Love yourself as you are

How to Love Yourself: 22 Simple Ideas

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People-pleasing is a losing battle. When you focus on self-love and self-compassion rather than trying to get others to love you, you build your self-esteem and break codependent patterns so you can form healthier, happier relationships—with yourself and others.

Loving yourself can be one of the hardest, yet most important things you’ll ever do.

What does it mean to love yourself? And how do you actually love yourself?

For various reasons, many of us find it easier to love others than to love ourselves. Sometimes we’re truly quite awful to ourselves. We subject ourselves to a harsh inner critic, unhealthy relationships, toxic substances, and self-mutilation. I know how easy it is to dwell on your own perceived inadequacies.

But regardless of the reasons for your lack of self-love, it’s time to start caring for yourself and treating yourself with the same love that you give to others.

Loving yourself isn’t selfish, as many fear. Not only does it improve your relationship with yourself, but it shows others how to love you.

You are the one person that you’ll always be with. So, it’s important that you enjoy your own company, can trust yourself, and recognize your good qualities.

Your relationship with yourself is the most important and longest relationship you’ll ever have. It’s worth spending the time and effort to develop a more loving relationship with yourself.

Below, is my list of 22 ways to love yourself. Many are simple and straight-forward. Some are harder. You don’t have to use all of these ideas, but you’ll find many overlap and work nicely together.

22 Ways to love yourself

1. Know yourself. It’s impossible to love yourself if you don’t even know who you are. Invest in discovering what you believe, value, and like.

Read more about getting to know yourself: 26 Questions to Help You Know Yourself Better.

2. Say “no” when you need to. Boundaries are an essential form of self-care because they let others know that you deserve and expect respect.

Read more about setting boundaries: 10 Tips for Healthy Boundaries.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others. Others aren’t better or worse, more or less than you; They’re just different. You have value just as you are and accepting yourself means there’s no need for comparisons.

Read more about avoiding comparisons: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others: 3 Tips for Letting Go.

4. Be truly present. Our lives are full of distractions. Many of these things are fun and worthwhile, but they can be draining and keep us from truly knowing and being ourselves.

Read more about mindfulness: Mindfulness: A Tool for Self-Acceptance.

5. Know and use your strengths. We all have tremendous gifts, but many of them go unnoticed. When you’re busy and distracted it’s hard to access these great qualities. Focusing on your strengths will increase your positive feelings for yourself.

6. Give yourself a treat. A treat is something special that you just give yourself. Unlike a reward, it doesn’t have to be earned. Be good to yourself by giving yourself treats “just because”.

7. Be honest with yourself. This one can be harder than it seems. Some of us as so good at self-deception that we don’t even know we’re doing it. Honesty is key in all relationships and your relationship with yourself is no different.

Clearly, you can’t love your entire messy self if you’re lying, minimizing, or making excuses. True self-love means taking responsibility and accountability.

Read more: Learning to Trust Yourself Again.

8. Let yourself off the hook for your mistakes and imperfections. You’re hard on yourself. You’re probably harder on yourself than anybody else. Cut yourself some slack and embrace your humanness. Mistakes are normal. Imperfections are part of what makes you, you.

Read more: Seeking Self-Forgiveness.

9. Work on forgiving yourself for the bigger stuff. Sometimes we’re holding onto bigger regrets or transgressions. Self-forgiveness is a process of bit by bit believing you truly did the best you could.

Today you could do better, of course. Hindsight really is 20/20, which is why it’s completely unfair to judge your past self with the knowledge you have now. Remember: “When we know better we do better”.

10. Accept that some people won’t like you. That’s right, some people don’t like you and that’s O.K. Don’t waste your time trying to please people who are impossible to please or people who just aren’t that important to you.

Being yourself means you have to give up your people-pleasing ways and embrace your authentic self.

Read more about people-pleasing: The Problem with People-Pleasing.

11. Make fun a priority. Put something fun on your agenda every week. Don’t neglect it or cancel because you have too much work to do or your kiddo needs help with his history report. Just like rest, we all need fun in order to feel good. Don’t skimp on this important need.

Read more: Discover What’s Fun for You (and Why It Matters).

12. Practice gratitude. Gratitude is one of the simplest ways to focus on the good in yourself and in your life. Try identifying 3 things you’re grateful for when you wake up every morning.

You can try using these gratitude journal prompts to get started.

13. Write down your successes. I love this self-love activity because it creates a record of your accomplishments (big and small) that you can re-read whenever you’re feeling low. Add to it and read your list on a daily basis for maximum benefit.

14. Feel your feelings. Our feelings are an integral part of who we are. You can’t be an authentic person without acknowledging and feeling all of your feelings.

Don’t shy away from uncomfortable feelings like anger and sadness. If you deny them, you deny a part of yourself. Allow yourself to express them in a healthy, respectful way.

Read more about feeling your feelings or watch the short video below.

15. Take good care of your body. Good health is truly priceless. Give yourself the gift of feeling physically well – exercise regularly, eat healthfully, drink water, get 7-8 hours of sleep most nights, and limit alcohol or other drugs.

16. Pursue a hobby. Hobbies can be fun, relaxing, challenging, creative, athletic, social, or educational. As you can see, different hobbies meet different needs for us. Find something that meets your needs.

17. Stand up for yourself. Like boundaries, being assertive is a way of showing others that your opinions and needs matter. Loving yourself means you know your value and can communicate it to others.

18. Write yourself a love letter. I know this is a hard assignment, but it really challenges you to identify the things you like about yourself.

19. Ask for help when you need it. Another part of taking care of yourself is recognizing when you need help. Help isn’t weak. It’s human. We all need help at times.

20. Speak kindly to yourself. Talk to yourself like you’d talk to a loved one. Don’t cut yourself down, call yourself names, or criticize yourself.

Read more about being kinder to yourself in this article: Stop Blaming Yourself for Everything.

21. Surround yourself with people who treat you with kindness and respect. Who you spend time with reflects how you feel about yourself. People who feel worthy surround themselves with positive people. Sometimes loving yourself means you have to end relationships with abusive or unkind people.

22. Allow yourself some downtime. Are you busy, busy, busy? It’s time to slow down and allow your body and mind to rest. You don’t have to do it all. Prioritize what matters most and let go of any guilt you might have about saying no. Rest is rejuvenating and a basic form of self-care.

To learn more, read my tips for people who struggle to prioritize self-care.

Which of these ideas will you try? I recommend starting with the activities that seem easiest to you. (It’s important to set yourself up for success when you start something new.)

Practice one or two self-love activities for a week or two and then try one of the more challenging ways to yourself. You can build your repertoire of self-love activities over time.

And as you practice and build them into your routine, they will feel more natural and won’t take as much thought or effort.

Graphics and article ©2018 Sharon Martin, LCSW. All rights reserved.

Read More About Self-Love

  • 18 Quotes to Inspire Self-Love
  • Learning to Love Yourself
  • Self-Abandonment: What It Is and How to Stop
  • CBT Workbook for Perfectionism

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The Self-Love Guided Journal

I created the Self-Love Guided Journal to help you rediscover who you are, accept yourself – imperfections and all, and learn to treat yourself with kindness. It includes reflective questions, journal prompts, inspirational quotes, and a healing meditation to help you develop positive thoughts and feelings about yourself. Find out more by clicking HERE.

Sharon Martin

Sharon Martin is a psychotherapist, writer, speaker, and media contributor on emotional health and relationships. She specializes in helping people uncover their inherent worth and learn to accept themselves -- imperfections and all! Sharon writes a popular blog called Conquering Codependency for Psychology Today and is the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism: Evidence-Based Skills to Help You Let Go of Self-Criticism, Build Self-Esteem, and Find Balance and The Better Boundaries Workbook.

13 Habits of Self-Love Every Woman Should Adopt

By Alison Rachel Stewart — Fact checked by Steven O'Brien — Updated on September 18, 2018

Last year was a difficult one for me. I was really struggling with my mental health and was suffering from depression and anxiety. Looking around at other beautiful, successful women, I wondered: How do they do it? How do they manage to feel so good?

I wanted to find out, and I wanted to share with other women who, like me, wanted to feel happy — wanted to feel well. Tapping into my creative energy, I set out to compile a resource anyone could use. I asked women I knew: What are your mantras and habits of self-care?

What they told me was both revolutionary and a total no-brainer at the same time. If I can practice them, I know you can, too. Here are 13 recipes for self-love that are simple in practice and multifaceted in their benefits.

We’re socialised to be competitive, so comparing ourselves to others is natural. But it can be dangerous. There’s just no point in comparing yourself to anyone else on the planet because there’s only one you. Rather, focus on yourself and your journey. The shift of energy, alone, will help you feel free.

In that same vein, don’t worry about what society thinks or expects of you. You can’t make everyone happy, so this is a waste of time and will only slow you down on your journey to being the best you.

We’re told again and again from a young age “nobody’s perfect, everyone makes mistakes.” But the older you get, the more pressure you feel never to fail. Cut yourself some slack! Make mistakes so you can learn and grow from them. Embrace your past. You’re constantly changing and growing from who you once were into who you are today and who you will be one day.

So, forget about that voice in your head that says you need to be perfect. Make mistakes — lots of them! The lessons you’ll gain are priceless.

This is fundamental! So many things in the world want to distract you from this powerful truth. Sometimes even your own internalized sexism affirms your thoughts of inadequacy. You are valuable because you are you, not because of your body.

So, wear what makes you feel good. If it’s a lot or if it’s a little, wear what makes you feel confident, comfortable, and happy.

Not everybody takes responsibility for the energy they put out into the world. If there’s someone who is bringing toxicity into your life and they won’t take responsibility for it, that might mean you need to step away from them. Don’t be afraid to do this. It’s liberating and important, even though it may be painful.

Remember: Protect your energy. It’s not rude or wrong to remove yourself from situations or the company of people who are draining you.

Like erring, feeling afraid is natural and human. Don’t reject your fears — understand them. This healthy exercise can really help with your mental health. Interrogating and evaluating your fears helps you to gain clarity and unmask issues in your life that were causing you anxiety. That, in turn, can help alleviate some — if not all — of your anxiety.

We so often doubt ourselves and our ability to do what’s right, when most of the time we do know in our hearts what’s best. Remember that your feelings are valid. You’re not losing touch with reality. You know yourself better than anyone else, so be your best advocate.

The timing is never going to be perfect for that next big step in your life. The set up may not be ideal, but that shouldn’t hold you back from reaching to meet your goals and dreams. Instead, seize the moment because it may never come back.

Don’t feel bad about doing this. Women, especially, can grow accustomed to putting others first. Although there’s a time and a place for this, it shouldn’t’ be a habit that costs you your mental or emotional well-being.

Find the time to decompress. Without decompressing and recharging you can put serious strain on yourself. Whether it’s spending the day in bed or outdoors in nature, find what helps you decompress and dedicate time to this.

Allow yourself to feel things fully. Lean into pain, revel in your joy, and don’t put limitations on your feelings. Like fear, pain and joy are emotions that will help you understand yourself and ultimately realize that you are not your feelings.

Get into the habit of speaking your mind. Boldness is like a muscle — it grows the more you exercise it. Don’t wait for permission to take a seat at the table. Join the conversation. Contribute your thoughts. Take action, and know that your voice is just as important as anyone else’s.

Try to notice at least one beautiful, small thing around you every single day. Make note of it, and be grateful for it. Gratitude not only gives you perspective, it’s essential to help you find joy.

The world is full of harsh words and critique — don’t add yours to the mix. Speak kindly to yourself, and don’t call yourself mean things. Celebrate yourself. You’ve come so far and grown so much. Don’t forget to celebrate yourself, and not only on your birthday!

Even if you don’t feel particularly powerful, think about how far you’ve come, how you’ve survived. You’re here, right now, alive and powerful beyond your knowledge. And be patient with yourself. Self-love may not happen overnight. But with time, it will settle itself into your heart.

Yes, you may struggle, but you’ll look back on these moments and see how they were stepping stones on your journey to being the best you.

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Alison Rachel Stewart is an artist and the creator of Recipes For Self-Love, a collaborative initiative that celebrates habits, practices, and meditations for self-care and wellness. When she’s not creating personalized items for her Etsy store, you can find Alison writing songs with her band, creating illustrations, or exercising her creative energy into a new project. Follow her on Instagram.

8 reasons to love yourself just the way you are

In this world it's hard to love yourself the way you are. Society constantly says that we are not good enough and the only chance to become "like" is to be like everyone else. Society is deeply mistaken. Not loving who you are is sometimes the biggest challenge to take on. And sometimes it's harder than we think.

First, you need to forget what society dictates to you. Second, you need to create a list of reasons why you should love yourself. To get you started, here are the top 8 reasons to love yourself for who you are. nine0005

1. You are beautiful

It doesn't matter what body you have, what personality you are, or what eyes you have. You're beautiful. Because you are human. And every person on this planet is a beautiful creature. Look in the mirror. Yes, right now. You can't even imagine that the creature in the mirror is ugly. Because it is beautiful and it is a good reason to love yourself.

2. Self-love is very important

The ability to love yourself is very important in everyday life. And loving who you are is the first step. If you don't love yourself, how can you love something or someone else? Often we forget to show this love to ourselves. But the truth is that we must show love for ourselves in order to be loved by others. Therefore, do not criticize yourself, hug the one who needs it the most. In this case, it's you! nine0005

3. You have only you

Unless you have an evil counterpart in a parallel universe, then you have only you. If after this point you still feel lonely, then remember that everyone in this world is the only one. We are unique and special in our own way and that will never change, which is good! Being the only you is a great advantage! There is no one like you in this vast world! You are one of a kind, and it is worth appreciating.

4. Love for others begins with oneself

If you don't love yourself just the way you are, why should anyone else on earth love you? To accept love from others, you need to understand how important and special you are. The manifestation of self-love is something that is especially attractive and empowering. Others will think, “Wow! That's who really loves himself! Okay, maybe they don't exactly think so, but they will definitely get this message. People like those who love themselves! And you will feel like a truly happy woman. nine0005

5. Confidence is the key to everything

Loving yourself is a wonderful helper of confidence. Confidence that you are irresistible will help to be irresistible in everything! If you are confident in yourself, then confidence in everything will follow you!

Read also on — 7 Effective Ways to Increase Self-Esteem

6. Other people love you

Why not love yourself the way other people love you? Just like other people say that you are irresistible, try saying the same thing to yourself in the mirror! Every day when I get out of bed, I tell myself in the mirror how beautiful I am, even if I don't get enough sleep! It really inspires and gives a charge for the whole day! nine0005

7. Help stop self-humiliation

Mentally humiliating yourself is what most people suffer from. This is bad for a happy life! It's much easier to love yourself without having a voice in your head that keeps saying you're not good enough! Try it - it will change your world!


You're not perfect

Let's face it, we're all not perfect. Nobody's perfect! And it definitely needs to be celebrated! No matter how hard you try, you won't be perfect. And that is great! Imperfection is beauty in its purest form. Why change it? Therefore, love yourself and every flaw in yourself! nine0005

Loving yourself seems so difficult, but when you realize how beautiful you are, it becomes easy! But remember that to love yourself means to love your whole self: mind, body and personality. We hope that these tips will help you with this! Do you have more reasons to love yourself? Can you share?

Photo: CGehlen


Poem “ACCEPT YOURSELF AS YOU ARE. OSHO”, poet Vyacheslav Polezhaev


A person who loves himself takes the first step towards true love. It's like throwing a pebble into a quiet pool. Circles will begin to diverge from the place where the stone fell. If you stop the circles that appear next to the pebble, there will be no other circles. Then it is impossible to create circles that reach far shores.

To understand and love oneself is the first step of love and its first experience. A person who loves himself respects himself. This means that he loves and respects others, because he knows that others are the same as me. nine0005

LOVE yourself and OBSERVE yourself. Only by observing yourself can you know yourself. This is meditation, enjoying your own loneliness. Only a person who loves himself can meditate. If you hate yourself, you run from yourself, you are afraid to enter your own darkness.

Watch yourself. Bathe in your own light. May this light dispel the inner darkness, the inner weakness. May it make you great energy, great strength.

Surround yourself with the energy of love. Love the body, love the mind, love your whole mechanism, your whole organism. nine0005

DON'T TRY TO SUPPRESS. We suppress something only when we hate it, when we are against it. Don't repress, because by repressing you cannot observe. If you don't love yourself, you won't be able to look into your own eyes, you won't be able to see your face, you won't be able to look into your own reality.

Love yourself, man!

Take a step towards real Love!

You will stay with her forever!

From now until the evening dawn!

Throwing a pebble into the water

You will raise circles on the surface.

They will disperse - how not to know! -

To the shores of boundless Love!

If all circles stop,

You can't raise others!

Do not reach the shores of that Love!

Without knowing Love you will perish in summer...

And to understand, to love your Self -

The first step towards that Love, the first experience! nine0005

A person who loves himself

Respect others too!

Because all people are like me!

And I won't meet others!

And understand: respecting yourself,

I will not forget to respect others!

Love yourself, watch!

Watching yourself, you will understand everything yourself!

While meditating, accept everything!

Loneliness will be great!

If you hate yourself -

You are running from yourself! You are afraid,

That suddenly you will not be in the darkness!

That you will dissolve in your darkness!

Watching yourself, you will understand

That you bring your Light to the Planet!

And then you won't get away from yourself!

Let your Light dispel the darkness throughout the world!

Surround yourself with the energy of Love.

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