How to love yourself - 27 tips from a therapist

How to Love Yourself: 27 Self-Love tips from a Therapist

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Loving yourself is hard, but it’s something that everyone wants to do. 

We all know that loving ourselves is important, but how can we actually go about doing this? If you’re like most people, then you’ve probably struggled with self-love for a long time and have tried dozens of different ways to make yourself feel better.

The good news is that you can do some simple things every day to help build your sense of self-worth. This post provides 27 tips on how to love yourself written by a therapist who has helped many clients learn how to love themselves more deeply over the years.

27 Ways To Practice Self-Love

1.      Know yourself (beliefs and values) –  

What are your beliefs and values, and are you living them? Or are you holding yourself back because your life is being ruled by limiting beliefs that are causing you emotional pain? 

That’s the thing about limiting beliefs. You know they’re limiting when they make you miserable and cause emotional pain. 

2.      Give yourself permission to say “no” when you need to –

You can’t be all things to everyone without getting burned out. And typically, when people get burned out is when they start to feel bad about themselves. 

If you’re not in the habit of telling people “no” and need some pointers, here are some tips for you. 

But if you need to say “yes,” it is completely okay to put limits on your “yes.” For instance, “it’s okay for you to come over and hang out for an hour or two, but you’ll need to leave by 4 p.m.”  

3.      Don’t compare yourself to other people –

Because you are not them, and they are not you. 

I hear this all of the time “so and so has x, y, and z going for them.” And perhaps they do. But do you know what struggles, frustrations, or things they had to challenge or give up in order to get “x, y, and z”? Probably not. 

Do you know what story they are telling themselves? Because they can look like they have everything going for them on the outside and have a horrible internal dialogue and feel miserable on the inside. 

And if you don’t think this is true. Then pick up a tabloid the next time you’re standing in line and see what’s going on in the world of celebrities.       

How to practice self love when you don't know how - 27 tips from a therapist
How to practice self-love.

4.      Read a book –

It’s easy to convince ourselves that there aren’t any resources out there that can help. 

I am a huge fan of Brene’ Brown and have recommended her books to so many clients that struggle with low self-love, self-worth, and a high sense of shame. 

These books are definitely worth reading, and I have read them myself.  

Daring Greatly by Brene’ Brown [affiliate link]

Brene’ Brown argues that vulnerability is not weakness. But the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation, and creativity, and it’s those things that bring purpose and meaning to our lives. This is what she calls Wholehearted living. To dare greatly is to show up and let yourself be seen and know that you are enough.

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene’ Brown [affiliate link]

Is the ultimate guide about being okay with not being perfect. So you can choose to let go of your ‘fake life’ (you know the one I’m talking about), where you try to be perfect and act perfectly in your desperate attempt to avoid pain, blame, judgment, and shame. And learn the 10 guideposts to Wholehearted living moving you from trying to be perfect to finally feeling “I am enough,” no matter what happens today, “I am enough.”

I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene’ Brown [affilaite link]

Shame is something that we all experience and no one really wants to talk about. As a result, we sometimes pretend that it doesn’t lurk in the all too familiar places: body image, motherhood, money, work, mental and physical health, aging, sex, and religion. While we can never be resistant to shame, we can build resiliency to it, discover how to move through it in healthy ways, and grow from it to live our best authentic lives.

5.      Be present and practice mindfulness –

Our lives are full of distractions. And while it can be nice to have distractions, it can also hinder you from knowing yourself. 

Take a minute or as many minutes that you need and think about yourself, and look at the thoughts that come up. And just look at them. Don’t pass judgment on your thoughts as “good” or “bad,” but just notice them. 

Because this is the story that you are telling yourself about yourself. 

And now you have a choice. 

You can either continue with this story, or you can consciously change it. But know that whatever choice you make is yours alone, as are the consequences of that choice, whether they be good or bad.   

And if you feel overwhelmed about the idea of changing your story, make sure you scroll to the bottom and check out #27.     

6.      Know your strengths and use them –

We all have strengths. But sometimes, we get so overly focused on the areas that we are struggling in that we forget to acknowledge our strengths. 

So instead of focusing on the areas that you’re struggling in. Instead, focus on your strengths, identify your “weaknesses” or how I like to reframe them – your underdeveloped strengths. 

Because if you put in the time, effort, and dedication needed, you can turn any underdeveloped strength into an area of strength.  

7.      Journal –

There is something powerful about journaling. And there can be a therapeutic benefit to it as well. Because when you have thought-provoking prompts that actually challenge you, you can begin to challenge and change your story. 

If you’ve always wanted to get into journaling but just don’t know where to start, take a look at this Self-Love Journal [affiliate link] with 30 days of thought-provoking guided questions for emotional healing to help you feel good enough.   

8.      Give yourself a treat (just because) –

There is a difference between a treat and a reward. A treat is “just because,” whereas a reward is attached to a condition. 

So, give yourself a treat now and again. 

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy but give yourself something that makes you feel good about yourself. It could be a new lip color from Walmart or a nice smelling cologne that brings a smile to your face. 

9.      Get honest with yourself –

Stop minimizing your good qualities and magnifying your mistakes. 

Some of us are really good at self-deception and don’t even realize we’re doing it. And this is the danger of cognitive distortions. They cause you to lie to yourself, and over time you begin to believe them. 

If you’re interested in learning which cognitive distortions you engage in, take a look at the “Finding self-love through positive self-talk” series, where I cover 12 common cognitive distortions.      

10.  Let yourself off the hook –

You’re human, just like the rest of us. And if you’re like many, then you’re probably harder on yourself than anybody else. 

So embrace your humanness and know that mistakes are normal and part of the learning experience of life. 

If you’re interested in doing some real work around accepting yourself and loving yourself for who you are, messy stuff and all. Then I recommend “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene’ Brown [affiliate link].  

11.  Work on forgiving yourself for past mistakes –

It’s unfair to judge your past self with the knowledge you have today. 

So, make a commitment to yourself to not criticize or judge yourself harshly for past mistakes. But instead to view them from a learning perspective. You made some mistakes. What did you learn from them, and how can this knowledge help you moving forward?   

27 tips to find self-love that actually work
27 Tips to find self-love that actually works.

12.  Accept that not everyone is going to like you –

This comes as a shocker for a lot of people. We are not a one size fits all kind of thing. And that’s okay. Don’t waste your time trying to please people that are impossible to please. And don’t waste your time letting people that don’t matter too much – matter too much. 

There’s a lot of freedom in this once you embrace it. And you’ll be amazed at how easy self-love can be when your focus isn’t on everyone else. 

13. Remind yourself of your own worth –

We all engage in negative self-talk from time to time. A little cognitive distortion here and there typically is not an issue. But it does become an issue when we do it too often. 

And if you’re not sure what a cognitive distortion is, let alone what it looks like, I have an entire series dedicated to “Finding self-love through positive self-talk” that can help get you started.

But what if instead of using all the time, effort, and energy that you have been applying to cognitive distortions, you applied all of that to positive self-talk? How might that help with your own self-love?  

14.  Let yourself have fun –

And don’t skimp on this. Having fun is just as rejuvenating as getting adequate sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising. When you have fun, you feel good about yourself, and it puts you in a healthier mindset. 

Which means it’s also easier to love yourself in those moments. So be aware of your thoughts and feelings about yourself in those moments, so you know how to create more of those thoughts and feelings in your life.   

15.  Be grateful –

Practice gratitude. And don’t focus solely on what’s not going right. When you do this, you’re using a cognitive distortion called mental filtering

You’re consciously filtering out all of the good things in order to maintain a mindset of hopelessness. 

And again, this is the danger of cognitive distortions. Because when done over a period of time, you begin to believe that they are true. 

If challenging your cognitive distortions feels overwhelming, you’ll want to check out #27.  

16.  Write down what’s going right –

What better way to challenge cognitive distortions that keep you feeling hopeless. 

Then, to remind yourself of the things that are going right, give you hope, and remind you of your own self-worth. 

And if you’re struggling to come up with some things. Here are a few to get you started:

1.      You’re 6 feet above the ground

2.      You’re drawing air in your lungs. 

3.      You can read this – which means that you’re not illiterate

4.      You have some form of internet access

5.      And a form of technology to read this on. 

17.  Be willing to feel your feelings –

But know they are not facts and are simply there to inform you. 

So, if you feel like you need to cry something out, then use that information and decide whether to cry it out or not. 

And if your feelings are telling you to isolate and withdraw from connection. Then do the opposite and reach out for support. 

I know that sounds counterintuitive. 

But again, feelings are not facts.

They are there to inform. 

And if you’re creating a story about isolating and withdrawing, then you’re going to have feelings that will encourage you to isolate and withdraw. And again, that’s when you need to reach out for connection. You’ll feel a lot better for it.  

*** If you struggle with vulnerability and shame then here’s a book for you [affiliate link] that you need to read.    

18.  Carve out time for exercise and take care of your body –

Give yourself the gift of good physical health. 

We all know what the research says about exercising a few days out of the week. 

Regular exercise improves mood, sleep, helps manage other health conditions, and can help put the spark back into your sex life. And let’s face it. How you feel about your physical body and your sex life impacts how you feel about yourself.  

27 ways to love yourself more and improve your wellbeing.
27 ways to love yourself more and improve your wellbeing.

19.  Pursue a hobby or passion –

We all have things that we want to accomplish or do that help us feel good about ourselves. So I’m here to say pursue them. 

This blog is a passion of mine. It allows me to share my knowledge and maybe help someone else. 

We all need to have things in our life that make us feel good about ourselves. So take some time, brainstorm things that make you feel good about yourself, and then figure out which ones you want to pursue.   

20.  Set boundaries –

You’re allowed to set boundaries and stick to them. This is a form of assertiveness because you don’t owe other people explanations or justifications for your boundaries. 

Loving yourself is about knowing your boundaries, what they mean to you, and communicating them to others. Boundaries essentially teach others how to treat you. 

If you need more information on boundaries, take a look at my people pleaser’s guide to setting boundaries.

21.  Write yourself a thank you letter –    

When’s the last time you thanked yourself for everything you do? 

If you have been on this planet for any length of time, you have probably gotten yourself through some stuff. And perhaps, in hindsight, you could have done things differently. But cut yourself some slack. You didn’t have the knowledge that you do now back then. 

So, take some time and write yourself a thank you letter for having stuck with yourself through whatever you have experienced.

And maybe a letter of appreciation for sticking with yourself through the things that have not happened yet. Because out of all the people on this planet, you are the only one you can count on, and that is worth appreciating.     

22.  Ask for what you need when you need it –

Asking for help is sometimes the bravest and kindest thing we can do for ourselves. And it comes from a place of strength. It’s not weak. It makes us human because we all need help sometimes.  

So, if you need help, reach out to your supports. Or scroll down to #27. 

27 ways to love yourself more when you don't know where to start.
27 ways to love yourself more when you don’t know where to start.

23.  Speak to yourself with kindness –

Speak to yourself as if you are truly your own best friend. Don’t cut yourself down, yell at yourself, or criticize yourself. 

If you would never say these things to a person you love, don’t say them to yourself. It’s really that simple.  

24.  Practice emotional first aid –

It’s similar to physical first aid. For example, most people when they get a cut, most people wash the cut and apply Neosporin and a bandage. However, most people won’t grab a knife and see how much deeper they can make the cut. 

The same first aid needs to be applied to emotional wounds. 

When you’re hurting emotionally, apply kindness (Neosporin) and compassion (bandage) to the wound. Don’t sit there and pick at it to see how much more you can make your emotional wound bleed. 

25.  Surround yourself with good people –

Who you spend your time with reflects how you feel about yourself. People with good self-worth tend to surround themselves with others that also have good self-worth. 

The same is true with kindness and respect. We tend to surround ourselves with others that practice kindness and respect. 

And if you’re surrounding yourself with toxic people that are abusive and unkind, then it may be time to evaluate whether or not those relationships are hindering you from loving yourself. 

26.  Give yourself some downtime –

If you are constantly going, go, go. Odds are you’re not just physically exhausted, but also mentally and emotionally exhausted. And when you’re exhausted like this, then things tend to look bleak. 

Give yourself some downtime and let yourself recharge, and you may be amazed at how this can shift how you see yourself and your world. 

How to love yourself - 27 self-love tips from a therapist
How to love yourself – 27 self-love tips from a therapist.

27.    Schedule a therapy session –

Taking care of your mental health is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself. 

And a therapist can help you identify areas of your mental health that you would like to improve upon. And also, the strategies that are needed for you to see those improvements.  

Final Thoughts

It isn’t easy to know how much you should love yourself. The truth is that everyone wants to feel self-love, but it can be hard for some people (especially those with low self-esteem) when they don’t know where to start.

That’s why I want you to take a moment today—before the day gets away from you or before your anxiety kicks in—to figure out what will make YOU happy starting now!

And then do something about it. 

I hope these 27 tips have been helpful in your journey to love yourself more deeply.

Learning how to love ourselves is tough, but it’s something everyone wants – so don’t give up!

Works Cited:

CourageousandMindful.com is committed to using credible sources of information to support the articles that are published on this site. These sources may include government reports, academic research papers, and articles written by peers in good standing.

  1. Mayo Clinic: 7 Benefits of Regualr Physical Activity (May, 2019). Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389

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