I am a true believer that to be happy and succeed in life, you have to love yourself--but I struggle a lot with self-care.
When you're able love yourself, you're more likely to be more confident, have higher self-esteem, and can build better intimate and personal relationships. But it's a lot easier said than done in most cases, which I'm learning now at the ripe age of 22 how to love, reward, and challenge myself to new heights everyday. Being diagnosed with two mental illnesses, it was easy to forget the importance of self-care since my entire thought process was focused on eliminating the pain I had been experiencing for a long time and worrying about how my family and friends would be affected by my diagnosis since I've always been the type to put others before myself. The reasons behind them are because I worry so much about others, caring about what they have, don't have, and what I can do to be there.
But now, I am realizing I need to start applying this self-care into my own life. I need to instead, put myself first and make changes to help improve my happiness. I know some things are simple when talking about self-care, including drinking water, taking a walk, breathing, getting enough sleep, and taking hot showers. Those are small self-care things I can or already incorporate in my life to help me relax. And if you don't, you should.
Taking those first steps can gradually help improve, because maybe taking that relaxing walk before work or starting hobbies you like will lead you to meeting new people and help increase that confidence you lack. As hard as it sounds--and it's something I'm currently struggling with--is finding ways to "love yourself". The statement seems true enough that you can't give the others the same love and attention if you don't provide it for yourself first. Self-care and love can also include letting go of toxic people in your life, any change necessary to make sure you're able to live the life you want to live. Embrace the changes and make it what you will.
It's hard, I know. I am learning to love myself more and more everyday when or if I can, but this is helping, slowly, as I now find new things I like and don't like about myself, and finding new things to enjoy. I'm re-discovering the inner nerd I held as a child, and getting back into video games, wrestling, and Star Wars. But at the same time, I am trying new things by signing up for a gym membership, saving money up for a new wardrobe, listening to new music, drawing/coloring, and trying new food recipes to cook! They're small, but helping me learn to know what I deserve, what I want, and just going more with the flow with life.