How to Love Yourself

Have you ever struggled to love yourself? If so, you’re not alone. Think of self -love as a practice. A life change or mindset change. It is not a destination. When we love ourselves, we appreciate our own worth or value. We don’t have to love everything about ourselves. Certain days will be better than others. We don’t need affirmation from others and we don’t need them to tell us we are good enough, smart enough, attractive enough—we simply know. As a result, we have higher levels of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence.

When we don’t love ourselves, we have more negative feelings and self-focused emotions. For example, we may feel:

  • Inadequacy
  • Shame
  • Angry
  • Driven (to prove ourselves to others)
  • Lonely, and
  • Guilty (Wegscheider-Cruse, 2012)

We might also feel addicted to things that make us feel better in the short term but hurt us in the longer term (Wegscheider-Cruse, 2012). For example, we might use alcohol, drugs, sex, food, shopping, or workaholism to reduce our negative emotions.

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Why Loving Yourself Is Important

Love yourself

If you don’t love yourself, you might be more critical of yourself. You might engage in behaviors like negative self-talk—for example, “I’m worthless”, “I could never succeed at this”, or “I’m not smart enough”. These thought patterns can generate feelings of anxiety, sadness, or hopelessness.

Once you are able to accept that perfection is not necessary to be loved the you can begin to learn self-acceptance and self-love. When you are bogged down by the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s, you know that accepting your personal flaws and faults can feel unachievable.

It is achievable with the proper training and practice. First step is to acknowledge your personal reality in non-judgmental terms, (this is my situation…) as opposed to (this is my fault because…). This will allow you to accept and move past these events that you can’t control.

On the flip side, studies have shown that having positive feelings about yourself may be a crucial ingredient for happiness, success, and popularity (Crocker, & Knight, 2005). So self-love may be the key to living a good life. The idea is to validate your thoughts and feelings instead of blaming yourself. Self-love doesn’t mean we didn’t make mistakes, it means we are able to take responsibility for our mistakes. We can learn from them and move forward.

How to Love Yourself

Although increasing our self-esteem and learning to love ourselves is not the easiest thing to do, we have the power to increase the number of positive feelings we have about ourselves. Know that you don’t have to love your reality in order to love and accept yourself. We love our family and friends despite their faults and flaws, but we have a hard time loving the same things about ourselves.

There are many science-backed strategies you can use to love yourself more. But keep in mind that this may be hard at first. This is not something that can happen overnight. It takes practice, and discipline to cultivate new thought patterns. You may not feel comfortable treating yourself with the level of kindness and respect you deserve. So take your time and ease into self-love strategies slowly if you need to. Here are some ways to get started:

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1. Be Self-Compassionate

Self-compassion involves being compassionate (showing sympathy and concern) towards yourself. According to self-compassion expert Dr. Kristin Neff, self-compassion includes self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness (Neff, 2003). Everyone has their little ways of decompressing from their lives. Here are a few ways that you can practice more self compassion for yourself.

  • Comfort your body. Change your eating habits to a more healthful diet. Take time to get rest. Get a massage. Anything that improves your physical health will be beneficial.
  • Write yourself a letter. Use this to nurture your feelings without placing blame on anyone, including yourself.
  • Give yourself a pat on the back. We are always encouraging others, but we seem to forget we need encouragement as well. If you’ve done something well and you know it. Treat yourself to that margarita you have been wanting and congratulate yourself.
  • Practice mindfulness as often as you can. Get out and walk your dog. Meditate. Take a long hot (or as hot as the water stays) bath. Go out and dance naked under the moonlight. (I hear this is a thing.) Just be.

2. Practice Loving Kindness Towards Yourself and Others

Loving-kindness meditation is a type of meditation that is used to help cultivate unconditional kind attitudes toward ourselves and others. It involves repeating phrases, such as “may you be happy” or “may you be free from suffering” toward specific others and yourself (Zeng et al., 2015). To love yourself more, focus especially on the meditation that has you imagine love coming towards you. You must send the love out into the universe first. This may sound counter-intuitive, but you must release the negativity before you can receive the positive. To do the meditation:

  • Take a comfortable seated position.
  • Find good wish phrases. Take a few breaths. Relax the body and find good wish phrases you’d like to see for yourself.
  • Bring someone to mind that has been kind to you.  Direct your loving-kindness you have created within yourself to this person. Wishing them safety, happiness, and peace. Gently let your mind rest in these phrases.
  • Bring a neutral person to mind. Someone you know that you do not have a strong sense of emotion for. Direct your loving-kindness to them. If no-one comes to mind then stay with a good friend.
  • Bring to mind a difficult person to mind. Direct your loving-kindness to this person. By doing so, we are not approving or condoning their behavior or actions. We are allowing ourselves to acknowledge that no-one is perfect and we all deserve to be understood and loved. It is to allow ourselves the opportunity to accept responsibility of and forgive ourselves of our reactions in response to their actions.
  • Expand your awareness and loving-kindness to everyone everywhere. Wishing them safety, happiness and peace. Let your mind rest in these phrases.

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3. Forgive Yourself

You have been led to believe you need to be hard on yourself and self-recriminate in order to be successful. You create problems for yourself when you strive to be perfect. This is a recipe for massive stress, constant disappointment and problems with your physical and mental health, such as depression and anxiety.

You can change this behavior by learning and maturing through your mistakes. This requires you to take responsibility for yourself and your actions, and cultivate discipline.

Practicing self-forgiveness creates better mental and emotional well-being. It establishes more positive attitudes and healthier relationships. Relatedly it ties in with self-compassion with higher levels of success, productivity, and concentration.

Here is a four step approach to self-forgiveness:

  • Practice Awareness – Accept your discomfort, mistakes, emotional reactions without judgment. Ask yourself, “is this reaction emotional, or based on facts? Am I blowing this situation out of proportion because of how I feel?”
  • Remember your humanity. As babies when we fall down, we are encouraged to get up and try again. This is how adults with self-forgiving traits treat their mistakes. Instead of criticizing themselves, they learn and grow from their mistakes.
  • Be kind to yourself. Yes, this is actually a thing. Take care of your mental and physical health. Ask yourself; ” what can i do for me today?”
  • Take action:  Considering what you can do to rectify a mistake with honor and self-respect, and putting it in action is the first step. Rectifying an error will lift your burden and help you move beyond a past mistake that is still affecting your current life.

A study showed that adults who completed six-weeks of forgiveness training reported lower stress, anger, and hurt than people who didn’t undergo the training (Harris, et al., 2006). They also felt more optimism immediately after the training and four months later.


​4. Practice Self-Gratitude

They say it is always better to give than to receive. Right? Well, that isn’t always the case when it comes to self-gratitude. Often times we are too busy extending it to others to really appreciate ourselves. This is why you should start to practice self-gratitude on a daily basis. Celebrate your accomplishments.

One type of gratitude involves feeling grateful for who we are and the things we’ve done. For example, we might tell ourselves “thanks” for taking care of our health. Or we might give ourselves a pat on the back for making someone else smile. Or, we might be grateful for our cute cheeks, our calm demeanor, our ability to cook the best cookies. So, try taking a moment each day to notice the things about yourself that you’re grateful for.

If you need help, here are some suggestions.

  • Create a gratitude statement.
  • Set an intention to do it.
  • Use daily mantras.
  • Begin a gratitude journal.
  • Pause and look back

Self-gratitude can build confidence and help you face any challenge when no else will. After all, no one knows you better than yourself, nor benefits as much as you do from being reminded of your own strengths and abilities.  It helps motivate you to keep going in your business and take on the next challenge.

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5. Show Yourself That You Love Yourself

Taking actions to show ourselves that we love ourselves is super important. It’s just like if we were in a relationship. Our partner might say they love us, but if they don’t show us, then we might not believe them. So show yourself that “you love you”. You might do this by taking the afternoon off from work, buying yourself something that helps you achieve your goals, or standing up for yourself against a workplace bully. Any kind action you take that shows self-love can help you see you love yourself.

Happy and positive, smiling confident. Self love and self care

I started my Self-Awareness Coaching career to help women create lives they love. I hope to assist you on your path toward greater self-awareness by teaching you how to understand yourself better and make decisions based on an understanding of what you want. With an expert strategy and tailored development plan, we will set realistic goals that you can achieve and use to continue working toward reaching your full potential.

4 ways to accept yourself.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at not cost to you. Please read my Terms of Use Policy for more information.

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