How to Love Yourself More: 3 Top Tips for Self-Love!
Updated: Sep 1
The words self-love seem to be the self-help buzz words at the moment, but what does it really mean to love ourselves?
“Self-love is not selfish; you cannot truly love another until you know how to love yourself.”
Healthy self-love has nothing to do with being selfish. It has nothing to do with vanity, egotism or narcissism. A healthy sense of self-love is a state of appreciation, acceptance and compassion that we have for ourselves, that can grow from self-care actions.
A balanced sense of self-love means we take care of our own well-being and happiness and value our own needs as well as others’. Self-love also means not sacrificing our own well-being to please others.
Self-Love also means letting go of the idea of being perfect!
Truly loving ourselves means accepting and loving the whole human that we are and embracing the negatives as well as the positives. It means forgiving ourselves for anything we feel we did wrong and for not being perfect! Perfection doesn’t exist! It means loving ourselves for all of our flaws and the great things about us too! Self-love also means having the same compassion and kindness that we may extend to others, for ourselves as well.
Why is it so difficult to really love ourselves?
I come across a couple of issues that can make loving ourselves tricky. One is that we are not used to it and the other is that the brain is literally wired to look for the negatives around us, this is our survival instinct. I’ll explain both these concepts:
Self-love is unfamiliar
If we developed limiting beliefs about our self-value and worth when we were kids it can become a habit to be unkind to ourselves and allow others to do the same. This is because we may not believe we are worthy or that we matter and therefore
we act accordingly.
If we’re used to being critical and mean to ourselves it can feel so unfamiliar to treat ourselves nicely. The trouble is if we don’t do this for ourselves no one else will. So, it’s important to practice loving and accepting ourselves and to really develop
this under-utilized muscle, so that it becomes more comfortable and natural and familiar.
Our brains are wired with negativity bias
Scientists tell us that we are wired for negativity bias. Our ancestors survived due to their ability to scan the environment for danger and take actions to avoid injury and death. There was little survival value in relaxing and being compassionate to ourselves.
This explains why our brains do what they do. It takes a bit more effort and some repetition, but negativity can be over-ridden by positivity. The good news is that positivity has a more powerful impact on us than negative thoughts, so it’s well worth the effort to practice retraining our brains to be positive and loving towards ourselves.
Here are three concepts and tips to help you to practice self-care in order to cultivate self-love:
Self-Love Tip 1 – Speak to Yourself Kindly
“Self-kindness is self-empathy. And even when I talk to myself like someone I love and it feels weird, it works.” – Brene Brown
Be kind and compassionate to yourself when you feel you fall short. Talk to yourself kindly when you feel down and forgive yourself when you make mistakes, this just means you’re trying and that you’re human. Praise yourself as much as you can. Remember this quote by Dale Carnegie and give yourself the gift of praise: “Abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement.” Praise will build you up, tell yourself how well you’re doing at every little thing.
Self-Love Tip 2 – Make time for Fun and Laughter
“Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter. Your soul cannot heal without joy.” – Catherine Ripperger Fenwick
Nourish your emotional self and have fun. Seek out things that make you laugh and feel happy. Do more of the things that bring you joy and feed your soul. Find ways to bring these activities into your life more often, even a few minutes during your day will make a difference.
Self-Love Tip 3- Treat Yourself as you Would Your Best Friend
“Give yourself the love you’re willing to give to others.” – Mahin Ismail
Treat yourself with the compassion and kindness that you extend to others. It’s easy to feel empathy and compassion for the people in your life, but what about towards yourself? One great exercise to cultivate the same kindness to yourself is to write a letter of appreciation to yourself, as if it’s from a dear friend. This letter should include all of the things that people appreciate in you and some kind and compassionate advice to encourage you to value and love yourself more.
I hope that these three tips help you to practice the very worthwhile task of loving and valuing yourself more.
Remember that how you love and treat yourself is how you show others to treat and love you too. So lead by example and always value and respect yourself first.