We hear it all the time – you must love yourself! If you don’t love yourself, no one else can really love you. The answer to all your woes is self-love. The love you seek outside of you, is the love you really need to give yourself.
You get the picture. And I agree with all of the above but, it used to leave me with one question…
What does it really mean to love myself?
The way I have come to understand self-love is that we treat ourselves the same way we would treat anyone we love.
Think about someone you love, like a small child. We LOVE their uniqueness and we see so much beauty in them. We see their heart and soul. We congratulate them when they do great things and we celebrate their existence. We are gentle when they get something wrong and help them in trying again. We look after their physical wellbeing. We love their quirks and we want them to be free. We hold them when they are sad. We cheer them on and support them. We tell them ‘great job!’ and ‘I love you!’.
Our thoughts, feelings and behaviours are ones of:
• Acceptance and positivity
• Support and appreciation
• Nurture and kindness
• Empathy and compassion
• A deep soul connection beyond the body and mind
All of which can be wrapped up in the word ‘love’.
Do you offer the same to yourself?
If you do – that’s great! But I think many of us don’t. We beat ourselves up and we put ourselves last, we are never quite good enough and we expect too much of ourselves. This is and much more, is the opposite of self-love.
We all know that love is a great feeling, a source of life. So to give it to ourselves can only be a good thing.
How can we be more self-loving? Become self-aware
Watch yourself. Notice your feelings, thoughts and behaviours towards yourself.
One of my favourite quotes is: ‘if you spoke to your friends the way you speak to yourself, would they still be your friends?’. In my case, I’d surely have no friends!
Are you aware of your negative self-talk? And how often do you congratulate yourself and let yourself receive praise? Do you accept yourself fully for who you are, or try to be something you are not?
Form new habits
When you spot yourself acting in an un-loving way to yourself, think about a person you love. In this same situation, how would you speak to them, how would you treat them? Now do this for yourself.
If you are feeling hurt and sad, instead of trying to ‘get over it’, be gentle and kind with yourself. When in pain, people are fragile and need care – that includes you.
How about a daily gratitude list of all the things you love about yourself? I challenged myself to write ten things a day. I thought I’d struggle to even get 20 but I ended up with over 100! Try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
How often do you connect with your beautiful soul? Truly loving someone is when you have that deep connection beyond mind and body. Cultivate that in yourself, get in touch with who you really are and I’m sure you will LOVE what you find.
These things may be hard at first, but they can become new habits of self-love especially when we pay attention to the results. Any positive change is reinforced by the positive results – you’ll feel better, more energetic, happy, worthy, alive and LOVED!
It takes time, but it’s worth it
In this journey of self-love we usually have a lot of old habits to break and that’s not easy. So be gentle with yourself but don’t stop. I for one have developed much more self-love towards myself and it’s amazing. I hope you can do the same.
About the author: Pinky Jangra
‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’
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