Self Confidence

SELF CARE vs. SELF LOVE: What’s the Difference?

written by: Adreanna Santos     |     June 26, 2023

Image of woman with the title SELF CARE vs SELF LOVE

Let's talk about one of the most buzzed-about topics of the millennial generation – self care vs self-love.

Now, while most of us have heard about these two concepts, not everyone is quite sure about the difference. Often, these terms are used interchangeably, which can lead to some confusion.

So, let's dive in and take a closer look at what self-care and self-love really mean.

Schitt's creek self care gif

Defining Self Care

First off, let's talk about self-care.

Self-care involves taking care of oneself on a physical, emotional, and mental level. It's about doing what you need to keep your body and mind in good shape and to live your life to the fullest.

When you engage in self-care, you are actively working to improve your overall well-being.

In a national survey, Americans cited benefits of self-care as: enhanced self-confidence (64%), increased productivity (67%), happiness (71%).

Self-care includes practices such as eating nutritious foods, sleeping enough, meditation, journaling, skincare routine, and getting regular exercise.

It could be in the form of taking a relaxing bath, getting a massage, practicing yoga or meditation, or saying ‘no’ to something that doesn't serve our best interests.

It's important to remember that self-care is not just a one-off, occasional thing but something that needs to be practiced regularly. It is crucial to our mental health and overall well-being.

By taking care of ourselves mentally, emotionally, and physically, we're able to manage our stress, increase our energy levels and live a more relaxed and healthy lifestyle.

Defining Self Love

Self-love, on the other hand, is emotional.

Self-love is about accepting everything that makes you who you are.

Self-love involves embracing and celebrating ourselves for who we are, accepting our flaws and imperfections.

It is about cultivating a positive relationship with ourselves and developing a strong sense of self-worth.

It is about accepting and appreciating yourself for who you are.

It means being kind to yourself, forgiving yourself for mistakes, and recognizing your strengths and weaknesses.

It's about recognizing your self-worth and practicing self-compassion. It's not conceit or narcissism; it's about valuing and appreciating yourself.

Self-love is not just about feeling good, it's about having a healthy relationship with yourself. When you love yourself, you are less likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors and more likely to take care of yourself.

Ultimately, it's about having an excellent, non-judgmental relationship with yourself.

Self-love is not a one-off activity or a destination to reach, but a continuous journey of discovery and growth. Taking care of your emotional health and recognizing your value is an ongoing process and includes practicing self-forgiveness, affirmations, speaking kindly to yourself, and setting boundaries in relationships when necessary.

It is a long-term practice, something that we need to work on consistently.

READ: Self Love: The Key to Happiness

The Difference Between Self-Care vs Self Love

The biggest difference between self-care and self-love is their focus.

While self-care focuses on taking care of our physical, mental, and emotional needs, self-love focuses on cultivating a positive relationship with us and recognizing the value of our worth.

Self-care is something we DO, while self-love is something we FEEL.

In short, self-care is the act of taking care of ourselves on a physical, emotional, and mental level. It involves ‘doing’ something for ourselves, and it could be a wide range of things that make us feel good.

Self-love, on the other hand, is the ongoing practice of accepting ourselves as we are, recognizing our worth, and cultivating a positive relationship with ourselves. It involves ‘feeling’ something about ourselves, a sense of inner peace and contentment.

It's important to find a balance between self-care and self-love. You can't have one without the other. When you practice self-care, you are showing yourself love, and when you practice self-love, you are taking care of yourself. Finding this balance can be a challenge, but it's worth it. When you love and care for yourself, you are better equipped to handle life's challenges.

Self love examples

Examples of Self Care vs Examples of Self Love

Self Care:

  1. Taking a warm bath with essential oils or Epsom salts to relax and unwind after a stressful day.
  2. Prioritizing a good night's sleep every night to ensure you wake up feeling refreshed and energized.
  3. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet that fuels your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive.
  4. Going for a scenic hike or walk in nature to clear your mind and improve your overall well-being.
  5. Scheduling regular therapeutic or educational appointments, such as going to a therapist or attending a workshop that focuses on self-improvement.

Self Love:

  1. Treating yourself with kindness and compassion, especially during times of difficulty or disappointment.
  2. Acknowledging and embracing your unique qualities and strengths, rather than comparing yourself to others.
  3. Practicing gratitude and focusing on the positive aspects of your life, rather than dwelling on negatives.
  4. Setting healthy boundaries in relationships and prioritizing your own needs and desires.
  5. Engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, simply because they make you happy.

How Can You Move Beyond Just Self Care to Self Love

The most important thing to remember when it comes to self-care and self-love is that they are both essential for our mental health and overall well-being.

According to a survey by Vitagene, 44% of people believe self-love is an essential aspect of mental health, however, only 13% of women say they regularly practice self-love.

It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and forget to practice self-care or show yourself love. But, it is vital that we take the time to prioritize our mental and emotional health.

Self-care is about taking care of your physical and emotional needs, while self-love is about cultivating a positive relationship with yourself and appreciating your worth. They both involve different activities, but when they are combined together, they create an invaluable form of self-care for your mental health.

Self-care and self-love are both about investing in yourself. It is important to practice both on a regular basis and make them part of your daily routine. Make time for activities that make you feel good, whether it is taking a bath or reading a book, engaging in some self-reflection or practicing gratitude.

It can be hard to practice self-care and self-love, especially if you are used to neglecting yourself. But it is worth it in the end. When you take care of yourself and recognize your value, that's when true happiness comes into play. It takes time and effort, but it will be worth it in the end. So, make self-care and self-love a priority today and start your journey towards a healthier and happier you.

Image of woman with the title SELF CARE vs SELF LOVE
Image with the title SELF CARE vs SELF LOVE

How to Cultivate Self Love - It’s not all bubble baths and face masks!

Okay, so cultivating self-love can sound a little woo-woo but hear me out - it's an essential part of living a happy, healthy life. Here are some tried and true ways to show yourself some love:

1. Practice daily affirmations: Start your day with positive self-talk by saying things like "I am deserving of love" and "I am enough." It may feel silly at first, but over time these affirmations can help boost your confidence.

READ: How to Make Affirmations Work Faster: 3 Easy Steps

2. Take care of your body: Show your body some love by eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. Not only will this make you feel better physically, but it can also improve your mental health.

3. Set boundaries: It's important to know your limits and be able to say no when necessary. This can help prevent burnout and show yourself that your needs are just as important as others'.

READ: 9 Reasons Why You Struggle to Say ‘No’

4. Prioritize your own needs: It's easy to get caught up in pleasing others or meeting external expectations, but true self love means putting yourself first sometimes. So make sure you're getting enough sleep, taking breaks when you need them, and doing things that truly bring you joy.

5. Surround yourself with positivity: This includes both people and environments. Seek out friends and loved ones who lift you up and make you feel good about yourself, and spend time in places that make you happy and at ease.

6. Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a close friend. Be gentle with yourself when you make mistakes and remember that nobody is perfect.

READ: 8 Practical Ways To Be Kind To Yourself, No Matter What Life Throws At You

7. Practice gratitude: Gratitude is a powerful tool for cultivating positive emotions and reinforcing self love. Take time each day to reflect on things you're thankful for, whether it's a beautiful sunset or a kind gesture from a friend.

8. Forgiving yourself: Letting go of past mistakes and forgiving yourself can be a powerful way to cultivate self love. This means acknowledging your flaws and imperfections, but refusing to let them define you or hold you back. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, focus on what you can learn from them, and use them as a stepping stone towards greater growth and self-acceptance.

9. Release guilt and shame: That means being kind and understanding towards yourself, even when you make mistakes. Instead of berating yourself for something you did wrong, try talking to yourself as you would a good friend. Research has shown that practicing self-compassion can help reduce feelings of shame and increase self-esteem.

Remember, cultivating self-love is a journey and it won't happen overnight. But with consistent effort and practice, you can learn to love and appreciate yourself just the way you are.


Self-care and self-love are two vital concepts that often get confused with each other. While they may appear similar, they're fundamentally different.

Self-care involves taking care of our physical, emotional, and mental well-being, while self-love involves accepting and celebrating ourselves for who we are.

It's important to understand the difference between the two and find a balance between them. When we take care of ourselves and love ourselves, we are better prepared to handle life's challenges with grace and confidence.

So, take some time to engage in self-care today, and remember to show yourself some love. You deserve it!

If you're ready to start taking better care of yourself and show yourself some love, then don't wait another second!

Download my new Magnetic Desires Audio to help you visualize yourself completing your self-care tasks and access the self-love that lies within. Take the first step now, and let's get started on your journey to a healthier and happier you.

I’m an expert at subconscious reprogramming, a nerd when it comes to human behavior, and my obsession is teaching others how to be their best selves (without all of the resistance and self-sabotage).

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I'm Adreanna.

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