Self-love is so important. I’m sure we can all agree on that! All the best things grow from self-love. And if you want to do anything for yourself and your health, self-love will always be my first suggestion.
But that doesn’t mean that self-love is a simple thing. In fact, practicing self-love can sometimes be a bit complicated (for everyone).
Whether you’re just starting out on your self-love journey or you’re a self-love superstar, it’s totally normal to struggle. Self-love isn’t easy.
So how can you prepare for the hurdles that come with practicing self-love?
Here are 3 important things that you should know… Let’s dive in!
Why Practicing Self-Love Matters
The Beatles might have been on to something when they first wrote the lyrics to “All you Need is Love.” And it’s even better if there’s a ton of self-love in there. I’ve said this many times but I’m always happy to repeat it: self-love is the true foundation of a healthy lifestyle.
Practicing self-love is more powerful than focusing on creating a killer exercise routine or discovering your ultimate healthy diet. When you love yourself irrevocably, fiercely and wholeheartedly you become inspired to take care of your wonderful self. You have your own back. And you make choices that benefit your own unique needs (including any healthy lifestyle changes you might be interested in.)
A focus on self-love creates a strong foundation. And that’s the best foundation on which to create your healthy lifestyle. Otherwise things kind of fall apart after a while (and really aren’t overly fulfilling).
Plus there are some serious health benefits to be had:
- Makes us better able to cope with stress and negative emotions
- Benefits our immune health
- Supports our cardiovascular health
- Reduces health-related anxiety in chronic illness warriors (woohoo!)
- Helps us keep our own best interest at heart
Related: 8 Ways to Love Yourself Fiercely (Your Health Will Thank You)
That’s a whole lot of awesome right there. Ready to get your self-love on?
I feel ya! Practicing self-love is marvelous. But as you begin (or continue) your self-love journey there are a few things that you should know…
3 Things You Need to Know About Practicing Self-Love
1. Practicing Self-Love Isn’t Always Easy
Loving yourself can be hard! And if you’re feeling that way you aren’t alone. It’s totally normal to struggle sometimes.
We aren’t exactly taught how to love and value ourselves. The typical message we receive (at least in my experience) is that being selfish is wrong and we should always put others before ourselves.
And hey – knowing how and when to be selfless is magnificent. Being kind to your fellow man and putting goodness out there is not only admirable, it’s necessary. But that doesn’t mean that self-love can’t play a role in that equation.
If anything, practicing self-love makes us better able to be present for others. It helps to prevent us from feeling stressed, drained or burnt out. Which means that we have a lot more goodness left to spread around. Everyone benefits!
And yet it’s still really hard sometimes to love and accept yourself wholeheartedly.
Firstly because practicing self-love is a commitment. Just like any loving relationship. And that means that it’s absolutely normal to have good days and bad days.
Sometimes you’re going to feel super awesome and love yourself wholeheartedly. Other times your inner mean girl might talk a bit louder than usual, leaving you feeling less than fantastic. But what’s important is that you know that that’s normal. And that you continue to work on practicing self-love, even through the difficult times.
It’s imperative that we recognize that self-love is a continuous journey, not a destination. The most important thing is that you make a choice to work on loving and accepting yourself, as you are. Once you’ve made the commitment to love yourself everything else can start to fall into place.
But there’s another big reason why practicing self-love can be so hard:
You see, practicing self-love means that we work on accepting ourselves as we are. Right now. And I’m talking all of the bits and pieces that come together to make us who we are. The good stuff and the bad stuff. But it can be really difficult to love both our strengths and our weaknesses.
I’ve personally struggled with this one.
When I first set out to create a healthy lifestyle my goal was to reclaim my health. I became good friends with what I once called “rabbit food” (basically most vegetables), completely revamping the way I fed myself. I developed a killer self-care routine. And I worked on things like mindfulness and gratitude. I thought I was headed in the right direction.
But underneath it all I felt broken.
You see, I have an incurable autoimmune disease. And I wanted so desperately to be cured. The driving force behind my actions was this idea that I needed to beat my disease and return to the life I had before.
I had this vision of a mythical better version of myself. One that was whole, healthy and disease free. She was the person who deserved to be loved wholeheartedly. And she was the person that I was striving to become.
And so my self-love practice included loving only the parts of myself that weren’t sick. The very idea that I should love my illness sounded preposterous. How could I ever love a part of me that had caused me so much pain?
When I hit remission for the first time I thought that I was in the clear, no longer unwell. And finally worthy of being loved wholeheartedly.
Boy oh boy did that backfire…
Spoiler alert – my remission didn’t last. I relapsed almost a year later.
(Psst. That’s little ‘ol me, doing a bit of soul searching by the sea shortly after my second relapse. Thankfully we’re on remission take 3 right now and doing well ^^)
I. Was. Devastated.
And not just because I had to once again navigate through a plethora of uncomfortable symptoms. The anguish I felt came with the crushing realization that I really couldn’t defeat this disease. This was something I would have for the rest of my life. And I needed to accept that.
It took a lot of time and effort and a huge shift in my way of thinking. But I realized that I had to learn to love myself, Graves Disease and all.
That doesn’t mean that I see this illness as a gift or that I would wish it upon anyone else. It simply means that I accept it as part of my journey. That I am willing to listen to my body, be extra gentle with myself and respond to my own unique needs. I’ve realized that I am still whole and worthy of love. And I choose to look for the silver lining and make the best of this experience.
Related: Celebrating 5 Years with Graves Disease and Tips to Build Your Best Life
We should never deny ourselves the ability to love ourselves wholeheartedly…
Do not deny yourself love and acceptance until you meet certain standards. Whether it be hitting remission, getting a promotion, gaining a six pack or anything else. If you decide that you will not be happy with yourself until you achieve something specific you will continue to be unhappy (even if you do attain those goals).
That choice to put off our own self-acceptance until we fit into certain ideals traps us in a cycle of unhappiness. There will always be something else to strive for and we will always have flaws. But even so we are always worthy of love.
With that in mind, it still won’t always be easy. But making a choice to work on loving and accepting yourself today, as you are, is the right step. Once you’ve made the commitment to love and accept yourself fully things start to fall into place. And the difficult times are easier, because they’re met with love.
Maybe that sounds too good to be true, but Clinical Psychologist Deborah Khoshaba, Psy.D. is on our side:
“When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.” (source)
Making the choice to love and accept yourself as you are is the first step. It might not be easy, but you can totally do this!
2. Loving Yourself Wholeheartedly Doesn’t Mean You Settle
Practicing self-love works best when you strive to accept yourself as you are right now. But that doesn’t mean that you need to throw self-improvement out the window.
Accepting your beautiful self, flaws and all, doesn’t require that you become complacent, give up on your ambitions or permanently settle in to exactly where you are in your life at this moment. There is nothing wrong with having dreams, ambitions and goals.
Related: 5 Goal Setting Tips That Will Help You Achieve Your Dreams In A Healthy Way
We all want and deserve to grow and learn. But we can’t hold our self-love for ransom until we blossom into some mythical better version of ourselves.
You are already full of goodness. And when you realize that and you start to honour what an incredible person you already are, things change. Because any change that you strive for is no longer about fixing a broken and valueless self, it’s about acknowledging that you’re already bursting with goodness and you’re just looking to create more.
Life is tough. You are worthy of your own love. And you deserve to have your own back. No matter where you are in your journey.
3. It’s Ok to Ask for Help
While it may seem a little strange to ask for help practicing self-love (I mean, the whole “self” part kind of makes it seem like a solo activity), it’s totally ok to seek guidance if you’re feeling lost.
There are people in your life who love you wholeheartedly, as you are right now, flaws and all.
And since our goal is to learn to feel the same way about ourselves, seeking their guidance, advice and insight isn’t such a bad idea.
Humans are social creatures. Emotional and social support are necessary for our own mental well-being. And it’s ok to tap into that when you need it.
The people who love you will be more than happy to help you see all of the wonderful things that make you the incredible being you are. And hey, they might even have some personal tips on practicing self-love to share. 😉
But if talking to your loved ones about practicing self-love feels weird, talking to a therapist or counselor is another great option!
Take it from someone who’s been there! I’m so grateful for the help my child psychologist provided. He definitely helped me see that I am incredibly worthy of love at a time when I didn’t exactly feel like I had much value. Therapy can be life changing.
Therapists create a safe space free from judgement. Everything is confidential. And the relationship is unique to your needs. Including any help you might need learning to practice self-love.
They may even help you in ways your loved ones never could…
As Philip J. Rosenbaum, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst and is the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Haverford College, puts it:
“The therapist-client relationship is central to helping people learn how to change their problematic behaviors. Therapists engage with their clients’ lives without becoming a daily part of it. Well-defined boundaries allow therapists the perspective from which to observe behaviors that friends who are involved in a client’s life may be too close to see.” (source)
Therapy can be so useful and isn’t something to be afraid of or embarrassed by. When you sit down with a professional, they’re neutral. They have absolutely no agenda in your life and can be completely unbiased.
Related: 6 Fantastic Tips On How to Reduce Stress from Psychiatrists
You never know, it might be one of the best steps in your self-love journey. Sometimes loving yourself means accepting that you need outside help. We all do. And that’s not only ok, it’s awesome!
How amazing is it that we can come together, lift each other up and inspire each other to love ourselves and each other? I think that’s pretty wonderful!
The world can always use more love. Even self-love. Are you ready to get your self-love on?
How do you work on loving yourself? Is there anything else that you think everyone should know about practicing self-love? Share your goodness with us in the comments below. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.
Health and love,
Thought of the day: You are worthy of your own love and affection.
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I can tell such a difference in my overall mental and physical health once I began focusing on taking care of myself. It is so simple to do, and honestly can save a life!
That is so wonderful to hear Ashlee! Isn’t it amazing how far a little self-love can go? We all deserve to experience it in abundance <3.
The Merry Minimalist
Thank you so much for sharing this! I love LOVE everything about your steps! I totally agree that self-love is so foundational! If you do not love yourself and take care of yourself then how can give give the best of you in the things you do in life! Tip #3 is such a good one too! Asking for help is something that can be hard, but sometimes super necessary!
I’m so incredibly happy you enjoyed it Kaleigh! Self-love is such a beautiful things and we all truly deserve to experience it. Not to mention all the awesome physical and mental health benefits. Total win! I’m glad you think so too ;). And that you agree that asking for help is a great idea sometimes. I think we all struggle with that but it’s often on of the best things we can do for ourselves.
Wishing you a beautiful week full of joy, good food and tons of love!
I never heard of the disease mentioned here but I think it’s great that your keeping positive and sharing that with others as well. That’s inspiring!
Thank you Jasmin! I hadn’t heard of it before my diagnosis either! Thankfully it’s very treatable once it’s discovered and I have some awesome doctors on my team watching over me, even while I’m in remission. I’m very fortunate. Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement! You’ve made my day. Sending so much love your way!
I love this post always give yourself love first. Thats when you can spread love to others. Thanks for sharing.
Yes! Totally yes Martha! You can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s so important that we make time and space to fill up our spirits. It only helps us be present for others. Eeee! I’m so happy you agree. Here’s so love <3.
I really needed this today. Well written with excellent points! Self – love has always been hard for me because I grew up in a family where speaking up for yourself was considered selfish. This beautiful post has helped me so much in my journey. Thank you!
I’m happy this found you when you needed it Karen. I’m really sorry that you experienced that, especially as a young person. I know that the habits we’re taught growing up are the hardest ones to adjust sometimes. But the fact that you’re trying and thinking about it tells me that you’re on the right path. That’s a wonderful act of self-love right there :). You’re rocking it! Sending so much love your way and wishing you well on your self-love journey <3
I always feel so uplifted after I read through your posts! I like how your describe self care basically as our foundation. If we don’t love ourselves and are only making lifestyle changes to look like so-and-so, or to fit into a swim suit the changes probably won’t stick. You are one smart lady!
You are the kindness Nicole! Thank you so much. Make my day! <3 I really appreciate it!
And I couldn't agree with you more! Every body is beautiful and a truly fulfilling healthy lifestyle has nothing to do with a number on a scale or a pants size. It's all about finding a balance that makes you feel good, inside and out. I think that the whole idea that we should look a certain way and need to adjust our lifestyle in order to achieve that only creates more pain in the end. And goodness we don't need any more of that. Love is often the answer. And I really think it truly is in this case.
I absolutely love this! I’m all about this self-love/self-care movement going on right now because it’s so important for our mental health and it’s so empowering!
Yes! I agree! I think that’s what’s truly important. We all need and deserve to love ourselves fiercely. And I think that only makes us more capable of being kind and caring towards others too. It’s all win! Glad you think so too Shannon!
Lovely article I really needed this. Self love has been very difficult for me and its good to hear your story of you learning to love yourself through your illness
I’m so glad you’re feeling inspired Lois! Self-love really is hard sometimes. I think everyone feels that way, at least sometimes. I certainly have and even sometimes still do. But it’s so worth it to keep working through it! I hope that you’re having a wonderful self-love journey. Sending tons of love your way <3.
Thank so much for sharing that wonderful article really enjoy it plus very constructive thank again❤️
I’m so happy you enjoyed it Safae! Thank you so much for sharing your kind words <3. I appreciate it!
Sharon McCaskill | The Helpful GF
I love this post–thanks for being so transparent in your self-love journey!
You’re so welcome Sharon! I’m glad you enjoyed it. <3 Wishing you well!
It’s so important we practise self love first, if we don’t take care of ourselves…. Who will??
Exactly! You’re right on the money Dee! I couldn’t agree with you more ^^
Learning to talk positively to yourself is HARD. I’ve even noticed with my kids. Their first reaction is to say “I can’t do this” or “I don’t want to do this.” So, we’re working on it together. I need to remind myself to speak positively to myself first and encourage it in them. But, you’re right it’s a journey and it’s not a natural one. I’m so sorry you went through so much with your Graves diagnosis. That sounds so challenging but you have such a bright attitude that you always amaze me! <3 Jamie PS Still doing the mindful eating challenge- that's an exercise in positivity right there- trying to get my kiddos to say something positive about peas bahaha.
You’re awesome Jamie! I can never say that enough. This is something we all struggle in. Even children. But what a powerful thing to experience while you grow up – learning to be more mindful of how you’re speaking to yourself. That’s a lesson many of us don’t learn until we’re older (if we’re even lucky enough to learn it). I love it! And I also adore that you show them by working on your own relationship with yourself too. That’s really powerful too. They pick up so much, eh?
And thank you! It was really hard at first. I spent a good year feeling like crap, both physically and mentally. But some pretty amazing things happened when I decided to make some pretty big (and difficult) changes. I don’t regret the experience because it’s helped to shape who I am today. And I love me! But hey… I would absolutely accept a cure if someone discovered it haha! One can hope and dream, right?
And I love it! Oh that’s so exciting! I adore peas. But my hubby hates them. I’ll need to start getting him to say nice things about them too. Maybe I can change his mind :P.
Enjoy your mindful eating moment at supper tonight! I really love that you’re doing that. Makes me so happy! Sending so much love your way Jamie!
Lovely post. Never thought that actually a happy-healthy-mindful lifestyle actually starts from self love. Great in depth post! Great work as always! <3 xxx
Thank you so much Elly! It’s pretty amazing isn’t it? A lot of the best things stem from love. And I think that’s so true for self-love too :). Wishing you a beautiful day hun!
I just found out that one of my friends has an incurable autoimmune disease as well that causes paralysis and right now she is physically unable to use her hands for much. But she is a big advocate for self-love as well and one of the first thing she did was learn how to paint without her fingers as much as possible. It’s really inspirational to see but also a little heartbreaking.
I’m so sorry to hear about your friends diagnosis. I can only imagine how difficult that must be for her. But it sounds like she has such an amazing attitude and has found ways to thrive in her circumstances. I would love to see her paintings. I bet they’re brilliant! I hope that her treatment helps a ton. Sending love and healing vibes her way. Thank you so much for sharing a piece of her story Kate <3.
Self love is so important for a healthy life !
It truly is Terrah! I hope you have it in abundance <3
Loving yourself is rarely easy. Thanks for pointing out the second important thing, loving yourself doesn’t mean just giving up on pushing yourself
It absolutely isn’t easy! But it’s worth it to keep working at it. I’m glad you think so too <3. And yes! We can still continue to dream, and grow and learn and aspire while loving ourselves as we are. :)
When you say that practicing self love isn’t easy you sure aren’t lying. We have to fight against so many outside negative voices and the negative self talk we do on our own. It’s a daily struggle, but absolutely necessary if you want to live a healthy and productive life. Thanks for these tips.
You’re absolutely right Kisha! There are lots of messages out there telling us not to love ourselves as we are. That we need to look a certain way, dress a certain way or be a certain way in order to be lovable. It’s hard to fight against that. But it’s so worth it! So incredibly worth it! And we really deserve to feel loved, especially from ourselves. I’m really happy you think so too :).
Theresa | Bridesmaids Confession
It’s so important to take care of ourselves. We can’t give from an empty cup.
Heck yea Theresa! You’ve hit the nail on the head. And goodness do we ever deserve to experience self-love and self-care in abundance. Thanks for sharing your thoughts <3
Too true that it can be difficult to practice self-love. Sometimes I find myself feeling guilty for putting myself first. But I reassure myself that I need to come first in order to be able to take care of everything else. If I fall apart, it’s over, nothing can get done. It’s so important to self-love and take good care myself.
Thanks for sharing this post! I really enjoyed reading it! 🙂
That’s the perfect way of looking at it Emily! We can’t be there for others if we aren’t there for ourselves. I love the way you put it: “If I fall apart, it’s over, nothing can get done.” That’s so true! There is nothing wrong with taking care of ourselves. It’s necessary. I hope today includes a ton of self-love and self-care hun <3
I think if we all do a little more self love we will end up being nicer to ourselves and then hopefully nicer to each other. when you feel better it’s hard not to be nice. that’s what I’m trying at least
I think so too Janna! The world can always use more love. Starting with ourselves only paves the way towards more goodness 🙂
Travel With A SIlver Lining
Thanks for sharing this, what a good post!
I’m so happy you enjoyed it! Thank you for letting me know <3
So much truth and good advice in here, thank you! Self-love often gets confused with self-acceptance, but that totally hinders our growth.
I’m really happy you enjoyed it! I believe self-acceptance is absolutely part of self-love personally. Loving and accepting ourselves as we are is a beautiful thing. I just think it’s so important to recognize that that doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to grow, dream, learn and strive. But to do that knowing that current you as just as worthy of love and acceptance as potential future you.
We often hold self-love for random, thinking we will grant ourselves that right when we reach some goal and become some future mythical better version of ourselves. But that often leads to a cycle of unhappiness, since there is always more growing and learning to do.
Here’s to loving ourselves now as we continue to learn and grow and venture through this crazy journey called life ^^
Such insight. Thank you for sharing your personal story!
I’m so happy you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for your love and support <3
Amays Ziing 💋 (@sairdaK)
Nice story of you we need to take care ourselves first! <3
I totally agree Amay! We all deserve it <3
This is amazing, I think we all should focus on loving ourselves because that would build a confident and make you see the good on you.
Absolutely Jack! I couldn’t agree more :). And that only paves the way towards better things. Not just for us, but those around us too. The world could always use more love. Starting with ourselves is a good place ^^
Great post, and you are right, it isn’t easy! I have been trying to add more self-care (therefor better self-love) into my routine and it’s so easy to get off track.
you put so much heart and love into each and every one of your posts and it shows – your honesty and transparency is something i admire <3x
thank you so much for sharing this. i think self love is s o important. also im a taurus so im allll about self care too . haha 🙂
Self love is so important! I think the hardest thing is asking people for help. Thanks for sharing your ideas and thoughts about it! 🙂
Self-love is something very important. I like this post is very motivational. And Vary explained
This is such an important read for everyone. I think too many of us forget to love ourselves the way we should. We tend to take ourselves for granted.
When it comes to self care and self love, I’m the worst. But I’m working on it every single day.
Ntensibe Edgar Michael
Yyyeeaaahhhhh….self-love is loved by many but they never get to really share the journeys moved to realise it. It’s so painful, heartbreaking and mind-changing, too.
Practicing isn’t easy, but knowing these three things, are very helpful to do so.
Self love is important. We need to focus on ourselves sometimes. Take time out of our day just for us.
Self love is important! Asking for help is something I struggle with Thank you very much for sharing your ideas and thoughts.
Angela Ricardo Bethea
Such wonderful and inspiring post! Thanks for the great points and will surely keep them in mind. Self love is important because you can’t give love if you don’t love yourself first.
I love this post. such a good message…not always easy to do and yes deffo do not settle xx
I always have to remind myself that it’s a slow process. Loving yourself is not instant and it can seem impossible, but I know I can do it.