Love yourself. We’ve all heard this timeless yet valuable advice. But how many can say they actually do? How many of us truly love ourselves unconditionally?
I will be the first to admit this has often been a struggle for me.
Learning to love yourself takes time and practice. It requires commitment to shifting how you think about yourself and the world around you. But if you stick with it, figuring out how to love yourself is one of the very best ways to improve your confidence, your self-esteem, and the relationships with those around you.
Are you ready?
Let’s dive right in to how you can love yourself and stop relying on the approval of others!
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1. Love Yourself by Caring for Your Body
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”Thich Nhat Hanh
One of the most concrete ways you can love yourself is by taking care of your body. Getting enough sleep at night, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet can make a huge difference in how you feel on a daily basis.
And when you’re feeling great physically, loving yourself comes much more easily.
There have been times in my life when I have been chronically sleep deprived and living off of sugar. Those were times in which I was physically and emotionally drained. Loving myself wasn’t even a blip on my radar at the time because I was in survival mode.
But surviving is NOT thriving. It’s not where I want to be for any length of time.
And I don’t think it’s where you want to be either.
Start taking care of your body today with one small decision. Think about which area is most lacking right now, make a plan, and take action!
You may also enjoy reading ‘Get Better Sleep Tonight!’
To love yourself, you must first know yourself. And one of the best ways to get to know yourself is by journaling.
Although it can take some practice, journaling is an incredibly diverse exercise which helps you get to the very core of what makes you tick.
Sometimes daily life has a tendency to keep you stuck in your own head. This is especially true if you are someone who tends to the introverted side and who has an active “thought life.”
Getting all those thoughts out on paper not only calms your mind but also provides insight into who you are and what motivates you. It’s especially powerful when combined with personal affirmations such as “I can handle anything that comes at me.” Or “I am worthy of love and respect.”
Journaling is amazing because you can write whatever you want! Whatever’s on your mind or in your heart. It’s a completely judgment-free zone.
Take the first step today by making a decision to journal on a consistent basis. Figure out a time each day when journaling could be incorporated and start writing!
3. Banish the Negative Self-Talk
Have you ever stopped to think about your thinking? More specifically, have you thought about that little voice providing constant commentary to your daily life?
If not, start paying attention to that little voice. Is it typically cheering you on? Or is it telling you to fear everything and that failure is inevitable?
Self-talk is sneaky yet powerful. It quietly permeates every little thought and feeling.
Your self-talk matters. It can either build you up or tear you down.
Self-talk influences your confidence, self-esteem, and how you see yourself. And if you’ve never gotten serious about taking control of your self-talk, now is the time!
Awareness is the very first step in transforming your self-talk and finally loving yourself fearlessly!
You may also enjoy reading ‘5 Ways You Can Conquer Self-Doubt!’
4. Foster Self-Compassion
“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”Louise Hay
Love and compassion go together. But if you struggle with negative self-talk, you also likely struggle to be compassionate with yourself.
Self-compassion can be especially difficult if you have perfectionist tendencies. Perfectionism often means the expectations you have for yourself are vague and unreasonably high. They are often so high that no one could ever attain them.
And the consequences for not attaining these expectations? Self-directed shame, blame, and guilt.
It’s tough to love yourself when shame and guilt are constant companions.
Ditch the negativity! Give yourself a break the next time things don’t work out as you had wanted. One of the best ways to do this is to ask yourself this one simple question the next time your inner critic takes control. “Would I say this comment out loud to someone I love?”
If not, then don’t say it to yourself either. Your inner self deserves both love and compassion.
You may also enjoy reading ‘How to Overcome Perfectionism!’
5. Love Yourself by Finding the Joy
Amidst all the negative self-talk, harsh criticisms, and the challenges inherent to life, it can be difficult to stay positive. But it can also be difficult to love yourself if all you see is the negative.
I have definitely been caught up in the negatives at many points in my life. Overwhelm gradually took over and loving myself took a back burner. Those were times in which I mistakenly thought that if I just focused on work and what I needed to get done, things would eventually improve.
But the harder I worked, the worse I felt.
And then one day it dawned on me that I had completely eliminated joy from my life. I was missing out on all the wonderful things life has to offer by closing myself off to joy.
If you are feeling a constant state of negativity, try adding joy back into your life. Look for opportunities to smile. Laugh. Try something new.
You just might be surprised at how easy it is to love yourself when doing something which brings you joy!
6. Be Grateful
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”Oprah Winfrey
One of the keys to fearless self-love is gratitude for all that you have and all that you are. You are you for a reason and have so many unique qualities to share with the world around you.
But only by sitting down and consciously listing out what you are grateful for can you truly begin to appreciate the blessings in your life.
Putting gratitude front and center in your life not only improves your self-love but also your overall outlook. It suddenly becomes much easier to see the good in every situation. Gratitude is a powerful force which can replace even the most persistent negative thoughts.
Commit to starting a gratitude practice today. It can be as easy as writing down 3 things you are grateful for in your journal each morning. A simple, yet powerful way to kick start your day and supercharge your self-love!
7. Focus on Your Strengths
It wasn’t until I committed to figuring out who I was as a person that I was finally able to love and appreciate who I am. And part of figuring out who you are involves determining your strengths and weaknesses.
We all have them. Areas where we both excel and struggle.
And I used to operate under the assumption that my time should be spent developing my weaknesses. That I could indeed excel at everything instead of only in specific areas.
But then I discovered this book and my outlook did a 180. The premise of the book is that spending time developing your weaknesses is actually a waste. You are instead much better off fostering existing strengths as you will be able to make exceedingly more progress.
I also discovered that for me personally, spending time in areas where I do not excel drains my energy. This makes me overall less effective than I would be by staying in my strengths.
Take the first step today toward discovering your own strengths by reading my story here. I highly encourage you to love yourself on a deeper level by starting your own strength finding journey!
8. Learn Boundaries
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.”Brene Brown
Sometimes one of the best ways to love yourself is to say “no” to others. If you’re in a constant state of overwhelm verging on burnout, maybe it’s time to examine where your energy is spent.
It’s so easy to lose yourself under the guise of helping others. And don’t get me wrong … you should help others when possible. But helping others should never come at the expense of meeting your own needs.
You are responsible for you. Being you comes with its own set of responsibilities and priorities. No one else will worry about your self-care or whether you’re making progress toward personal goals.
Freedom comes from knowing your individual responsibilities and saying “no” to anything which isn’t your responsibility. There’s a sense of peace which descends upon you once you stop worrying about things you have no control over.
Setting boundaries takes practice but is well worth the effort! Check out this book and learn how you can start setting healthy boundaries today.
9. Follow Through
Do what you say you’re going to do. Align your inner beliefs with your outer actions. Be true to yourself.
Following through is infinitely easier once you’ve established (and committed to!) personal boundaries. Without solid boundaries, agreeing to anything anyone asks of you is tempting, especially if you are a people pleaser.
Living a life free of boundaries means trying to take responsibility which isn’t yours in the first place. It quickly leads to overwhelm, burnout, and an inability to actually do everything you’ve agreed to do. Following through becomes impossible because there’s simply too much on your plate.
Learning to love yourself fearlessly comes from a place of authenticity. It comes from honesty to yourself and to those around you.
And although it takes practice, consistent follow through will increase the trust you have in yourself which will in turn improve your self-love.
10. Acceptance of What Is
“Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it … this will miraculously transform your whole life.”Eckhart Tolle
Acceptance is powerful. We waste so much of our time playing the “I’ll be happy when …” game. “I’ll be happy when I lose this weight.” Or “I’ll be happy when I’m done with school.”
And our culture of comparison only feeds into our unhappiness and inability to truly love ourselves. As does the constant subliminal advertising by companies promising to bring fulfillment and meaning to our lives through a new car or designer clothing.
True acceptance means finding joy and figuring out how to love yourself even when things aren’t ideal. It means learning to accept reality regardless of the circumstances and without blowing your budget on material objects you don’t need.
Wishing things were different instead of accepting reality is futile and a waste of energy. Refusing to accept what is causes untold pain and grief.
But the good news is that you have the ability to decide to accept your reality. Stop fighting against that which you can’t change. Spend your time instead looking for anything you do have control over and be a positive force.
Accept and love yourself.
You may also enjoy reading ‘Anxiety Relieving Activities Which Actually Work!’
It’s Your Turn
Figuring out how to love yourself, flaws and all, is a journey. It’s small daily decisions to reject self-criticism and to have more self-compassion. Getting enough sleep, journaling, and being grateful for the blessings in your life also pave the way to greater self-love.
Love yourself on a deeper level and you will find that your love for others also grows. As does your overall joy and happiness in your daily life.
I truly hope you have found this post helpful and have come away with new resolve to love yourself more! As always, I’d love to hear your biggest take-aways below!