Let’s start with this: Self-love isn’t selfish, I have no idea how this got in so many people’s heads, but you need to tell yourself this once and for all, self-love isn’t selfish.
Think about it like this: If you don’t love yourself and you feel that you don’t deserve love, self-care, and kindness you put yourself at risk for mental health issues like burn-out.
Loving yourself – being proud of who you are – doesn’t make you an egocentric person, it doesn’t mean that you think you are better than others, it just means that you love who you are, and that’s perfectly okay!
If you are able to love yourself you will feel better about your body, skills, accomplishments and you will make choices that are good for you, because that’s what you deserve.
Loving yourself isn’t easy, especially if you have traumatic experiences, but you can learn to love yourself. Learning to love yourself takes time and practice and you might want to find help from a therapist or life coach.
If you want to learn how to start loving yourself, I made this guide for you, but keep in mind that this is just to get you started, you’ll have to do all the hard work yourself, but I promise you, it’s worth it.
How to start loving yourself
Journaling for self-love
Start with journaling to figure out why you have trouble loving yourself. A few questions to get you started:
- What do I love about myself?
- What do I not love about myself and what can I do to accept it or change it?
- Is there an experience that stops me from loving myself?
- When was the first time you remember thinking negatively about yourself?
- What do I feel when I talk about self-love?
- What does self-love mean to me?
- What will change in my life if I learn to love myself?
- What do I need to start loving myself?
You don’t have control over everything in your life, and not everything can be changed, but you can learn to accept things. Maybe you aren’t happy with how your nose looks, but you can accept it and look at it from a different angle. ‘My nose makes me unique’ or ‘My nose helps me breathe’ and ‘I rarely have a stuffy nose’. Look at it from a different angle and find a way to love or accept it.
If you love journaling, check out these 70 journal prompts for self-discovery that help you feel more confident.
Look at it from a different perspective
So you’ve figured out why you have trouble loving yourself. Now it’s time to do something about it. I’ve already given you an example of how you can look at things from a different angle, but there are different ways to do this.
Imagine you and your bestie switching bodies, I’m sure you are able to say a lot of wonderful things about her, but what would she say about you? It can be hard to see the good things about yourself, but if you look at it from your best friend’s point of view, you will see different things. Maybe your best friend has a great voice and you hate yours, but what if yours is just as beautiful, but you can’t see it?
Change what you can
Some things you don’t love about yourself can be changed. You can unlearn behavior, and learn new skills. You can grow, and heal. Not everything can be changed and change doesn’t necessarily mean things will be better. This is especially true for changes to your body. Losing weight doesn’t mean you will be happier, getting fillers doesn’t mean you suddenly love yourself.
Accepting who you are
Sometimes you have to accept the way things are. I have to accept that my mental health is fragile, no matter how hard I work, no matter how much therapy I’ve gone through. I don’t like it, but I found a way to accept it. Sometimes I feel stable, other times I don’t and when I don’t, I deal with it.
And that’s what acceptance feels like. You might not like something about yourself, and some days it will be easier to accept than other times, but you can learn to live with it.
Remember this: You don’t have to be perfect to deserve love – what is perfection anyway? Do you think other people are perfect? Ask them. On the surface, it may look like they have it together, but everyone has issues and things they don’t like.
You are equal and deserve love
A lot of people who have a hard time with self-love have a really big heart filled with love and kindness for others, but here’s the thing: you deserve just as much love and care.
If you just started your self-love journey it will feel a bit strange to give yourself as much attention as you give others. Keep pushing through this feeling and remind yourself that you are deserving.
Let go of past experiences that make you feel bad about yourself, you don’t need that baggage. Everyone makes mistakes, you learn from them and you move on. You deserve forgiveness.
One way to let go of mistakes is to write a letter to your past self. In this letter you write what you did wrong, how you feel about this now and what you will do better.
You can’t change the past, but you can change the future.
Self-love takes time
The self-love journey isn’t easy. You will feel frustrated at times, you might want to give up, but remind yourself that it will all be worth it.
You are worth investing time in.
Exercises for self-love
- Write down 8 things you love about yourself: a skill you have, something about the way you look, or anything else. Every morning you will look in the mirror and tell yourself these 8 things that you love about yourself.
- Acknowledge your inner critic: Take a moment to write down all the negative thoughts that pop up in your head, these thoughts come from your inner critic. Next, you will write down another way to look at these negative thoughts, this is your healthy adult. For example: ‘I hate my voice’ – that’s something my inner critic will say, but my healthy adult will say ‘My voice is unique’.
- Make a list of your accomplishments: Big, small, it doesn’t matter, write them all down. Whenever you feel worthless, you will look at that list and remember all the things you’ve already accomplished.
- Self-care: If you take good care of yourself you are saying ‘I am worth taking care of’. Take a moment each day to do something for you, it can be as small as making yourself some tea and mindfully drinking it. Every time you take care of yourself, you are reminding yourself that you’re worth it.
I made this self-love mini workbook for my VIP members. These worksheets will help you on your path to self-love. You can access them by becoming a VIP member below.
*By signing up you agree to receive a newsletter, for more information about privacy click here. Once you’ve signed up you’ll receive a confirmation email, once you’ve confirmed, there will be a welcome email with a password for the VIP library. *
Are you going to start this self-love journey? Share your tips!
Join me on Patreon
If you’ve ever gotten value from my website or social media then Patreon is a great way to support my work. With your support, I can make more valuable content and continue my important work to break the stigma on mental health.
On Patreon, you’ll find exclusive blog posts, illustrations, worksheets, and much more valuable content. It’s easy to sign-up and you can cancel your pledge anytime!Become a Patron!