Often, we’re utterly unaware that we don’t actually love ourselves. I know I wasn’t.
For years, I was completely ignorant about the fact that all I did was criticize myself. Nothing I did was good enough, and I kept finding flaws in my character and imperfections on my face and body.
Practically nothing could fix my self-image. Whenever I looked at myself in the mirror, all I could see was a big, fat, stupid failure.
I had unconditional love from those closest to me, but the problem was that I never had love from the most important person in my life: myself.
Why was this? Was it society’s fault? Was I just overly insecure? Did someone in my past convince me I wasn’t worthy of love?
The truth is that I’m still trying to figure out the right answer to that. But I’ve invested more energy into learning to love myself anyhow.
And I think I’ve made it. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but looking at things from this perspective, I’m proud to say that I’ve come a long way.
So can you – all you have to do is follow my lead because I’m about to reveal to you all of the secrets it took me years to figure out.
But I won’t only teach you how to love yourself. I’ll also show you how to be happier and how to make your life a better place. Buckle up and read on!
What Is Self-Love?
Nevertheless, before we proceed to this detailed guide, let me explain what self-love is.
If someone asked me this question years ago, I would’ve told them that self-love means loving yourself – it’s pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it?
Well, after much hard work, now I know that this term encompasses much more, and it includes things such as self-care, self-respect, and self-appreciation.
No, it has nothing to do with selfishness, and it’s definitely not a negative trait. Actually, it’s a virtue not many possess.
Loving yourself means accepting your true self and doing everything in your power to spend every minute of your life as happy as possible.
Of course, that includes encouraging your self-growth and prioritizing your own needs and well-being.
Nicely said, I know. But how do you actually accomplish this? Let’s check it out:
How Do You Learn To Love Yourself?
You don’t just wake up one day and decide to love yourself more. It’s a skill that has to be taught.
You learn it by never changing for others, by being in touch with your feelings, avoiding negative self-talk, and not seeking validation from others.
Of course, that’s not all, and here are the steps you should take if you want to start loving yourself the right way.
Show yourself patience: you’re on a journey
The worst thing you can do is to expect everything in your life to fall into place this very second. Newsflash: it won’t.
Good things need time and effort, so you better show yourself patience. If you expect too much from yourself, of course, you’ll hate yourself when you see that you’re incapable of reaching all those goals.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have plans on how to arrange your life.
I’m just asking you to understand that you’re on a journey. Sometimes, it’s not about the destination you’re traveling to; it’s more about the fun you have along the way.
Instead of pushing yourself too hard, enjoy every moment of your life.
Don’t give up at the first sign of obstacles. Be patient, and I promise you that good things will come when you least expect them.
Think positive, be positive and positive things will happen
You know how they say: “you attract what you are”? Well, this sentence can’t be closer to the truth. Positive thoughts attract positive outcomes, so you do the math and figure out what negative ones do.
Evey expert will tell you the same thing: people who don’t love themselves tend to see everything negatively.
Let me give you an example. I messed up at work. It was a minor mistake, but it was more than enough to throw me into despair.
I immediately saw myself losing my job and destroying my life as if it were the worst thing that could have happened to me.
Consequently, I started hating myself for being so stupid and reckless. How could I have made such a mistake?
On the other hand, after I learned the art of being positive, I have stopped imagining the worst-case scenario every time the slightest thing goes wrong.
Consequently, I got rid of those self-hatred episodes I used to deal with.
Do you understand the connection between self-love and optimism now? What are you waiting for to start applying this piece of advice then?
Laugh, smile, and be joyous
Have you ever been in a situation where you’re just sitting in a crowded room, looking at all of those people smiling and dying of laughter?
They make being happy and loving yourself look so easy, but yet, for you, it’s one of the toughest jobs in the world.
I know I have. I couldn’t get myself to laugh and smile when all I could think about were my imperfections.
I’m not talking about the fact I was convinced I looked horrible when I laughed (even though that was also an issue) – I’m talking about the fact that I simply didn’t know how to enjoy life.
Even when I was presumably having the time of my life, I couldn’t chase away the idea that I wasn’t enough and that I did something wrong.
Then, my therapist advised me to start fake laughing. I know it sounds strange.
But don’t worry: it was not a way to repress my emotions. It was just a way to remind my face of the movement it made whenever I’d laugh.
At first, I felt like a clown. I didn’t feel like smiling, and I was obviously acting.
Nevertheless, after a while, I caught myself laughing for real. I didn’t have to pretend: something really was funny.
Before you know it, I was smiling because I was able to laugh. And I suggest you do the same.
Read jokes online, look at funny memes or just play a comedy on TV. You’ll see how much better you’ll feel after just one session.
If you still think there is nothing to laugh and smile about, start writing a gratitude journal.
Start with naming one by one what you’re thankful for, such as the unconditional love you get from your parents, that you have enough food on the table, and a roof above your head.
We have a habit of taking these things for granted, but once you realize how happy you actually are, even when you’re at your lowest, I promise you that you’ll start loving your life more.
But please, don’t stop after you’ve listed everything. Take a moment out of every day and write at least one thing you’re grateful for.
Sometimes, it will be nothing aside from waking up in the morning alive and well. But hey, just think of all the people who didn’t get that privilege today.
Don’t reduce yourself to your bad qualities
We all have bad qualities – some are just better at hiding them than others. But they don’t define us.
The number one problem with people who don’t love themselves is that you reduce yourself to your flaws.
Just because you failed at something doesn’t make you a failure. Just because you have a big nose doesn’t mean you’re ugly. Just because you made one poor choice doesn’t mean you’re stupid.
The examples are endless, but I’m sure you see where I’m going. Don’t focus on the bad sides of your personality, and remember that you’re a whole package.
Instead of telling yourself: “I’m so stupid for falling on that guy,” try with “I made a stupid call, and this will serve me as a lesson never to repeat again.”
You’re a complex person with all of your good and bad qualities. Focusing on the things you don’t like about yourself and reducing yourself to those traits will only further destroy your self-image.
Reflect on your good qualities daily
All of this sounds easier said than done. But let me give you a specific task – something that helped me a great deal.
Get yourself a pen and a notebook. I want you to start journaling a bit.
Nevertheless, you won’t be writing anything similar to a diary. Instead, I want you to take a moment of time every day to write something good about yourself.
Yes, you heard it right: compliment yourself. These notes can be connected to anything you want: your looks, your mood for the day, or something you accomplished.
One sentence a day will be enough, but you have to be honest. Write something like: “You did your make-up great today” or “Your driving skills are improving.”
Why is this important? Well, this way, you’ll have to think of at least one reason why you should love yourself today.
Also, the next time you’re feeling low and start questioning your worth, all you have to do is go back to this notebook and read some of your good qualities. They will remind you that you’re worthy of love.
The importance of rewarding yourself after hard work
When you want to congratulate a loved one for making some progress, you get them a gift, am I right? You reward your child or a pet for behaving themselves, don’t you?
These are all the people you love deeply. That must mean you don’t love yourself at all. Because the truth is that you never reward yourself after reaching success or just for some hard work.
Well, it’s time for that to change. You don’t necessarily have to buy yourself something since this has nothing to do with money.
If you do well on an exam, give yourself a night off from all other responsibilities. If you said “no” to someone you wanted to reject, prepare yourself a bubble bath.
A self-reward system is much more important and, most importantly, more effective than you might think.
For as long as you can remember, you have always punished yourself for your mistakes. And what about praising yourself?
Positive affirmations are the key to self-love
We’ve already discussed the importance of getting rid of negativity. Now it’s time to move on to the next step: positive affirmations.
Basically, it’s a positive statement that helps you overcome negative self-talk and self-hatred.
This is similar to the step in which you reflect on your good qualities daily. The only difference is that here you won’t write down specific things that happened on a given day.
Instead, you’ll wake up every morning, look at yourself in the mirror, and tell yourself how beautiful, smart, and capable you are.
You’ll say that you’re strong and powerful. You’ll tell yourself that nothing is impossible for a badass girl like you.
You’ll say that nobody can put you down and that nothing can hold you back. You can achieve everything you set your mind to, regardless of the obstacles along the way.
Most importantly: you’ll tell yourself that you’re enough, with all of your flaws and slight imperfections. You’ll say that you don’t have to change for anyone’s sake.
Give yourself these and other compliments and repeat them like a mantra. At first, all of this might sound silly to you.
You’ll say things you clearly don’t believe. But eventually, you’ll realize it really is the truth, and all of that positivity will start to sink in.
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself
Here is another thing it took me forever to finally figure out: nobody can make me happy unless I do it myself. Yes, I can be happier in someone’s company, but the true source of my happiness comes from within.
The same goes for self-love. You can’t expect others to love you until you learn how to love yourself.
You’re the one setting an example for other people in your life. If they see you have no self-respect, they won’t respect you either.
If they see that you have no sense of self-worth, they won’t treat you as valuable either. If you show them you don’t love yourself, you’ll only give them the green light not to love you either.
Putting yourself first is not selfish – it’s necessary
Prioritizing yourself and putting your own needs first is the ultimate act of self-care. Period. This is completely non-negotiable, so please, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
It’s not selfish, and it’s not egotistical – it’s how things must be done. Remember: the relationship you have with yourself is probably the only one that lasts a lifetime.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not advising you suddenly become a jerk to everyone. But for starters, try treating yourself the way you treat your loved ones. Build a healthy relationship with yourself!
There’s no use in beating yourself up about what you can’t change
Whether you like it or not, you can’t change your past. Most of the time, you can’t impact much of the future either.
Therefore, all you have left is the present – which is more than enough. If you have trouble enjoying every moment of your life – try practicing mindfulness.
It’s a type of meditation technique that helps you be fully aware of the moment you’re in right now. It helps you get in tune with your senses and chases away all possible negative thoughts about your painful past or uncertain future.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom
To love someone, you have to know them to the core of their being, am I right? Well, that means that you have to know your true self to love yourself properly.
For starters, engage in some self-introspection. Instead of ignoring the parts of yourself you don’t like, embrace them.
The same goes with your demons. Look them directly in the eye and do your best to chase them away.
If that’s not possible right now, don’t worry. Don’t allow them to take over you, but don’t pretend they’re not there either.
Also, invest some energy into investigating yourself. Don’t overthink your every move or word – just try figuring out what you love and don’t love.
What are your preferences? Is your favorite book really your favorite book, or do you just say so because it sounds good?
Do you really love the way your apartment is decorated, or was it just a compromise with your ex-roommate?
Is it true that you don’t like your naturally curly hair, or are you just straightening it because your ex told you it looked better that way?
At first, these might sound like little things, but trust me – they’re anything besides that.
These’re all the details that turn you into you, and you have to learn how to love each one of them if you want to learn how to love yourself more.
Some things are worth the splurge
I live on a budget. That means that I have just about enough money to make ends meet. I have enough for food, rent, gas, and stuff like that.
If you can relate to this, I bet you can’t remember when the last time you spent money on something you didn’t need but really, really wanted was.
You know what I’m talking about: about that little black dress you’ve been window shopping for for months.
Yeah, you probably won’t be confident enough to wear it, but hey, the truth is that you’ve been daydreaming about it every time you see it.
Or even if you did buy it, I’m sure you ate yourself alive. You felt guilty for spending money so recklessly.
Well, don’t! Don’t waste money either, but keep in mind that some things are worth the splurge.
Seek professional help
If you feel like all of this is too much for you – there is absolutely no shame in seeking help. A good way to start is to ask your best friend or a family member to tell you all the things they love about you.
No, this is not fishing for compliments. It’s just looking at yourself from a whole different perspective and realizing that there is much to be loved about you.
If that doesn’t help, consider visiting a therapist or a life coach. They are specialized professionals who know the exact way to help you out.
Take baby steps
Learning how to love yourself is a process that can’t be done overnight. So please, don’t push yourself too hard but don’t neglect your journey either.
Find a balance and take baby steps – one at a time. Don’t worry if you feel like you’re going backward sometimes – that’s all part of the process.
How To Love Yourself More
Sometimes, you’re somewhere in between: you don’t hate yourself, but you know you have some more work to do. You are looking for ways to love yourself more than you already do, and here they are:
Give yourself permission to say “no”
You’re not Mother Theresa, and you were certainly not put in this world to please others. So, why do you still have a problem with saying “no” to the things you don’t like or want to do? It’s about time you set boundaries!
I don’t care what we’re talking about – if you don’t want to go out with that friend or don’t feel comfortable being their bridesmaid, just say so.
I know that rejecting other people’s requests brings on anxiety attacks. Don’t worry – I felt the same way at first as well.
Nevertheless, you know how they say: practice makes perfect. What I’m trying to say is that you have to get past that initial discomfort. I promise that with time, it will get easier.
Trust me – when you start saying “no” to people, you’ll show them that you’re aware of your self-worth. You’ll show them that you’re not always available and that you refuse to be everyone’s go-to person.
But what’s even more important: you’ll show this to yourself. You’ll realize that you have enough self-respect not to waste your energy on pleasing others.
Before you know it, you’ll be proud of yourself for behaving like this.
Getting rid of negative people is refreshing
If you’re wondering how to learn how to love yourself, the answer is: start with cutting off those who don’t love you. Yes, I know what you must be thinking: your self-love mustn’t depend on the opinions of others.
And you can’t be more right. But hey, you can’t expect to thrive if you’re stuck in an unhealthy environment.
Let’s imagine this scenario. You’re doing your best to figure out how to learn to love yourself. And you’re making some significant progress.
Then, all of a sudden, you meet a friend or family member who keeps on criticizing you. Of course, I’m not talking about those people who tell you the truth and who care about your well-being.
I’m talking about the ones who use every chance they get to put you down, minimize your success, and destroy your self-confidence.
In fact, you know exactly who I’m talking about. I don’t care if these are the ones you consider to be your loved ones, or we’re talking about your closest family members or alleged best friends.
Whoever is pointing out your flaws, making you question your self-worth, playing with your mental health, and watering your self-doubts needs out ASAP!
These people are nothing but bumps on the road along your self-love journey, and that’s the last thing you need.
Work out because you love your body, not because you hate it
Everyone keeps telling you that the way to self-love is taking care of your body. And I’m not here to disagree – physical health is, without a doubt, extremely important for all of us.
Nevertheless, I will tell you to work out and take care of your appearance not because you hate your body but because you love it.
Don’t chase unrealistic beauty standards. Hey, trust me – even Instagram models don’t look like Instagram models.
Instead, observe your body as a temple. Take care of it because you don’t have another one to spare.
Work on your inner greatness as much as you work on your body
Nevertheless, what is even more important is nurturing your inner beauty. Remember: no beauty shines brighter than that of a good heart.
No, I’m not telling you this to become more likable to men or other people in general. I’m advising you to work on yourself because that’s the way to self-love and self-appreciation.
Trust me: you’ll like yourself more if you become a kinder, more elevated version of yourself. You’ll love yourself more once you achieve most of your goals.
Work on your brains, empower your intelligence, and most importantly: elevate your spirit.
How To Love Yourself And Be Confident
What if your low self-esteem is what’s preventing you from giving yourself the love you deserve? I have a solution for that too – you just have to keep on reading!
You were born to be real – not perfect
For as long as I can remember, I lived in a deception that I wasn’t good enough whenever I wasn’t perfect. And to be honest, there weren’t many situations in my life where I could have achieved perfection.
After all, I am just a human being – not a robot. And so are you.
So, that got me thinking. Why did I think that everything except perfection wasn’t good enough?
Well, you only receive praise when you’re the best, don’t you? Nobody gives you a medal for participating, let alone for failing.
Instead of waiting for others to tell me I was good enough even when I wasn’t at the top, I started doing it myself. That’s exactly what I’m suggesting you do: understand that you weren’t born to be perfect; you were born to be real.
The truth is that nobody is perfect. Forget about social media and society’s validation. Forget about other people’s phony lives.
We all have our flaws, and it’s your job to embrace yours. Have some self-compassion, for God’s sake, and don’t be so hard on yourself.
This is actually the first step towards achieving self-love: loving your imperfections and realizing you can never be flawless as much as you try.
Be yourself but always your better self
What’s one of the crucial steps to handle a lack of self-love? The answer is quite simple: it’s all about self-acceptance.
I know that you’re dying to fit in. Or maybe you want to become someone else to stand a bigger chance with that guy you’re into.
Either way, changing yourself for the sake of others won’t bring you any good. In fact, it will make you hate yourself even more.
To be exact, you’ll hate the version of the person you’re trying to become. That’s why you should always stay true to your real self.
At the end of the day, you don’t care if others love it or not – the trick is to learn how to love yourself more.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make any progress. Actually, you should work hard on becoming the best version of yourself at all times.
But that’s the key: the best version of YOURSELF, not the best version of someone else. Keep that in mind, and you’re good to go.
Don’t change yourself to make someone happy unless that someone is you
Change for the better is always welcome. But there is one important condition: you’re the only one who is allowed to change because of it.
If you don’t like some things about yourself – I don’t care if we’re talking about your appearance or personality – go ahead and work on it.
It’s one thing if you start going to the gym because YOU want to lose weight. It’s completely different if you do it because you’re afraid your boyfriend will leave you if you don’t look like you’ve just gotten off a magazine cover.
Comparing yourself to others equals insulting yourself
One of the worst things you can do to your already low self-esteem is to compare yourself to others and ask for their validation. Honey, there will always be smarter or prettier girls out there – or at least, you think there will be.
You don’t have to fill anyone’s shoes – especially not your ex’s new girlfriend, your BF’s ex, or that toxic coworker who keeps giving you the eye.
So what if most of your high school friends are married with kids and you’re single? What if your former coworker has a dream career while you’re still stuck in the same position.
Grow at your own pace and forget about everyone else’s progress. It’s one thing if they serve you as an inspiration, but it’s something completely different if you compare yourself to others to the point of self-hatred.
You know how they say: There is no comparison between the sun and the moon. They both shine when it’s their time.
How To Love Yourself Again
Falling out of love with yourself is one of the worst things that can happen to you. If that is something you’re struggling with, here are ways to fix it. Start loving yourself again with the help of these steps.
Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself
When you hold grudges against someone, can you love them to the fullest? I know I can’t, and I bet you’re the same.
You can care about this person, but there will always be something holding you back from giving them your entire heart.
Well, what makes you think that not forgiving yourself doesn’t impact your self-love? I assure you it does.
That’s why forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Actually, it’s one of the most important gifts you have to give to yourself – that is, if you want to learn how to love yourself in the right way.
Look, we all make mistakes. I know I had my share of mistakes back in the day. The hell with it, I keep on making them every single day.
But you know what the trick is? It’s to have mercy for yourself the same way you have mercy for others.
No, self-forgiveness shouldn’t serve as an excuse to keep on messing up your life. It’s not a green light to deliberately and consciously do yourself wrong just because you’ll forgive yourself later.
Nevertheless, let’s go back to the perfection part. We’ve established that nobody, including you and me, is perfect.
Imperfect people make mistakes, don’t they? Well, it’s time to forgive yourself for everything wrong you did in the past.
After all, you can’t change it, can you? So, what’s the point of being so resentful?
Instead of allowing your mistakes to hold you back, see them as lessons. They shaped you into becoming the person you are today, and they’ve taught you a lot.
The same goes for forgiving others. Honey, sometimes you just have to accept the apologies you never got.
Don’t do it because that person who did you harm deserved it (because I can bet they didn’t) – do it to set yourself free.
Trust me – loving yourself gets much easier once you stop hating everyone else – including those who broke your heart.
Overthinking is your worst enemy
Sometimes, your mind can be your worst enemy. After all, that’s where all the self-hatred comes from in the first place.
So, if you’re figuring out how to love yourself, you have to stop all of that unnecessary overthinking.
Stop wasting so much time looking at yourself in the mirror and looking for different flaws. Trust me: you could be a supermodel, but you’ll still find something you don’t like about yourself if you analyze things too much.
The same goes for your personality and life quality. As long as you dissect every aspect of your being, you’ll find something you don’t like about it.
Give yourself permission to practice self-love
If you were a kid who wasn’t explained the importance of self-love, you’d have a problem with doing so as an adult. Self-love is taught, and you’re getting instructions on how to love yourself as we speak.
Before you do anything, you have to give yourself authorization for self-care and self-love. As funny as it sounds, you’re actually not aware that you’re the one blocking all of that love from yourself.
For starters, make a decision to join this self-love journey. Decide you’ll do whatever it takes to learn on this path and eventually feel better in your own skin.
What Is The Best Way To Love Yourself?
If you don’t know where to start, begin with doing something nice for yourself. Book a wellness day, take a day off from work, or just take some time to relax and do nothing.
I won’t lie to you: these things alone won’t make some magical changes. But pampering yourself is probably the best way to begin this self-love journey.
If nothing else, it will recharge your batteries enough to start this process the right way!
Learn How To Love Yourself Quotes
If all of this wasn’t enough, read my collection of the quotes that helped me a great deal when I wondered how to love myself. I promise each one of them is empowering and motivating!
1. “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” ― Unknown
2. “Eat like you love yourself. Move like you love yourself. Speak like you love yourself. Act like you love yourself.” ― Unknown
3. “Love yourself for who you are, and trust me, if you are happy from within, you are the most beautiful person, and your smile is your best asset.” ― Ileana D’Cruz
4.“Everyone of us needs to show how much we care for each other and, in the process, care for ourselves.” ― Lady Di
5.“Find the love you seek by first finding the love within yourself. Learn to rest in that place within you that is your true home.”― Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
6. “There are women who struggle to gain weight who are beautiful. There are women who struggle to LOSE weight who are beautiful. You know who is the most beautiful? Those who learn to love themselves the way they are. You don’t need to change for ANYONE.” ― Teresa Mummer
7. “We must fall in love with ourselves. I don’t like myself. I’m crazy about myself.” ― Mae West
8. “Send yourself a love letter and then take the time to read it to yourself. Express your heartfelt love to yourself.” ― Iyanla Vanzant
9. “To be a happy person, one has to drop all comparisons. Drop all these stupid ideas of being superior and inferior. You are neither superior nor inferior. You are simply yourself! There exists no one like you, no one with whom you can be compared. Then, suddenly, you are at home.” ― Osho
10. “Love yourself unconditionally, just as you love those closest to you despite their faults.” ― Les Brown
It’s impossible to stress the importance of self-love enough. Learning how to love yourself sometimes takes a lifetime, but trust me when I tell you that it’s one of the most significant skills you’ll ever acquire.
After all, you’re the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with. So just imagine having to do that with someone you despise. It sucks, to say the least, I know.
Basically, you’ll never be happy in your own skin until you adopt these habits of self-love.
Besides, you can never love others or be loved by them properly until you perfect the art of loving yourself.
If you still have doubts about how to do it, I suggest you try this 30-day self-love challenge. Remember, baby steps!