The love we need the most is often the one we most lack: self-love. We go through life offering everyone else our support and empathy, but when it comes to ourselves, we have nothing but words of criticism and hatred.
How do you start learning to love yourself? Why is it so hard in the first place? Is it true that you can’t be loved by someone else until you start loving yourself?
I am more than happy to provide you with all the answers you seek, all the while showing you how deserving you are of love, even when you least feel like it.
Why Is Self-love So Difficult?
It’s difficult because we get used to mistreatment.
More often than not, our parents pass generational trauma onto us. Since they didn’t heal and are probably not even aware that they are traumatized, they make us feel the way they once felt.
Verbal and physical abuse either by family members or peers leaves lasting scars that follow you throughout your life and influence each of your decisions.
Even though your issues most likely stem from childhood abuse, it is also possible that you’ve suffered extreme trauma recently that made it hard for you to love yourself.
Ignorance isn’t always bliss
The sad truth is that we aren’t always aware when we are being abused. A lot of the time, certain behaviors are seen as normal, and we even trivialize them and make jokes about them.
Trust me, your parents calling you lazy and incapable instead of supporting you when you’re feeling down is not normal.
When they tell you to ‘suck it up’ instead of crying, that is not normal.
When they curse your existence each time you make a mistake, that is not normal.
What can you do?
Well, you can educate yourself on different forms of abuse. Recognize the toxic patterns in your own life and try to get rid of them.
If it’s too difficult, the best course of action would be to reach out to a therapist. They would help you uncover all the toxicity you’ve been a part of and guide you to create a better life.
Realize that you have to live for yourself. Your life has always been about you. Read that again.
Can Self-love Be Taught?
It certainly is hard but not at all impossible. The most important thing is that you give yourself time. Change doesn’t happen overnight. You first need to embrace your imperfections.
Realize that you are worthy even with all your flaws. You are working on them only to live a happier and easier life, not because you need to be fixed. Besides, some flaws just make you more lovable.
Lord knows I’ve struggled with this too. It took me years and years to see my own importance. You have to be disappointed many times before finally being enlightened.
The truth is that learning to love yourself is hard because you were TAUGHT to treat yourself poorly. And, if you were taught once, you can certainly be taught again. This time, make it right.
Can Others Love You If You Don’t Love Yourself?
Most certainly, yes.
I’ve always hated it when people would say the opposite. You know how much you struggle, and you feel like it will last forever. On top of that, you don’t need someone telling you that you will never be loved until you change your ways.
A lack of self love isn’t a flaw that needs fixing and doesn’t make you undeserving of love altogether. It just makes your life a little harder, that’s all. But it doesn’t mean that others can’t feel affection for you.
It still brings many trials and tribulations…
People may love you, but problems arise when you start acting in ways a self-assured person wouldn’t.
Perhaps you doubt their love, which makes you pick fights, or perhaps you need constant reassurance.
The latter may be exhausting for the other party, but if you really need that, someone who truly loves you will never see it as a problem.
The former, on the other hand, is not only self-destructive, but it also ruins the overall peace of the relationship.
How do you fix it?
If you’re constantly experiencing relationship problems, pay attention to the following three things:
1. You need to be aware of your own behavior and what drives it. Don’t shift the blame onto the other person, but rather take responsibility and embrace how you feel.
2. Try to put yourself in their position. Practice empathy. Explain yourself and promise that you will work on your issues.
3. Keep your promises. Actively work on destroying your core beliefs so that you can have more healthy relationships.
How Do You Begin To Love Yourself?
Well, start by putting yourself first.
The main objective of learning to love yourself is making yourself a priority. Yes, fixing your issues may strengthen your relationships, but the relationship you have with yourself is of the utmost importance.
Sacrifice isn’t equivalent to love
You can still be there for others, but don’t forget to be there for yourself as well. Practice self-care, both physical and emotional.
At first, it won’t be easy, and you will feel extremely guilty. But, after some time, you will see the benefits it has on your mental health as well as your relationships.
Remember – you are the main character of your own story. Strive to become the best version of yourself you can. Above all, find within you unwavering faith. You’ll see how things will finally start to look up.
What if you’ve just ended a toxic relationship?
Toxic relationships are very common. If you’ve just experienced a toxic break-up, you’re probably not quite sure how to heal and love yourself again. I have only one thing to tell you:
You don’t need someone who treats you poorly (e.g. ignores your texts) and makes you feel like you’re not good enough.
Walking away from such a person is a sign of you finally learning to love yourself.
If you can’t find the right person, be that person for yourself. Trust me, it’s better to be alone than with the wrong person. Don’t let them convince you otherwise.
What Are The 5 Steps To Self-love?
Learning to love yourself can be quite challenging. Naturally, since you’ve lived a life devoid of self-love, it’s going to take some time to achieve it. However, step by step, you can do it.
Which steps would that be, though? What does loving yourself really mean? Well, here’s what:
1. Be your own best friend.
We’re all gentle and kind when it comes to our loved ones. But as soon as it is us in need of our own love, we are prone to self-judgment. Stop that.
Instead, practice self-acceptance and self-compassion. Offer yourself the same amount of love you would give someone else. Just because you don’t fully love yourself yet, doesn’t mean you can’t start behaving as if you do!
2. There is no wrong way to feel.
Learning to love yourself is difficult if you don’t allow yourself to experience both positive and negative emotions. Trust me, your sadness won’t magically go away until you face it. So go and burst into tears!
Keep your own well-being in mind and start being more emotionally vulnerable. Keep a journal or talk to a loved one. This step is crucial in your self-love journey.
3. Change your self-talk.
Are you often overwhelmed by negative thoughts? What if I told you that you have the power to control them?
Yes, I know you’re probably rolling your eyes right now, but please listen carefully:
Every emotion is valid, and it’s okay to feel it. But, as soon as you notice a self-deprecating thought, instantly reject it. Don’t feed yourself with even more hatred.
Find an inspiring mantra or keep a gratitude journal. That’s how you practice self-love.
4. Your life – your decisions.
Setting boundaries with others is the most crucial step that will change your entire life. Sadly, not many are aware of its importance.
They go through life giving more than they’re able to at the moment and sacrificing their own desires to fulfill someone else’s.
Please keep in mind that your time is solely your own and that you have the right to impose rules.
If you don’t like hugs, you don’t have to hug. If Sundays are your me-time days, so be it. You owe no one an explanation.
5. Speak openly.
Is someone belittling you? Speak up! It is actually your duty to defend yourself, and it is their fault for provoking you. Don’t ever think that you’re the bad guy for simply standing up for yourself.
Is your best friend disrespecting your boundaries? Tell them! Never forget that it is YOUR life you are discussing. You deserve your decisions to be respected.
So, these were just five among many other ways to love yourself. The more you practice, the easier it will get!
How Do You Love Yourself When You Don’t Know How?
Well, use the numerous sources you have at hand.
For starters, you can read self-help workbooks. There are plenty of them that you can find on Amazon that will inspire you on your self-love journey.
Furthermore, you can listen to self-love podcasts or, if things get really rough, you can always find a clinical psychologist or an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) to get to the root issues of your lack of self-love.
Lastly, as hard as it is to rely on yourself when you’re struggling so much, that’s precisely what you need to do. Start loving yourself by practicing self-love affirmations and reminding yourself to just trust the universe.
How Do You Accept Yourself?
In order to accept yourself, you first need to abandon words of self-judgment. Constant criticism will never help you change.
Why not be gentle with yourself instead? This is how you can do that:
Be your own support
Self-compassion goes a long way. You need to understand that your behavior was caused by other people. Don’t let them mess with you any longer. Don’t let them be the co-founders of your own life.
Instead, take control. Leave toxicity behind and embrace all that you are. Learning to love yourself isn’t about hiding the pain but freely feeling it. It’s an emotion like any other.
Moreover, don’t compare your progress to someone else’s. You’ve had different lives and different experiences, so you can’t expect the same type of person will come out of those experiences.
Realize what you truly want and make a plan. Be empathetic towards your inner child who wants nothing more than to be loved by you.
Don’t always trust yourself
Stop comparing yourself to people on social media you deem prettier. Just because you aren’t attractive by society’s standards doesn’t mean you aren’t at all.
Everyone is uniquely beautiful, and it’s time for you to finally embrace your real beauty. Remind yourself daily of all the things you love about the way you look. But also, if you would feel better after certain changes, why not strive for them?
Exercise regularly, eat healthier food, wear makeup or don’t wear makeup. The only important thing is that you feel sexy and confident in your own skin. Do it for yourself and your own standards, not someone else’s.
Learning To Love Yourself Quotes
The journey to unconditional self-love and self-worth is the greatest one you can embark on. But, the importance always lies in the first step. Little by little, you will move on to more healthy coping mechanisms and have a life you have always dreamed of.
If you’re having difficulty taking that first step, here are some quotes that might help you.
Learning How To Love Yourself Inspiring Quotes
Achieving self-confidence is not an easy task at all. No matter how much we try, sometimes, our low self-esteem prevails.
That is precisely why I’ve picked my favorite life-changing quotes that will inspire you to take care of yourself the way you were always meant to.
1. ”And that I did not give to anyone the responsibility for my life. It is mine. I made it. And can do what I want to with it.” – Mary Oliver
2. ”I am not the target. I am the archer.” – Sophocles
3. ”I will not stay, not ever again, in a room or conversation or relationship or institution that requires me to abandon myself.” – Glennon Doyle
4. ”Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion.” – Jane Austen
5. ”Very well; I hear; I admit, but I have a voice, too, and for good or evil mine is the speech that cannot be silenced.” – Joseph Conrad
6. ”May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back…” – Rainer Maria Rilke
7. ”Last year I abstained, this year I devour.” – Margaret Atwood
8. ”I always deserve the best treatment, because I never put up with any other.” – Jane Austen
9. ”I am learning to love the sound of my feet walking away from things not meant for me.” – Unknown
10. ”The world has no visible order, and I have only the order of my breathing. I let myself happen.” – Clarice Lispector
Learning How To Love Yourself Heartfelt Quotes
Even though we’re not the only ones with insecurities, it often feels that way. People rarely share such issues with others, and we’re left to deal with it all alone.
So, if you’re seeking words of empathy and support, here are some quotes that will offer you just that:
1. ”No longer trying to find myself. Instead, I am creating myself. I am not lost. I have endless potential!” – Unknown
2. ”You belong in the world today, no matter how ‘off’ you may feel.” – @thelatestkate
3. ”It’s okay to be sad after making the right decision.” – Unknown
4. ”As the image of myself becomes sharper in my brain and more precious, I feel less afraid someone else will erase me by denying me love.” – Jenny Slate
5. ”I am too full of life to be half-loved.” – Ijeoma Umebinyuo
6. ”I made the decision to consider my feelings more. And you need to pick up things you feel are important.” – Mob Psycho 100, anime
7. ”I overcame myself, the sufferer; I carried my own ashes to the mountains; I invented a brighter flame for myself” – Friedrich Nietzsche
8. ”To be great, be whole; exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that is not you.” – Fernando Pessoa
9. ”It’s now or later. There is no never.” – Niall Breen
10. ”To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance” – Oscar Wilde
All In All
Learning to love yourself is never easy, but it can be achieved through sheer force of will. You won’t magically manage to increase self-love, though.
It’s going to take time and, above all, patience. But once you see how much better your life will be and how much stronger your relationships will be, too, you will realize that it was all worth it.
You are the only one who can change your life. Just believe in yourself, and miracles are bound to happen.