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It's not always easy to love ourselves. We may not feel good enough, smart enough, or worthy enough. We may be our own harshest critic.
The truth is that we all have insecurities and self-doubt at times. But the good news is that we can work on changing our mindset and learning to love ourselves just the way we are. When we make self love a priority in our lives, we experience countless benefits, including improved mental health, better relationships, and more happiness and peace of mind.
You're probably familiar with the saying "you can't love others until you love yourself." But what does that mean, and how do you go about loving yourself?
This article will explore all avenues of self love, including why self love is so important, how to start practicing it in your life, and some of the benefits you can experience from making it a priority.
What does self love mean?
Self love is the act of accepting, appreciating, and taking care of yourself. It's about having a positive relationship with yourself, both mentally and emotionally. It's about taking responsibility for your own mental health and well being.
It means having a deep and abiding respect for yourself; it means recognizing your own self worth and accepting yourself just as you are, even if there are aspects of yourself that you would like to change.
It means taking care of yourself – mind, body, and spirit – so that you can be the best possible version of yourself.
When you love yourself, you make choices that are in alignment with your well-being. You nurture yourself with healthy food, exercise, and rest. You surround yourself with positive people and situations. You take time for personal growth and development. You treat yourself with kindness, compassion, and understanding.
Self love is about making the choice to put yourself first – not in a selfish way, but in a way that ultimately leads to a happier, healthier life. When we love ourselves unconditionally, we open the door to limitless possibilities. We become more attuned to our needs and more able to take care of ourselves in all areas of our lives. We also become more able to give and receive love from others.
In short, you give yourself the same love and care that you would give to someone else. Because when you love and care for yourself, it opens up the possibility for even more love in your life.
Why is self love important
Loving yourself is one of the most important things you can do in your life. It's the foundation for a healthy, happy life. Why? Because when you value and love yourself, it shows in everything you do.
When you love yourself, you take care of yourself. You're more likely to make good choices for your body and your life. You eat right, exercise, and get the proper sleep.
When you love and value yourself, it sets the foundation for healthy relationships with others. Self-love also allows you to be more compassionate and understanding with others.
We are more confident, more likely to pursue our dreams, and more likely to be successful in all areas of our lives.
But most importantly, when you love yourself, you accept yourself--flaws and all. You are more likely to treat yourself with kindness and respect, and make positive choices that lead to a healthy and fulfilling life.
Why is it so hard to love yourself
Many of us struggle to love ourselves, and that partially has to do with some of the factors we experienced in childhood. We are our own worst critics, always finding fault and never feeling good enough. So why is it so hard to love ourselves? I think there are a few reasons.
Feelings of inadequacy
We live in a world that tells us we should be someone other than who we are. We see magazines with airbrushed models and compare ourselves to them. We see commercials telling us we need the latest car or clothes to be happy and think we aren't good enough as we are.
Comparing yourself to others
We compare ourselves to other people. We see our friends post on social media about their great life and think our life doesn't measure up. We compare our worst moments to other people's best moments and of course we come up lacking. We forget that everyone has flaws and that no one is perfect.
Negative core beliefs
Lastly, I think a lot of us have deep down core beliefs that we are not worthy or lovable just as we are. So even when good things happen to us, we don't believe we deserve them or that they will last.
We may have unhealthy relationships that don't support or nurture us. We may be in a toxic job situation. We may have friends who are always putting us down. These things can make it very hard to love ourselves.
When we don't love ourselves, we don't think we are worthy of good things. We feel like we don't deserve happiness or success. We may not even realize how much our negative thoughts and beliefs are impacting our lives.
Causes of low self esteem can be rooted in childhood experiences or traumas, or they can be the result of negative self-talk and comparison to others.
If you suspect that you might have low self esteem, here are some signs to look out for: feeling like you're not good enough, comparisonitis (is this a word? I made it up, but it seems fitting!), people pleasing, perfectionism, and difficulty accepting compliments.
We focus on our mistakes instead of our accomplishments. We dwell on our failures and beat ourselves up for not being perfect. We're always striving to meet impossibly high standards, and as a result, we're never able to confident about ourselves.
Toxic thoughts and behaviors
We all have an inner critic telling us that we are not good enough, or that we don't deserve happiness. These toxic beliefs lead to negative self-talk, which can then lead to destructive behaviors. When we are constantly putting ourselves down, it's hard to see our own worth. We may start to engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse or disordered eating. These behaviors only serve to further damage our self-esteem and make it even harder to love ourselves.
The truth is, self-love is hard because we are human. We are imperfect beings trying to love ourselves in an imperfect world. But it is possible to love yourself, flaws and all. It starts with accepting yourself for who you are and recognizing that you are worthy of love, just as you are.
Self concept vs self awareness
In order to love ourselves, we need to have a clear understanding of who we are. We need to know our strengths and weaknesses, our likes and dislikes. We need to be aware of our thoughts and behaviors, and how they impact our lives. This is what is known as self-awareness.
Self-concept is the way we see ourselves. It's our perception of who we are. Our self-concept is based on our past experiences, our beliefs, and our values. It's the lens through which we see the world.
If our self-concept is negative, we will see ourselves in a negative light. We will believe that we are not good enough, that we are flawed and unworthy of love. This negative self-concept can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as it will lead us to engage in destructive behaviors and make poor choices.
On the other hand, if our self-concept is positive, we will see ourselves as worthy and deserving of love. We will believe that we are good enough, just as we are. We will be more likely to make positive choices and engage in healthy behaviors.
An important step to loving yourself is to become aware of your self-concept. What are your beliefs about yourself? Do you see yourself as worthy and lovable, or do you see yourself as flawed and unworthy? Once you become aware of your self-concept, you can begin to change the negative beliefs that are holding you back.
Self love and building self-confidence
Self-confidence is one of the most popular things people struggle with. We all want to be confident, but most of us don't know how to get there. The good news is, self-confidence starts with self-love. When you love yourself, you will believe in yourself. You will trust your instincts and have the courage to take risks. You will pursue your dreams and reach for your goals.
Without self-confidence, we would be living lives of quiet desperation. We would be afraid to step out of our comfort zones and take chances. We would miss out on opportunities and experiences because we would be too afraid to try.
Self-confidence is the belief in your ability to succeed. It's feeling sure of yourself and your abilities. When you have self-confidence, you trust that you can handle whatever comes your way. You know that you are capable and competent, and you feel able to meet any challenge.
Self-confidence is essential for a happy and fulfilling life. It's the foundation that we build our lives on. Without self-confidence, we would be living in a state of constant fear. We would be afraid to take risks, to put ourselves out there, and to pursue our dreams.
But with self-confidence, we have the courage to pursue our dreams and reach our goals. It gives us the courage to take risks and the strength to overcome obstacles. It also helps us to build relationships and interact with others in a positive way.
Self love and self confidence are inextricably linked because it is through self love that we develop the deep level of self-confidence we all crave. This is because when we love ourselves, we believe in our own worth. We see ourselves as capable and competent human beings. We feel deserving of good things, and we are more likely to go after our dreams and goals.
Self love vs self care
Self care is often confused with self love. While they are similar, there is a key difference.
Self care is about taking care of your physical and emotional needs so that you can function at your best. It's about making sure you're getting enough rest, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly.
Self love goes a step further. It's about accepting and loving yourself unconditionally, no matter what. It's about recognizing your own worth and value, and making choices that are in alignment with that.
Self care is important, but it's only part of the equation.
Self love is a journey of self-discovery. It's about learning who you are, and what you need to be happy and fulfilled. It's about taking care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. It's about accepting yourself, flaws and all. And it's about knowing and believing in your innate worthiness.
Learn how to love yourself
A huge part of self love is learning how to love yourself. Just like you may give love differently to each person, and how every person receives love differently - self love is no different.
Defining what self-love means to you is an essential step in learning how to love yourself. After all, how can you show yourself love when you don't even know now? For some people, self-love may mean being kind to themselves, or treating themselves with respect. Others may define it as setting boundaries and taking care of their own needs.
To understand how you define self love, think about the love languages - words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, gifts, or physical touch. These don't just have to be used to define how you receive love from other people. You can use these to decide how you want to show yourself love also.
No matter what your definition is, it's important to remember that self-love is about taking care of yourself and your mental well being so that you can be the best possible version of yourself. When you take the time to love yourself, you're opening up the possibility of having healthier and more fulfilling relationships with others.
So take a moment to think about what self-love means to you. Then use the tips below to start making changes in your life so that you can start loving yourself today.
How to practice self love
Self-love is something that takes practice. Just like learning to play the piano or becoming fluent in a foreign language, it takes time, effort, dedication, and consistency. Unfortunately, too many people give up on the idea of self-love because they expect results to happen overnight. The truth is, transformation takes time. Change does not happen in an instant; it occurs gradually, as we focus our attention on new thoughts and behaviors. Self love is a process that requires staying focused and being committed.
When it comes to self-love, the journey is just as important as the destination. So instead of fixating on the end result, focus on enjoying the ride. Every step you take brings you closer to your goal. And eventually, with enough dedication and perseverance, you will reach your destination: a place of unconditional self-love and acceptance.
So if you're looking for a quick fix or an easy answer, self-love isn't it. But if you're willing to put in the work, here are some of the things you can do to practice self love.
Get to know yourself
One of the best ways to love yourself is to get to know yourself. This means understanding your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It means paying attention to your needs and wants. It means being honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. Getting to know yourself takes time and effort, but it's so worth it.
Accept yourself for who you are
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to learn to love and accept yourself for who you are. It is only when we are able to do this that we can truly be happy and content in our lives. Self acceptance doesn't mean that you are happy with everything about yourself, but it does mean that you are willing to work on those areas that need improvement and that you appreciate all the good qualities that you do have.
Be gentle with yourself
We are often our own worst critics. We beat ourselves up for our mistakes and dwell on our failures. This does nothing but damage our self-esteem and make us feel worse about ourselves.
When we learn to love and accept ourselves, we open the door to self-compassion. Self-compassion is about being kind and understanding towards ourselves, even when we make mistakes. It's about recognizing that we are all doing the best we can with the resources we have. When we have self-compassion, we treat ourselves with the same kindness, understanding, and forgiveness that we would extend to a good friend. As a result, self-compassion can help us to feel better about ourselves, improve our self-esteem, and increase our resilience in the face of adversity.
Instead of being hard on yourself, try to be gentle and understanding. Remember that you're only human and that you're doing the best you can.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to learn to validate your own emotions. This means that you acknowledge your feelings and accept them as valid, regardless of what anyone else says or thinks. So many of us have a hard time doing this because we grew up being told that our emotions were wrong, invalid, or not important. As a result, we learn to suppress our emotions or try to push them down.
This does nothing but damage our mental and emotional well-being. When we don't allow ourselves to feel our emotions, we miss out on the opportunity to process them in a healthy way. This can lead to bottled up emotions that come out in unhealthy ways, such as through self-destructive behaviors or anger outbursts.
By learning to validate your emotions, you're giving yourself permission to feel them. This doesn't mean that you have to act on them, but it does mean that you allow yourself to experience them fully. In doing so, you'll likely find that your emotions are not as overwhelming or intense as you thought they were.
Without self validation, you will spend your entire life looking for validation from others or chasing after something external to make you feel good about yourself. And that is a never-ending, draining quest.
Learn to forgive yourself
We all make mistakes and we all have things in our past that we're not proud of. But dwelling on these things does nothing but hold us back and keep us from moving forward. Forgiving yourself takes you from "I'm a bad person" to "I made a mistake, but it doesn't define who I am”.
Forgiving ourselves can be incredibly difficult, but it's so important. When we forgive ourselves, we let go of the anger, shame, and resentment that we're holding onto. This allows us to move on with our lives and focus on the present. It also opens up the possibility for self-compassion and self-acceptance.
So if you're struggling to forgive yourself for something, try to remember that everyone makes mistakes and that you're only human. Then, focus on forgiving yourself so that you can move on and live a happy, fulfilling life.
Treating yourself with respect
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to treat yourself with respect. This means valuing your time, setting boundaries, and taking care of your needs. It's about knowing when to say "no" and not putting yourself in situations that are harmful or unhealthy.
Respecting yourself also means taking care of your body. This means eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. It's about listening to your body and giving it what it needs.
When you respect yourself, you're showing yourself that you are worthy of love and care. You're saying that you deserve to be treated well. This is an important step in practicing self love.
Talk to yourself positively
The way we talk to ourselves has a big impact on our self-esteem and overall well-being, and unfortunately, negative self talk is one of those automatic behavior patterns we are unaware of. Too often, we get in our own way of loving ourselves by engaging in negative self-talk. If you're constantly putting yourself down with self criticism, it's no wonder that you don't feel very good about yourself.
On the other hand, if you talk to yourself in a positive, kind, and compassionate way, you're more likely to feel good about yourself. This is because you're sending yourself positive messages instead of negative ones. Our words have power, and when we speak kindly to ourselves, we open the door to a more joyful and fulfilling life.
When we catch ourselves engaging in negative self-talk, we can reframe our thoughts in a more positive light. For example, instead of thinking, "I'm so fat," we can tell ourselves positive affirmations such as, "I am beautiful and worthy of love."
There are so many benefits of positive self talk, and research has shown that positive self-talk can help reduce stress, increase resilience, and boost overall happiness levels. So if you want to practice self love, start by talking to yourself in a way that is loving and compassionate. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend. Be understanding and patient with yourself. And most importantly, don't be too hard on yourself.
Nourishing your mind, body, and soul
It is so important to find ways to nourish your mind, body, and soul every day. This goes so much further than just fulfilling your basic needs, such as eating and sleeping. It's about finding things that make you feel good on a deeper level.
For me, that means taking a few minutes each morning for meditation and journaling. I also make sure to get in some physical activity, whether it’s a workout at the gym or a walk in nature. And I always take time for connection, whether it’s with friends, family, or my partner. These simple practices help me to feel centered and connected, no matter what the day may bring. When I take care of myself in this way, I am better able to show up for others in a way that is supportive and loving.
For some people, this might mean reading inspiring books or listening to motivational podcasts. Others might find nourishment in nature, through hiking or spending time in the garden. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Just find healthy activities that give you moments of stillness and connection to recharge our batteries and remember what is truly important in life.
Practicing self-care daily
It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind and forget to show ourselves some love. We often put others before ourselves and neglect our own needs. This can lead to feelings of resentment, bitterness, and unhappiness. If we don't make a conscious effort to love ourselves, these negative emotions can take over and start to impact other areas of our lives. It's important to remember that we need to take care of ourselves first and foremost. Only then can we truly be there for others.
If you're not used to thinking about or practicing self love, it can feel a bit daunting. But it's actually quite simple. Start by making small, intentional changes in your daily routine to show yourself some love. For example, you could take a few minutes each day for a relaxing bath, make time for a regular yoga practice, or just take a few deep breaths and focus on the present moment.
A daily practice I do is asking myself "how can I show myself love today?" and giving myself whatever health activities I feel I need that day. Good self care is less about what you do for yourself, and more about the intentional act of showing yourself love and meeting your own needs.
Set healthy boundaries
In order to truly love ourselves, we need to set healthy boundaries to make sure we are engaging in healthy social interactions and putting our needs first. This means learning to say "no" when we need to and setting limits on what we are willing to do or tolerate. It also means recognizing our own worth and not devaluing ourselves in any way. When we set healthy boundaries, we are saying "I matter, and my needs are just as important as anyone else's."
One way to set a healthy boundary is to start saying "no" more often. This can be difficult if you're used to pleasing people and putting others before yourself, but it's so important. If you don't set boundaries, you will eventually end up feeling resentful and overwhelmed.
Give yourself permission to be happy
Give yourself permission to be happy. That might sound like a small thing, but it's not. Too often, we put our happiness on hold, telling ourselves that we'll be happy when X happens. But what if we just allowed ourselves to be happy now? What if we gave ourselves permission to love ourselves, flaws and all? When we do that, something amazing happens. We start seeing the world through a lens of love instead of fear. We find it easier to be kind to others. Compassion comes more easily. And our happiness becomes contagious.
How to love yourself in a relationship
It is always said that you cannot truly love someone else until you love yourself first. While that may sound like a cliché, there is actually a lot of truth to it. After all, how can you give someone your heart if you don’t even have one to give? How can you be a good partner if you don’t even know how to take care of yourself? The answer is, you can’t.
One of the most important things you can do for your relationship is to love yourself. If you don't love and respect yourself, it's impossible to have a healthy, happy relationship. Why? Because a relationship is simply a mirror of our own internal state. If we're not happy with ourselves, we will unconsciously seek out partners who reflect that back to us. On the other hand, if we love and accept ourselves, we will attract partners who do the same.
All too often, we can get caught up in trying to please others and making them happy, but if we don't have a strong foundation of self-love, we'll never truly be happy. When we love ourselves first, we're able to give and receive love more easily.
By loving yourself first in a relationship, you are setting the foundation for a healthy and loving relationship. You are creating a space in which both you and your partner can feel safe, seen, and loved.
Books on loving yourself
There are many wellness professionals who suggest reading books on loving yourself as a way to improve your overall wellbeing. And it makes sense – if you can learn to love and accept yourself, you will be in a much better place emotionally and mentally. But how exactly can reading books on self-love help you?
For one thing, these books can help you to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. If you can become more aware of the negative thoughts and feelings you have about yourself, you can start to work on changing them. Additionally, reading about self-love can help to inspire and motivate you. Seeing other people's stories about how they overcame low self-esteem or learned to love themselves can give you the strength and hope you need to make positive changes in your own life.
Finally, reading books on self-love can help you to develop practical tools and strategies for improving your relationship with yourself. These books often contain helpful exercises and tips that you can use to start making positive changes in your life. If you are struggling with low self-esteem or negative self-image, reading books on self-love may be a helpful step on your journey to wellness.
If you're interested in learning more about self love, here are a few books that can support you.
Self love is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, yet it can be one of the hardest things to practice. This article has explored why self love is so important, how to start practicing it in your life, and some of the benefits you can experience from making it a priority.
Remember, self love is a journey. Like anything else worth pursuing in life, self love takes time, effort, and practice. But the more you focus on loving yourself, the more you will see the positive impact it has on your life. When you make self love a priority, you effortlessly become the best version of yourself, and open yourself up to more happiness, success, and fulfillment. So start today, and let yourself fall in love with the amazing person that you are.
If you're looking for more support in your self love practice, download our free Self Love Kickstarter. This guide will give you all the tools you need to start loving yourself more deeply and completely. With a little effort, self love can become second nature to you – and when that happens, the sky is the limit!