Love identifies itself

The love for oneself and its effect on health [1]

Of Bodo Karsten Unkelbach

Mental illnesses are increasing. In 2000 4.1 percent of the workforce were prescribed an antidepressant, in 2013 it was 6 percent. Absenteeism due to depression increased by 75 percent between 2006 and 2012. The World Health Organization predicts that mental illness will make up the majority of cases in 2030. One of the main pillars of the treatment of mental illnesses is psychotherapy. A basic assumption is that human behavior and inner experience are closely interrelated. If we perceive ourselves, take ourselves seriously, stand up for our wishes, needs and longings, care for ourselves and do ourselves good, in short, if we love ourselves, then the probability of getting mentally ill decreases rapidly. The aim is that our life is not determined by the disease, but by ourselves.


Listen to yourself

Too many people pay too little attention to themselves. They adapt and neglect their own points of view. They help and care about others. They put themselves last, their lack of self-esteem covered with the veil of humility. They do not pay attention to internal signals of tiredness and exhaustion. Eventually they will be forced to a standstill when their internal battery is burned out and dead. We often don't treat ourselves as well as we can. An example: 50 percent of Germans are considered overweight. Most of them would like to be leaner. But why don't they pick up then? The explanations are certainly individual and very different. One reason is to be found in the attitude that says: “I just meant it.” For a short time I treat myself to something “good”, for example a chocolate bar, but in the long term I pay on it. But if I really love myself, then I change my eating habits because I want to do myself good. In order to differentiate “meant dear” from actual self-love, it helps to differentiate between short-term and long-term. In the short term it's fun to eat the chocolate bar, in the long term I'm frustrated because I don't lose weight. But if I take myself and my priority, namely losing weight, seriously, then I will take a short bite into the "bullet" and change my diet (and exercise). In the long term, I benefit from it because I get used to the new diet and sooner or later the pounds drop. True love is measured by whether I do myself good in the long term. The prerequisite for this is to listen to yourself. What is really important to me? Where do I set my priorities? How can I do something good for myself in the long run? To find answers to these questions, silence helps. Then I withdraw, turn off any form of distraction and let my thoughts and feelings run free. After a while I start to sort them out and it crystallizes out what is really important to me. I develop an idea of ​​how I want to shape my relationships, my work, and my health care.


Bring feeling and mind into harmony

But we often get in our own way when we want to change something. We have set ourselves a specific goal, but we are not getting any further. Just why? There will be innumerable answers to this question too. One of the many possible answers is that all of us have not been exclusively well-shaped. Our parents or grandparents still had to experience the Third Reich. During the war and in the post-war period, feelings were seen as something disturbing, something dangerous. Man had to be "hard as Krupp steel". Mental pain had to be suppressed, it was just a hindrance. But true love takes the whole person. True love does not want to forbid the beloved to anything. The beloved does not have to hide anything, but is accepted as he is. If I love myself, I say an unconditional "yes" to myself. I don't have to hide anything from myself. I love my beautiful parts as much as my rough edges, my inadequacies. True love for yourself means to respect, perceive and accept all parts. Feeling and mind are two areas that can sometimes ostensibly contradict each other. As a rule, both are justified. When they diverge, they are often only looking at different sides of the same coin. It is the task of feeling and mind to analyze and understand one another. Feelings can help me track down a mistake in a seemingly rational and logical argument. I find my argumentation plausible and conclusive, but at one point I feel that there is a kink in the logic somewhere. If I take enough time, I will be able to identify the logical fallacy, my feeling shows me the way. Conversely, in situations in which I am flooded by intense feelings, the mind can help me to consider influences, to sort the chaos and to have a soothing effect on my feelings. This is especially true when I notice that the trigger and the reaction are disproportionate to one another. If I am in this process, then I love myself. Then I am doing myself good.


Self-love as an orientation

The modern age with countless options, permanent distraction opportunities due to the rapid increase in new media and a decline in cultural and religious structures that have provided orientation and support in the past, increasingly forces us to take care of ourselves, to adopt our own attitudes and assessments to define, in short, to love ourselves.

Literature from the author

Dr. med. Bodo Karsten Unkelbach, Center for Mental Health
Marienheide, Leppestrasse 65-67, 51427 Marienheide,
Email: [email protected]

This book can change your life!

Self-love makes you strong!

Self-love is the foundation on which we move in all areas of life. No matter what goals we set ourselves, if we don't love ourselves, we will only be able to pursue them half-heartedly. Self-love permeates all of life. Bodo Unkelbach is not about egoism, which is a distorted image of self-love. Rather, the accomplished physician writes about the nature of self-love and its importance for a happy life. Values ​​such as respectful interaction and mutual awareness are just as indispensable as recognizing needs and building resilience. The decision for self-determination and personal responsibility are the basis for the cycle of self-love shown by Unkelbach: self-awareness self-perception - self-respect - self-acceptance - self-worth - self-confidence - self-confidence, these 7 values ​​form the circle. The psychiatrist presents the individual steps in detail, sensitively and with case studies. With many practical tips, the reader receives well-founded instructions on how to practice self-love step by step.


The cycle of self-love in 7 steps

1. Self-awareness and self-awareness I focus on myself

2. Self-awareness - I perceive my innermost being

3. Self-respect - I treat thoughts, feelings, and visions with respect

4. 4. Self-acceptance - I accept everything in me unconditionally

5. Develop self-worth - I see myself as a valuable person

6. Self-Confidence - I trust myself through being aware of myself

7. Confidence - I am sure of myself and act confidently


· Instructions for self-love: A comprehensive guide with many practical tips

· Medically sound knowledge: 7 steps to resilience

· The author is known as an expert in the Süddeutsche Zeitung series "Survival"


About the author:

Dr. Bodo Karsten Unkelbach, Born in 1969, is a specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy and since 2006 chief physician of the department for addiction medicine and psychotherapy at the Center for Mental Health in Marienheide in the Bergisches Land. He lectures regularly. This is his first non-fiction book.


[1]Source: 98impu! Se, March 2018; Reprinted with the kind permission of the editor and the author.