to lived experiences–teaches us that shame and fear as a means for growth is far from the most effective method.
Self-love, on the other hand, has the power to transform us.
Why Self-Love is Important for Growth
I want you to think of your most proud accomplishments in life. How many of them came in the context of fear and shame? And I’m not talking about nervousness. I’m talking about the mindset that if you fail, you’ll be worthless (or perhaps not in those exact words, but same general vibe).
I’d wager to guess that not many did. Instead, your biggest moments of growth probably came when you felt supported in your pursuits and confident that you could keep going. This confidence allowed you to manage your complicated emotions better and persevere to what you really wanted.
This concept is amplified when it comes to inner work and issues of identity. We’re so terrified of rejection, we often get stuck in cycles of shame. We avoid vulnerability because, well, it feels too vulnerable (not to mention the vulnerability hangovers that come with it). But we need to be vulnerable if we want to grow.
That’s why self-love is important for growth. By learning to adopt a mindset of self-love, we can be compassionate to ourselves in moments of vulnerability. Better yet, we begin to understand that we can survive setbacks, because our worthiness isn’t dependent on the outcome.
You are inherently worth just because of who you are, right now, in this moment.
Let me say that again. You are inherently worth just because of who you are, right now, in this moment.
Now you just need to adopt the mindset of self-love to believe it.
What is Self-Love, and the Relationship Between Self-Love and Growth
Self-love is an overall acceptance of who you are. It’s the belief that who you are now is worthy of love and compassion. It requires you to treat yourself with respect and kindness. It also means that you appreciate your flaws, differences, and moments of vulnerability because they make you who you are.
Being self-aware is so important for self-love because self-awareness helps you better understand and appreciate yourself.
You might wonder, If I love who I am right now, then wouldn’t that hinder my desire to grow and change?
Quite the contrary! Self-love isn’t saying that you’re perfect and never need to change. Instead, it’s appreciating your present self in the context of always growing.
We’re continuously evolving in terms of our life situations, values, and wants. And, lucky for us, some of our human tendencies that make our lives difficult (i.e. emotions) will never go away. But self-love is important for growth because it can serve as the constant in our evolution of change.
I didn’t always realize this. Reading the book Mindset Medicine by Mari L. McCarthy helped me better understand the value of self-love–a transformation I want to share with you now.
How the book Mindset Medicine Taught Me About Why Self-Love is Important for Growth
I’ve written a blog about self-awareness and vulnerability for over two years. Before that, I’ve spent the better part of my adult life chasing self-discovery prompts. I love diving into introspective questions, and I believe firmly in the transformative power of this work.
Yet it wasn’t until I read Mindset Medicine by Mari L. McCarthy that I realized I had been neglecting a key player in the game. Something both obvious and severely overlooked by our society.
I’ve ignored the necessity of self-love.
Our Reaction to Self-Love
If you’re like me, it took you a while to learn how to be open with your emotions. Trust doesn’t come easy, and any self-expression feels better locked up somewhere.
Ironically, I don’t mind exploring my emotions privately. Hundreds of journal pages prove that I enjoy the internal pursuit of my feelings and thoughts. My creative work centers around the promotion of self-awareness. Therefore, my journey to be more self-aware led me to understand my own vulnerabilities and challenges opening up to others.
What I didn’t realize was how much trouble I had opening up to myself.
Mindset Medicine doesn’t just mention self-love. It helped me understand that self-love is at the foundation of our self-work. One of the journaling prompts even instructs you to write, “I love myself,” and then say it to yourself out loud.
How silly, my default mindset said when I reached the prompt. Until I had trouble writing the words, let alone saying them aloud. In this precise moment, when my stomach knotted and my shoulders tensed up, I knew just how important this work was.
Poisonous Influences on Our Mindset (and Why Self-Love is so Important)
Mari’s first book, Journaling Power, helped me acknowledge the deeply-ingrained messages that plagued me from my childhood. My perfectionism, competitiveness, and need for productivity still impact me on a daily basis (just to name a few).
In Mindset Medicine, Mari expands on other cultural influences that impact our perceptions. To me, it wasn’t a shock to read how media, technology, and social media all affect our perceptions. Nor did I find it surprising when the book talked about how much cultural norms become internalized.
The way in which Mari explained the impact of these influences, however, taught me something I didn’t expect. Before reading her book, I viewed these cultural influences as something to fight. You know, imagine grabbing some weapons and heading to battle.
Now, I understand that it’s less about an armed attack and more about a strong fort. I don’t need to armor up and run toward these harmful messages. Instead, I merely need to build up a fortified foundation of self-love, and subsequently, self-respect.
If you think about the differences between these two metaphors, it becomes clear. The former requires quite a bit of energy and potential harm. The latter? Well, the latter allows you the time and space to grow, explore, and seek all that you may want.
Which leads to the next big lesson Mindset Medicine gave me: wanting.
The Excitement of Wanting
As a female, I’ve been conditioned to put my wants and needs behind those of others (and fortunately, this is changing in our society – but slowly). Still, I think all genders can identify the inherent shame that comes from wanting something, and the whispers of “I don’t deserve this.”
One of my biggest takeaways from reading Mindset Medicine was changing my outlook on wanting. Mari showed me that wanting can be exciting, not guilt-ridden or “selfish.” She encourages everyone to “remember the joy of wanting that came naturally to you as a child.”
Too often, I hide my wants behind action-item goals. These desires quickly become cloaked in “should’s” and societal expectations. Even when I started my blog, I struggled to find the balance between what I wanted and what I felt I should achieve – a conflict I’ve faced throughout my life.
Mindset Medicine gave a very simple formula for wanting:
Self-love + WANTING = Excitement
Mari writes, “when you give yourself permission simply to WANT something, feelings of being unworthy or undeserving of it will simply melt away.” In doing so, we create more space for joy and excitement.
As I read this quote, I thought back to my difficulty in writing, “I love myself.” It didn’t take me long to realize why my math didn’t quite add up in this life-changing equation.
Questions to Get You There
All of these life lessons would be enough to have an impact on me. However, Mindset Medicine goes further than merely teaching its readers. It guides you to undertake this “self-love revolution” – and Mari leads you with a devotion and tenacity that makes you excited to do the work.
One of my main beliefs is that it’s not my job to give someone else answers. Individuals must discover them for themselves. For this reason, I named my blog My Question Life (and it’s filled with questions for the readers to find their own answers).
Had Mindset Medicine told me what to think or how to feel, I might’ve been less excited about it. However, Mari understands this crucial philosophy – and she puts it into action. Her book is filled with questions and journaling prompts that helped me discover what I wanted to do.
In fact, one of her resounding ideals is that “should” has no place in self-discovery. Instead, we can all develop a “could” mindset filled with self-driven possibility. Mindset Medicine guided me to unlock some of the possibilities I want in my life. And through my own discoveries, I begin to learn how I can create them.
My favorite line of questioning, though, comes later in the book. While Mari gives example questions, she encourages you to create your own list of self-empowering questions. Not only was the exercise eye-opening in itself; it gave me questions to go back to whenever I need a boost of inspiration or reminder to focus on self-love.
Conclusion: Why Self-Love is Important for Growth in Mindset Medicine
You can read Mindset Medicine and take away a few powerful ideas. Or you can journey through Mindset Medicine – taking time to consider and answer the journaling prompts – and completely transform your outlook on why self-love is important for growth.
If you follow the guide of Mindset Medicine and do the inner work, you will experience a positive mindset shift. You’ll also develop skills and tools to continue the work (as self-awareness is a never-ending process).
What’s more, you’ll begin to build your fortified foundation of self-love. I know I did.
Mari L. McCarthy, Founder and CEO – Chief Empowerment Officer of CreateWriteNow.com, teaches curious health-conscious action-takers how to use Journaling For The Health Of It®️ to heal the emotional, creative, physical, and spiritual issues in their tissues. She also shows them how to use this powerful personal transformation tool to know, grow and share their True Self. Mari is the multi award-winning author of Journaling Power: How To Create The Happy, Healthy Life You Want To Live, Heal Your Self With Journaling Power and Mindset Medicine: A Journaling Power Self-Love Book. She’s also created 20+ Journaling For The Health Of It® Self-Management 101 Workbooks including Who Am I?, Take Control Of Your Health! and Start Journaling For The Health Of It® Write Now. Find out more about Mari by visiting her website CreateWriteNow.com, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube.