I’m sure you’ve heard that before you can love others, you must love yourself. But what does this mean, and how can you love yourself more? In this post, I’ll go over the definition of self-love, the benefits of practicing self-love, as well as 17 actionable ways to love yourself more right now!
- Find yourself criticizing everything you do?
- Hear a little voice inside your head telling you that you’re not good enough or that you’re too lazy or that you’ll never succeed?
- Look at others and feel inadequate and inferior to them, like they have everything figured out, and you don’t?
- Look at yourself in the mirror and notice every flaw on your body?
- Find yourself in toxic relationships because you feel you don’t deserve better?
Well, my friend, you are in dire need of self-love!
We truly are our own worse critic. We are so quick to judge and criticize ourselves for every little perceived failure. We talk to ourselves in a way and use words that we would never use to talk to others!
And this needs to change.
Do you know who you are going to spend the rest of your life with? YOU!
You are the most important person in your life. You are the only person you are going to spend every minute of your life with. So how about you start spending more time loving yourself and less time criticizing everything you do? I know it sounds hard but trust me, it’s the most important thing you can do.
Let’s dive in and learn how you can love yourself more today!
- Defining self-love
- Benefits of loving yourself
- 17 actionable ways to love yourself more
- Spend time getting to know yourself
- Catch your negative self-talk
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Be your own cheerleader
- Pay attention to how your body reacts
- Practice more self-care
- Stop worrying about what others think
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Exercise more
- Forgive yourself
- Ditch the scale
- Practice self-love affirmations
- Come to terms with your imperfections
- Set boundaries
- Practice gratitude
- Accept that not everyone will like you
- Challenge your limiting beliefs
- Final thoughts
When you hear the word self-love, you might be thinking of bubble baths, pedicures, and spas, but it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, those things are lovely ways to relax and can be part of your self-love practice, but it’s so much more than that.
Self-love is quite simply, accepting yourself as you are. It’s understanding that you have strengths and weaknesses, that you are not perfect, and being ok with that.
It’s taking care of your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing and putting your needs first.
It’s about what you think, what you feel, what you say to yourself on a daily basis.
Kristin D. Neff, one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion, defines self-love as having three components:
- Self-kindness: being warm and understanding toward yourself when you suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring your pain or flagellating yourself with self-criticism.
- A sense of common humanity: recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience
- Mindfulness: being willing to observe your negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity, so that they are held in mindful awareness.
Check out her video where she goes into more details here:
“Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, whoever said you were supposed to be perfect?”– Kristin D. Neff
Benefits of loving yourself
Learning to love yourself comes with so many benefits for all aspects of your life. Here are just a few:
Boost in self-confidence
Understanding and accepting your strengths and weaknesses increase your self-confidence. You know what you’re capable of, and you know you can handle any situation that comes your way. You know that if you don’t reach a specific goal, it’s not the end of the world. You view it as a learning experience and you move on.
The biggest boost in self-confidence? You know that you are enough!
Better physical health
Studies have shown that self-compassion predicts physical health. Loving yourself increases the likelihood that you’ll take better care of your physical body. You’ll make better food choices, get enough sleep, exercise more, and listen to your body’s needs.
When you learn to love yourself, you become better equipped to face life’s challenges. You respond to stressful situations in a more balanced way, and you relate to them differently. You understand that these situations don’t define you. You learn from them, and they help you grow.
Research has shown that self-acceptance is key to live a happier life. Professor Karen Pine, a psychologist from the University of Hertfordshire and co-founder of Do Something Different, said: “This survey shows that practicing self-acceptance is one thing that could make the biggest difference to many people’s happiness.”
When you learn to accept and love yourself, you don’t compare yourself so much to others, which decreases anxiety and overall unhappiness.
The way you treat yourself has a direct impact on how others treat you. The more you respect your needs, set boundaries, and are kind to yourself, the more others will too.
Increased drive and motivation
This one goes hand in hand with boost in self-confidence. When you love yourself and accept who you are, you know what you are capable of, and you’ll go after what you want with more drive and motivation. You won’t let setbacks hold you back anymore.
Now that you know why loving yourself is essential and what it can bring to your life, let’s see how you can go about practicing it!
17 actionable ways to love yourself more
Spend time getting to know yourself
This may seem basic, but it’s the foundation! The first step to love yourself is to get to know yourself. Who are you? What are your values? What’s important to you in life? How do you feel?
Don’t be afraid to spend time alone with your thoughts and feelings. Go for a walk in nature or write in a journal. Whatever helps you discover yourself and have a better understanding of who you are.
Catch your negative self-talk
Be aware of the little voice in your head. You know which one I’m talking about. The one that says, “I’m not good enough,” “You’ll never be able to do that,” “you’re so lazy!”. The list goes on. When you catch yourself having these thoughts, take a step back, and realize that that little voice is wrong. Tell yourself, “No, that’s not true” and squash that little voice!
Stop comparing yourself to others
Comparison is the thief of joy.
Realize that everyone is on a different journey, everyone goes through different things, and comparing yourself to them will bring nothing but pain and discontentment.
Yes, Carole might seem like she has everything figured out, with her great career, her car and big house. But she’s probably looking at your life and thinking, “wow, I’m so jealous, she’s in such a loving relationship. I wish I had that!” You don’t know what others are going through. You only see the outer layer of people’s lives.
The only person you should compare yourself to is yourself! Compare who you are today with who you want to be tomorrow and work towards your goals!
Be your own cheerleader
Replace the negative thoughts I mentioned earlier into words of encouragement. Think of yourself as your own cheerleader. Change the relationship you have with yourself to one of love and compassion.
The person you spend the most time with is you! Don’t wait for others to encourage and support you. Be your own support system!
Pay attention to how your body reacts
Your body know what feels right and what feels wrong. Listen to the tiny cues your body gives you and act upon it. Do you feel uncomfortable in a specific situation? Move away from it. Does a particular thing make your body feel good? Do it more often!
Your body is pretty amazing and you’ll learn a lot about yourself by just listening to it more often.
Practice more self-care
Self-care is a beautiful way to practice self-love. We live in a fast-paced world where time just flies by, and self-care is usually at the bottom of our priorities.
Self-care is about doing things that are good for you, taking the time to spend on you, and recharging. When you spend time to attend to your needs, you’re telling yourself that you are worth it and that you deserve it. Set aside some time every day to do something for you, even if it’s just 10 minutes.
Stop worrying about what others think
Do you base your decisions and actions on what you think other people expect and want from you? Do you spend too much time worrying about what they might think if you did this or that?
Well, it’s time to stop! Be true to who you are and do your thing. Do you want to wear that pink leopard print dress? Go for it! If it makes you happy, then do it. Just make sure you aren’t disrespectful of others in the process.
Surround yourself with positive people
Everyone knows the saying, “you are the average of the five people you most hang out with.” Think about it, if you’re surrounded by people who continuously criticize themselves and others, how does this affect you?
Take a hard look at the company you keep and ask yourself how they impact your life. Do they uplift you, encourage you, and support you? Or do they bring you down, lower your self-esteem and confidence? Don’t be afraid to cut people out of your life that don’t serve you. This may seem harsh, but it will do wonders for your sense of self-worth.
Exercising is not only good for your physical body, but it’s also amazing for your mental health. Physical exercise releases feel-good chemicals, such as serotonin and endorphins in your bloodstream, which enhances your mood almost immediately.
Don’t feel like you have to exercise 3 hours a day! Even doing 15 to 20 minutes a day will have a powerful effect on your mind and self-confidence.
Are you still holding on to negative experiences from the past? Do you remember every mistake you made and every regret you have? Let them go! Take the time to heal past wounds and come to terms with what happened in the past. Forgive yourself and move on. Be compassionate with yourself as you would with others.
Ditch the scale
When Kate Moss said, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” she caused an uproar, and for a good reason! This one saying was viewed as encouraging eating disorders and distorted body images around the world. She has since then retracted her saying but the damage was done.
Know this, the number that appears on the scale means nothing! It’s just a number! The best thing you can do is get rid of the scale altogether. Treat your body with the respect it deserves, and the rest will follow.
Practice self-love affirmations
Positive affirmations are a great way to boost your self-love and change your mindset. Words are powerful and using them consciously to bring positivity and wellbeing into your life is crucial.
Create a mist of positive affirmations that speak to you and repeat them every day. You can tape them to your bathroom mirror or write them down in your journal, whatever works best for you!
Here are some examples you can use:
- I love every aspect of myself
- I respect myself
- I am proud of myself
- I accept myself for who I am
- I am unique
Come to terms with your imperfections
You are not perfect. Let me repeat that. You are not perfect. And that’s ok! You have flaws, you have weaknesses, you have imperfections, and so does everyone else.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Some things you’ll be able to change and others you won’t. Accept yourself as the imperfect being that you are!
Loving yourself is about setting boundaries, respecting yourself, and learning to say no. It’s about knowing your self-worth and letting go of situations and people that don’t serve you. Let the people around you know what is ok and what is not okay. Stick up for yourself and be assertive about your needs. This doesn’t mean being loud and obnoxious towards others but conveying calmly and respectfully what you’ll accept and what you won’t.
Gratitude is a simple but powerful way to bring more love and happiness into your life. Practicing gratitude will shift your mindset to one of lack and negativity to one of contentment and peace.
At the end of each day, write down three things that happened that you are grateful for.
Accept that not everyone will like you
Reality check: not everyone you meet will like you. Sometimes you won’t even know why. But you know what? That’s ok. Stop trying to please everyone! This is just a waste of your precious time.
Accepting who you are is about understanding that some people won’t like you. It’s about not trying to change yourself to please others.
Be your bad self, do your own thing, and forget about what others might think!
Challenge your limiting beliefs
Let me start by saying that this is not easy! This will require you to take a long, hard look at your core values and your limiting beliefs. What do you believe about yourself? What do you think you are capable of, or not capable of? How do these beliefs hold you back from realizing your potential and reaching your goals?
The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship you have. You are the one person you can count on in any situation.
Learn to love yourself for who and what you are! You have nothing to loose and everything to gain. Let go of the negative and accept the positive!
I hope you learned and gained some insight on how to love yourself more!
How do you practice self-love? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!
Till next time,