“Love yourself. Enough to take the actions required for your happiness. Enough to cut yourself loose from the drama-filled past. Enough to set a high standard for relationships. Enough to feed your mind and body in a healthy manner. Enough to forgive yourself. Enough to move on.” – Steve Maraboli
Self-love might seem like a selfish thing, but let me be the gentle voice to tell you that it isn’t
Having been brought up in a highly dysfunctional and destructive home that was void of all feelings of love and happiness, it affected me deeply in so many ways throughout my life. Even to this day. I don’t know what it feels like to be deeply loved by my parents and that conjures up feelings of unworthiness. Like it was just something I was born with. I came from a broken home and sometimes I think, perhaps because of that, maybe I’m a little broken, too.
When we don’t have any love for ourselves, we feel it in every fiber of our being. Lack of self-love manifests itself in many different areas of our lives. Including our relationship with ourselves and our relationship with others. I feel as though I am in a constant battle to win over my fragile mind and my deep emotions. I feel things more deeply than perhaps I should.
That’s why it has been important for me to look within for the love I want in my life. It hasn’t been easy and to be quite honest, I’m still not fully there. Self-love is a journey. Especially for those that were brought up in a toxic and unhealthy family environment.
Sometimes, we look externally for love, when really, we have all the love we need inside ourselves. We feel love when we give it freely to others without expecting something in return. I’m learning to love all the parts of me, even the parts that I don’t really like very much.
I think we lose sight of that. Sometimes, we want to receive love from others as a
When it’s comforting, it can inspire so many wonderful things. When it’s damaging, it can crush us on a deep level.
There are so many ways in which you can learn to love yourself more. Here are a few ways I’m learning to love myself more and I hope they will help you, too.
1. SPEAK WORDS OF KINDNESS TO YOURSELF
This one can be really difficult. Especially if you’re used to saying really awful things to yourself, like me. We all do it in some form or another, but some of us are more harsh to ourselves than others and it can be quite destructive. How we speak to ourselves has a big impact on our own inner happiness and in-turn, this can stop us from loving ourselves.
I tend to say negative statements to myself all the time like, “I’m ugly” or “I’m fat.”
Or, we say things like:
- I’m not enough
- I’m not good enough
- I’m not smart enough
- I’m not happy enough
- I’m not pretty enough
- I’m not skinny enough
- I’m not lucky enough
- I’m not capable enough
I’M NOT! I’M NOT! I’M NOT!
Oh my goodness! Do you see how awful we are to ourselves?
We don’t speak to others in this way (at least I hope not), so why do we speak to ourselves in this way?
It’s no wonder why we’re always struggling with loving ourselves more.
Promise yourself that from now on, every time you catch yourself saying “I’m not,” or a negative “I’M” or “I AM” statement, stop yourself immediately and replace it with a positive “I AM” statement.
- I am enough
- I am good enough
- I am smart enough
- I am happy
- I am beautiful
- I am healthy
- I am lucky
- I am capable
Whatever the situation is, replace the negative words you would normally say to yourself with positive self-talk. This may take some time to get there, and that’s ok.
I have started to practice this habit, myself, and it has really helped me realize how subconscious I was about speaking negative words to myself.
Be mindful of the words you speak to yourself, so you can make positive changes where necessary.
2. GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
Be forgiving of yourself. We can sometimes be very harsh and unforgiving of our short-comings. We’re imperfect human beings and we make mistakes. Those mistakes can really have a negative impact on our well-being when we carry them with shame and anger. Learn to forgive yourself.
Many of us may view forgiveness as something we do for others, but we forget that we deserve to forgive ourselves, too.
3. NURTURE YOUR MIND AND YOUR BODY
Your mind and body need to be continuously nurtured. When we don’t love ourselves, we’re more likely to eat really unhealthy foods, not exercising and constantly letting in so much outside negativity that fogs our mind.
Nurture your mind and body by making better food choices, stay hydrated, stretch your body and exercise frequently, sit in silence for a few minutes a day, disconnect from all technology as often as you can, spend more time outside. These are just a few ways you can begin to nurture your mind and body, but do the things that work for you.
4. LEARN TO LET GO
Many of us hold on to things that are bad for us far longer than we need to. Whether it be a toxic working environment (I’ve been there!), a relationship that no longer makes us happy or that is unhealthy, or a friendship that no longer enriches us.
Whatever it may be for you, learn to let go of everything and everyone that doesn’t enrich your life. And you should definitely learn to let go of everything that hurts you and makes you question your self-worth,
5. LEARN TO LOVE ALL THE PARTS OF YOU
We can’t love one part of us while hating another. There’s just a very big disconnect in that. We can get too caught up in picking apart every inch of ourselves because it doesn’t fit the ideal look we want to have. When we don’t love ourselves it’s usually because we feel that some or all the parts of us somehow fall short of our expectations of how we want to look or be.
We are more than just our bodies. We are heart and mind and character.
To be honest, this one is a really difficult one for me because loving all the parts of me has been something I have always struggled with. Especially when it comes to my body.
I’ve gained 25 lbs which I have been struggling so much to lose and I feel like I’m in a constant battle with it. I even avoid going out in public where anyone I know can see me. Even when I’m at my ideal weight, I still hate my body shape and all the damage that pregnancy caused to it and I feel no amount of exercising or clean eating is going to bring my old body back. It’s painful sometimes to accept. Really painful!
I can’t promise that it will be easy for you to accept, either. What I’m learning is that I must learn to love and appreciate all the parts of me by focusing more on the positives.
Life is too short to spend it self-loathing. Our time is better spent doing the things that we love and the things that make us happy, don’t you think?
6. FOCUS ON YOURSELF
Focus on yourself by not comparing yourself to others. It’s not healthy and it really isn’t fair on yourself or on the people you’re comparing yourself to. We never know what other people are going through. Whether it be your friends, family, co-workers or strangers you follow on social media.
Just because someone can take gorgeous Instagram worthy photos of their seemingly perfect life, it doesn’t mean that these people are better than you or that their life is even anywhere near as perfect as it seems. Most likely, it isn’t.
As the saying goes, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
Always aim to work on improving the areas of your life you want to improve.
7. CREATE NURTURING RELATIONSHIPS
Relationships are SO important! Recognize the importance of continuously working on improving your relationship with people. We all have needs that need to be fulfilled in any relationship. We need to get comfortable with communicating those needs effectively.
We can very easily get so comfortable with our unhealthy relationships and it makes it difficult for us to work on them. Particularly when we’ve been in them for a long time.
All relationships (not just romantic ones), require a healthy balance of give-and-take. When we give and give without receiving, it can leave us feeling empty inside which is totally the opposite of feeling self-love.
This is always a two-way street. It isn’t always about us. Sometimes, we are the ones being unfair to others, unintentionally, of course. We might not be the ones listening to what the other person wants from the relationship.
Take the time to not only ask for what you want out of your relationship with others but be fair and listen to what they truly want from you, too.
If it’s someone you want to have in your life for a long time, then nurture these relationships with all your heart.
8. ACCEPT LOVE & GIVE LOVE
We all want love in our lives. I think that sometimes, we just don’t know how to accept love. It’s there. We just don’t feel it deeply enough. Sometimes, we just need a little nudge. It’s almost like we need some sort of grand act of love to convince us that someone does indeed actually love us. But we don’t. We just need to learn to accept the love given, in the way that it’s given to us. B
I think we all have a deep need to not only receive love but to also give it. We must learn to give love when we feel it. Give love selflessly to others. Don’t hold it inside. You will feel so much better when you do. Even if that love isn’t reciprocated. It’s ok. I always say that the most painful words are – the words that are left unspoken.
So don’t let fear of not having your love reciprocated stop you from expressing the love you feel.
9. FIND OUT YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE
Another way we can learn how to accept and give love is to learn our unique love language. Love is funny. We want to feel it but for some reason, we want to feel it in a certain way that feels good to us. Did you know that there are 5 love languages? Gary Chapman, Author of the book “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts,” goes over the 5 love languages in detail.
The 5 Love Languages are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
While we all have a little bit of each of these 5 love language, there is usually one love language that we feel more deeply than others. You can do a short test here to see how you, yourself, feel loved.
When I did the 5 Love Languages test, I was surprised to find out that my love language is Acts of Service. I could have sworn it was spending quality time or words of affirmation, but it wasn’t. It just goes to show that we might not know ourselves as well as we think we do.
10. Accept Compliments
I cannot tell you how important this one is. I never used to be able to accept any compliments at all. Not even from my own husband. Every time he would tell me I looked beautiful, I would say things like, “no, I’m not, “your blind,” “I’m too fat.” Even when I was thin.
I think I used to reject compliments like they weren’t meant for me or like I wasn’t worthy of receiving them. The compliments would feel really foreign to me as they didn’t resonate at all with how I felt inside. I would get dressed up and put on makeup because I felt insecure and inadequate about myself.
When we don’t love ourselves, we find it difficult to accept compliments from others because it doesn’t resonate with how we feel on the inside.
Learn to accept compliments by conditioning yourself to just say “thank you” without
11. PRACTICE SELF-LOVE DAILY
self-love is something we should be mindful about practicing in our daily life in the same way that we tend to any other of our self-care needs. Take a few minutes each day to feel the love for yourself deeply, to appreciate yourself and to accept yourself.
There is no right or wrong way to love yourself, there is only your way and what works for you. My hope in writing this post is to leave you with something to ponder on a deeper level. You are worthy of self-love. Just look within and you will find it.
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Love & Hugs,