We all have days (or weeks, months, or years) when we don’t feel like our best selves. So, if you struggle with self-love, you’re not alone. If you’re ready to learn how to love yourself more and unlock more joy and satisfaction in your life, then you’re in the right place. With just a few simple strategies, you can show yourself more love and kindness daily. This article offers tips to help you build a better relationship with yourself, so you can create a life you truly enjoy. From forgiving yourself to being mindful of your self-talk to creating a self-love ritual, you can take these steps right now to start living your most fulfilling life.
In the last couple of articles we’ve discussed how failing to love yourself is ruining your life, and we’ve discovered that loving yourself is the secret to a great life. But if you don’t know how knowing you need to is not all that helpful. That’s why I created a 14-day online course on How to Fall in Love With Yourself, which this article is a TLDR version of.
How to Learn to Love Yourself
What Is Self-Love?
Loving yourself means accepting yourself, flaws and all, treating yourself with respect, and making choices that support your mental, emotional, and physical health, and help you to grow. How you think or talk about yourself, how you care for yourself, and how you feel about yourself indicate how good you are at loving yourself. If you’re not that great at it, and even if you fail miserably at it, don’t despair. You can improve your relationship with yourself.
Self-Love in Action
Real self-love is not facials or mani/pedis, although they are nice. These are some examples of what loving yourself looks like in action:
- positive self-talk
- forgiving yourself
- taking care of your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs
- setting and enforcing healthy boundaries
- maximizing time for people, places, and activities that fill you up inside
- asking for help/accepting help when offered
- celebrating your strengths and talents
- respecting all your feelings, even the ones that aren’t “nice”
- making healthy choices more often than not
- working towards a goal even when it’s hard
- taking responsibility for your actions and holding yourself accountable
- accepting imperfections
- being realistic with your expectations for yourself and others
- celebrating your efforts, even if they weren’t successful
So… how the heck do you do all that? Try these tips:
Practice Real Self-Care
Real self-care is self-love in action. It’s mindfully and consistently nurturing all aspects of your health. This includes your physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual health. People confuse self-care with pampering. Pampering is eating chocolate cake after a hard day. Self-care is analyzing why the day was hard and taking action to make changes to better support your well-being as needed.
Reconnect With Yourself
A common form of self-preservation and protection is disconnection, also known as disassociation. Take this short quiz to find out if you might be disconnected. Score one point for every “yes” answer:
- You spend a lot of time “in your head” and find it harder to ignore your thoughts than bodily sensations.
- The inability to get out of your head makes it hard for you to be present for or enjoy sex.
- If asked what kind of touch you do or don’t like, you have a hard time answering. You might not be able to differentiate pleasurable sensations from neutral or painful sensations.
- You have a reduced interest in sex, massages, and other pleasurable bodily experiences but you don’t know why.
- It is difficult or impossible for you to name or define how you’re feeling, either physically or emotionally. If both, add two points to your score instead of one.
- You don’t easily see the connection between how you’re feeling (exhausted) and your actions (mindlessly eating an entire bag of chips).
- Things that used to bring you joy no longer interest you, or when you do them it feels like “going through the motions”.
- You watch yourself go through life from a distance like you’re a character in a movie or TV show instead of experiencing life firsthand.
Tally up your score. If it’s a 4 or higher, you may be disconnected from your body and/or emotions (Note: this quiz does not qualify as a diagnosis of a condition).
Some ways to reconnect with your body include breathwork, meditation, self-massage, and mindful movement practices like freestyle dancing, yoga, tai-chi, and qigong. Many of these practices can also help with reconnecting you to your emotions. Journaling and EFT tapping can also be helpful for emotional reconnection. In my 14-day course on self-love, we take a deep dive into the reconnection process.
Stop Judging Yourself for Being Human
Are you like me in that you can easily forgive others for their mistakes but not yourself? Does it seem like you’re hard-wired to believe that other people are better than you are even though deep down there’s a part of you that suspects that’s not actually true? Here’s a list of things you need to stop judging yourself for because no one is as perfect at them as you think they are:
- Kids that aren’t always happy or clean, and who sometimes eat processed foods and even (gasp!!!) sugar.
- Separate piles of clean and dirty laundry that never seem to go away
- Struggling with making and keeping friends as an adult
- Not having the time, energy, resources, or desire to go all-out decorating your house for every season and holiday
- Not even having the time, energy, resources, or desire to have an immaculate (or sometimes even reasonably clean) home
- Having a job that’s just a way to pay bills that you’re not passionate about
- Not feeling lit up inside all day every day
- Spending more time working than vacationing
- Having a LONG list of places you want to visit but haven’t (yet)
- Feeling emotions society labels as “bad” or “negative” (all emotions have their place and are valid)
- Thinking or feeling differently than friends, family, coworkers, the Joneses, etc.
- Having flaws and making mistakes
Basically… just don’t judge yourself because we’re all a bunch of hot messes pretending to be perfect. Hold yourself accountable, but don’t judge yourself for being just as human as everyone else is.
Get to Know Your Inner-Self
You are not your body, or your mind, or your emotions. The real you exists separate from all of those things. That is who you truly are. That is who you are peeling back the layers to uncover. That’s who we’re all trying to uncover. A fun way to get to know yourself is a personality quiz. I included a short one in this module, but if you’d like to take a more in-depth assessment, there are a variety of tests available online. This blog post provides links to 14 online tests that you don’t have to pay for.
Another great tool for getting to know who you are underneath it all is journaling. Begin a daily practice where you write about your thoughts and feelings and explore the inner depths of yourself. You may write about whatever is on your mind or you can use a journal prompt like those available in GrowthDay. (Note: as a GrowthDay affiliate, if you click through and decided to make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. You can start with the free trial before deciding on whether to make a purchase or not.)
Forgiveness is the act of accepting an apology and/or letting go of negative feelings associated with a wrongdoing. There’s an important distinction between letting go of negative feelings and forgetting about the wrongdoing or allowing someone to continue to hurt or abuse you. You can forgive someone and still enforce boundaries.
Another important thing to understand about forgiveness is that it can happen even if you never get an apology. That’s why I said and/or. In an ideal situation, the person who wrongs you recognizes the wrong and apologizes, whether that’s someone else apologizing to you or you apologizing to yourself. When that happens, both parties have released the burden.
But, you and I both know that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the burden of holding a grudge is too heavy, and you have to put it down even though the person who wronged you has yet to recognize it and apologize to you. When the wrong was caused by someone else, it’s possible to let go of the burden without an apology. It doesn’t matter if they’re still holding on to it because you can walk away.
But, when you wronged yourself but haven’t accepted responsibility or apologized to yourself for the damage done, it’s a lot harder to release that burden. That’s because one part of you is trying to put the burden down while another part is picking it back up. You can’t walk away from yourself like you can another person. This is why many people, including myself, find it easier to forgive other people than it is to forgive ourselves. Forgiving yourself is another area we take a deep dive into in my online course.
Sweet Talk Yourself
Research shows that there’s only ONE DIFFERENCE between those that feel loved and belong and those that don’t: the belief that they are worthy of and deserve it. Do you believe that you’re worthy of love and that you deserve to feel a sense of true belonging? Or is that something you need to work on? If your self-talk sounds more like hate messages than love notes, try reading my mini-series of articles on changing your mental radio station. You can read them here, here, and here.
Create a Self-Love Ritual
A self-love ritual is a practice to help you to reawaken the love you have for yourself. A way to help you build a stronger relationship with yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
First, get over any hang-ups you have about the word “ritual”. Some people hear the word “ritual” and immediately think about rituals involving animal or human sacrifice or someone that’s worshipping evil.
The dictionary definition of “ritual” is a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed in a prescribed order. Rituals can be religious, or completely secular. Rituals are not inherently good or inherently evil.
Wait a minute, Dee, if they’re not inherently good, why do I need one? Because there’s power in ritual. It’s scientifically shown to be effective even if you don’t believe in it. In the course I can’t shut up about, there’s an in-depth lesson on creating your custom self-love ritual, but for now, here are some ideas of things your ritual can include:
- Hiking, running, or walking
- Music (either what makes you happy or trying music with a healing frequency like 432 or 528 hz.)
- Cleaning your home or personal space
- Burning incense, herbs, or sacred woods like White Willow Bark or Palo Santo.
- Goal setting/check-in
- EFT tapping
- Doing something fun
- Taking a bath, shower, or swim
- Taking yourself out on a solo-date
- Trying something new
- Cooking your favorite food
- Positive affirmations
- Completing a body scan
- Spending time connecting with nature
- Journaling (if you’re interested, I created an online/PDF journal with morning and evening prompts designed to help you find balance in 15 minutes or less a day. You can get it here for about the price of a large latte.)
Still Need to Love Yourself More?
In a world that profits from your self-doubt, learning how to love yourself is not easy, and not something you can really learn from a blog post. It takes commitment, daily practice, and lots of repetition to master the art of self-love, but it also benefits every area of your life including:
- Emotional health
- Energy level
- Life satisfaction
- Mental health
- Physical health
If you’re ready to take your power back, to take your life back, by learning a whole lot more about how to love yourself using journal prompts, worksheets, and a wide range of psychology-based and science-backed techniques, sign up today! If you loved this article, please share it on Facebook or Linked-In, and don’t forget to tag @basicbfindsbalance and #howtofallinlovewithyourself.