how to learn to love yourself
I have now been writing about dating and relationships on this blog for almost 4 years.
And during all that time one thing has become obvious. The happiest, healthiest, and most loving relationships are created by people that love themselves first.
People that whether they are single or not always treat themselves with compassion, love, and patience.
That’s why the popular quote “You can only love someone else to the degree that you love yourself” is true.
Don’t get it? Well, let me explain it to you.
If you don’t know how to love yourself, it will be very hard to show another person how to.
For example, if you are used to calling yourself stupid whenever you mess something up, guess what. It won’t bother you when someone else says it to you either. But would you call that loving?
Probably not. That’s why you must learn how to love yourself first before you attempt to build a good relationship.
That is why today I’m sharing how to learn to love yourself.
What does self-love mean?
Now before we tackle what self-love looks like, I want to clarify what self-love even means.
Self-love is the way you relate to yourself that allows for mistakes, imperfections, and patience. It’s the simple step of loving who you are at this very moment.
As easy as that might sounds, for many women, it’s very hard because we all have been taught to avoid mistakes, thrive for perfection, and not show weakness.
But the truth is we are human beings that will fall short at times. The last thing you want to do then is judge and shame yourself, but rather love yourself and show grace.
How to learn to love yourself
Now that you know what self-love means, it’s time to figure out how to learn to love yourself. As always it’s important to me to give you specific steps that you can implement into your life.
And lucky for you they are not too hard.
In order to love yourself completely, you want to focus on different aspects of your well-being. By looking at your spiritual, mental, and physical well-being you can identify what areas you lack self-love in and how to improve it.
How to love yourself spiritually
The first area I like to look at when I explain how to learn to love yourself is spirituality.
What does your belief system look like? Whether you believe in Jesus Christ or not, it’s important to have a higher power you believe in.
Spirituality gives you a sense of peace, balance, and wholeness in the different areas of your life. It helps you to focus inward and become more aware of your inner self.
Loving yourself spiritually means making time to connect with yourself and your core beliefs, thereby aligning with who you are at the core which eliminates stress and inner conflict.
How to love yourself physically
The second area is the most needed one for women especially. A lot of us struggle to love our bodies because we are constantly bombarded with unrealistic beauty standards.
We are so used to looking and thinking of our perceived flaws that we rarely take out time to love our amazing bodies.
Loving yourself physically means appreciating each body part for what it does for you daily. Practicing body positivity can help you transform your thoughts and feelings about your body. And one of the best ways to get started is through self-love affirmations.
Once you identified the areas that need loving, it’s time to come up with specific ways to love yourself.
Things to do to love yourself
1. Accept how you feel
The most common area in which we fail to love ourselves at times is our mental health.
Believe it or not, judging and shaming yourself for feeling a certain type of way is not loving. Whenever you don’t allow yourself to experience your authentic emotions but try to hide them, you are hurting your self-esteem.
Instead, you want to accept how you feel without judgment. Simply acknowledge the emotion, accept that this is your state of mind at that very moment, and then figure out a way to change it.
2. Forgive yourself
Just like accepting how you feel, forgiving yourself for things you did in the past is important to your mental health as well. Showing yourself grace for making mistakes and accepting that you are not perfect will help you move on from the past.
Rather than overthinking and stressing over what you could have done better, you now can learn from it and move on with more wisdom.
3. Say no to others
People-pleasing is one of the areas I had to do the most work in over the past few years. For a long time, I believed that advocating for my own needs was selfish and that a good Christian girl puts others before herself.
The lies! Nothing could be further from the truth.
If you really want to genuinely care for others and be of service you have to learn to put yourself first. Therefore you have to say no to others and situations that don’t serve you or inconvenience you.
Make sure that your cup is full before you try to pour from it.
4. Don’t compare yourself to others
If there is one thing I have learned since starting this blog then it is that comparison is the thief of joy. I blogged about it and I created a YouTube video on this topic, but it is worth repeating.
Whenever you compare yourself to someone else, you essentially tell yourself that you don’t like yourself the way you are.
And I know we are quick to think “It’s not that deep” but it is. Would you go up to your baby sister and say “I wish you were like this other little girl from your daycare”? No, you would never. So, why do it to yourself?
To learn to love yourself, you have to learn to be confident about who you are.
If comparison is something you struggle with, you must avoid people/situations that trigger that desire even more. Stay off social media if need be or seek professional help to learn about ways to overcome.
5. Challenge your false beliefs
There is nothing that sabotages our well-being more than our beliefs about ourselves.
It affects what we think is possible and who we think we are. Unfortunately, a lot of times our beliefs about ourselves and others are tainted by past experiences and fears.
That’s why you need to challenge your (false) beliefs.
Make it a habit to question your thoughts and find out why it is you believe that. It may be outdated or rooted in fear, which you then can choose to stop believing.
6. Practice gratitude
My favorite tip on how to learn to love yourself is with no doubt to practice gratitude. For so many women picking on ourselves comes naturally but building ourselves up doesn’t. Which is a shame.
That’s why practicing gratitude daily is so important.
By learning to be grateful for your body, your health, and your career, and reminding yourself of everything you have you change your whole mindset about your life. You learn to tune into positivity and abundance rather than lack and scarcity.
Which in turn sets you up for even greater things.
7. Practice mindfulness
Another very specific way to love yourself is to take time for yourself. Sometimes just sitting with yourself and listening to your thoughts can make a big difference. I personally enjoy journaling and do it religiously.
Practicing mindfulness will help you know and understand yourself better. And nothing says “I love you” more than being heard and seen by someone. Even if that someone is you.
8. Take breaks and accept help
One of the more recent lessons I learned is to ask for help.
Like many other women, I pride myself on being an independent/ go-getter type of woman. But that attitude comes with one major risk, overwhelm all the way to burn-out.
I had to accept that I need help and breaks sometimes and that there is no shame in that.
Loving yourself means respecting your limits and not overstretching your brain, your body, or your heart. By taking breaks and accepting help when offered, you give your mind a break and get to rejuvenate.
9. Move your body
Whenever people talk about wellness, they speak of mind, body, and soul for good reason.
No matter how much time and effort you invest into caring for your mind or soul, if the body that houses both of those isn’t well taken care of all your work is in vain.
Therefore you want to make sure that you stay healthy and active. Moving your body and making sure that it gets the exercise it needs is a natural boost of energy that leads to more joy and getting the best out of life.
10. Eat healthier
Of course, I can’t just mention exercise without talking about nutrition. Contrary to common belief nutrition is not about weight but health. Fueling your body with good foods allows you to work at maximum capacity.
And maintaining a healthy diet is a great form of self-love because you are treating yourself well.
How to learn to love yourself while in a relationship
Thankfully, now that we covered so many great ways to love yourself, this area should seem easy. But it’s not.
Because a lot of times when we get into a relationship we forget to love ourselves first. We are so eager to please the other person, that we forget about all these great tips I just shared.
But you can still make space for self-love even when in a relationship.
One thing I like to do is to have ME days. One day a week, where I cater to myself. I do self-care, say self-love affirmations, and make sure to build up my self-confidence. Loving yourself while in a relationship is best done by intentionally spending more time with yourself and appreciating yourself.