Well meaning people spout the advice that you have to love yourself before you can love someone else.
Yes… Great… We all KNOW that intellectually. Being told that really doesn’t help much. In fact it can be annoying, depressing, frustrating or even infuriating.
We WANT to love ourselves. BUT HOW????!!!!
If you don’t love yourself, it’s because you don’t know HOW to love yourself. You probably know you’d be better off if you did, but knowing that doesn’t help you do it.
So there’s a hurdle. You know you need to love yourself first, but you don’t know how to love yourself.
This is the missing piece of the puzzle. Self love is something you need to learn and practice.
Some people were taught how to give and receive love as they were growing up. Unfortunately, we weren’t all so lucky.
You can, however, learn to love yourself as an adult. You can fill in the gaps of your childhood, and learn the loving skills you missed out on.
Scroll down for a list of 50 ways to love yourself.
How do you love yourself?
If you aren’t loving yourself it’s probably because you weren’t exposed to good role models of love when you were younger.
You haven’t learned the SKILLS involved in giving and receiving love. It’s not too late. You can learn them now.
You may have been loved in certain ways in your childhood. But there were other ways where it didn’t happen.
Even if your parents always put a roof over your head, it doesn’t mean they were there for you on an emotional level. They may have cared for you very much and been well meaning. But, if they also didn’t know the skills of giving and receiving love, they couldn’t pass on to you what they didn’t know.
Self love takes practice
Self love takes PRACTICE. It’s a set of habits, thoughts and behaviors that you can adopt at any time.
Often it’s the same ways you could show love to another person, but directed to yourself.
It can help to think about how you’d like someone else to love you. Then DO THAT FOR YOURSELF.
The most liberating knowledge when it comes to love is that you don’t have to wait for others to give it to you.
Do you want attention? Give it to yourself.
Do you like flowers and chocolates? Give yourself some.
Do you like to be picked up when you’re feeling down? Give yourself kind words and encouragement.
You’ll discover that so many of the ways you’ve been wanting others to show love to you, you can actually do for yourself.
The more you can show love to yourself… the more you can fill your own cup… the more you are able to show love for others, because you’ve PRACTICED giving love to yourself. You’ll have more “love tools” in your belt. You can use this to boost up yourself, to give to others, and indirectly you’ll teach others around you (especially your children) how to love themselves too.
Here’s a list of ways you can love yourself. Come back to the list often and pick new ones to try. Add more and more to your daily habits, and over time it will build up.
50 ways to love yourself
- Train your self talk to be loving and kind. This is something you may need to work on over time. The voice in your head might not be loving and kind now, but it can be changed.
- Check in with yourself throughout the day… ask yourself how you’re feeling… name the feeling and give yourself compassion for how you are in that moment.
- Buy yourself a small treat to play with how you look – such as a new lipstick, nail-polish or hair dye.
- Give yourself a pep talk.
- Choose to wear clothes that make you ‘feel like you’ or cheer you up or express your personality.
- Celebrate your successes.
- Give yourself permission to do things just because they make you feel good.
- Take time out to watch the sunset.
- Give yourself a term of endearment and use it in your self talk. Sweetie, beautiful, my love, sugar, darling…
- Breathe deeply.
- Recognize your efforts.
- Acknowledge your good intentions.
- Forgive yourself quickly and readily.
- Pay attention to yourself: your moods, your emotions, your wants, desires and preferences. Attention feels good… and you don’t have to wait for others to give it to you.
- Allow yourself to be imperfect.
- Try Louise Hay’s mirror work. Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself “I love you”. Some people find this confronting and difficult to start with. It might be something you have to come back to over weeks or months. Keep practicing until it’s genuine and natural. For more detail, you can get Louise Hay’s book on Mirror Work from Amazon.
- Book in for a massage.
- Have a hobby you enjoy. If you don’t have one, try some new things out.
- Frequently take mini breaks of 30sec to 3 min to relax and breathe deeply.
- Talk to yourself kindly.
- Feed yourself healthy food.
- Find ways to make healthy food enjoyable for you.
- Find ways to make exercise enjoyable for you.
- Kiss yourself on the hand (maybe not in public…. but it’s surprisingly soothing… try it)
- Gently trace your fingers over your skin in a pleasurable way and take time out to enjoy the sensation.
- Celebrate yourself for being or doing “good enough” instead of requiring perfection.
- Look out for things you like about yourself and take the time to say something nice to yourself in your self-talk.
- Give yourself a foot massage.
- Do your favorite activity.
- Ask for help.
- Say no to things that would impose on you and aren’t in your interest.
- Realize you don’t have to wait to be better to be worthy of love.
- Give yourself compassion for not automatically loving yourself.
- Look into your eyes in the mirror. Deeply. Really see yourself and acknowledge what you are feeling. Say to yourself “you look sad/happy/tired/lonely/*emotion*”. This can really help you to feel seen and understood, even when it’s yourself doing it.
- Look at yourself in the mirror and smile. Give yourself a pep talk like “Good morning, darling! You look beautiful this morning. Good on you for getting that load of washing on already. Great start to the day. Keep it up!”
- Change your mood with smell. You could try cooking a favorite food so the smell fills the house. Or, if you’d prefer an easier, or non-food, option, use an essential oil.
- Go for a gentle walk.
- Take 2 minutes (or however long you can spare) to stretch your body in ways that feel good.
- Make a “to do list” of easy tasks and tick them off as you do them. This releases dopamine in your brain and you feel good about accomplishing things. Don’t just wait for major accomplishments to feel good!
- Clean your car.
- Declutter the place you spend the most time.
- Outsource tasks you don’t like doing or someone else could do more effectively.
- Say thank you to your past self for doing something that makes your present moment better. (eg. “Thanks past me for planning ahead to cook this extra meal yesterday so now I can relax a bit more today! I appreciate it.”)
- Find the humor in your mistakes (perhaps AFTER giving yourself compassion as you need it.)
- Decorate your space with a picture, art, a plant or something else that makes you smile or feel good.
- Get rid of the old clothes you don’t really like but are holding onto just because you own them.
- Give yourself a compliment.
- When you make a mistake, treat yourself compassionately, AND think of strategies to support yourself from making similar mistakes again. Help yourself to accept mistakes as part of life and use them to learn from.
- Be honest about how you really feel, and what you really want.
- Lift yourself up with fresh flowers from the garden. Or buy yourself a bouquet. (Click here to get flowers delivered from Amazon).
There are many more ways to practice self love… and each of the points above can be discussed in more detail… So stay tuned for more articles coming soon on how to love yourself.