Learning how to love yourself may not seem like a priority, and it’s not hard to understand why. As we’re growing up, we’re wired to think we should take care of others and treat others with love. Unfortunately, most guardians don’t emphasize the need for self-love as much.
As a result, you grow up thinking that loving yourself is selfish and not something to strive for. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is that without self-love you’re limited in so many ways. Think about it. How much can you allow others to love you if you have no idea how to love yourself? How can you teach others how to treat you when you don’t know what you expect?
Lack of self-love also sets you back in life and career-wise. Most people who lack self-love will take the back seat in life and miss out on opportunities because they don’t think they deserve it. That is because lack of self-love stems from low-self esteem. Living like this is no way to live. Fortunately, like all bad habits, you can unlearn your old patterns and learn how to love yourself.
First Things First, Do You Love Yourself?
Most people with low self-esteem struggle to notice when they abandon themselves. However, there are ways you can tell if you love yourself enough. If you answer yes to any of these questions, there’s a high chance you struggle with self-love.
- Do you despise your flaws and limitations?
- Do you have a hard time acknowledging or celebrating your accomplishments?
- Is it hard for you to forgive yourself?
- Are you afraid to express your emotions out of fear of hurting others?
- Does taking care of your body and mind seem selfish?
What Should You Do to Learn to Love Yourself?
If you’ve been struggling with self-love, chances are you’ve tried to change without any lack. It happens. It will take a while before you truly embrace and take care of yourself. However, the following tips will help you get closer to your goal.
Set Healthy Boundaries and Stick to Them
One of the first things you need to do when you’re learning to love yourself is to know your limits and set boundaries. This is easy to do. You can often tell when something doesn’t sit well with you because certain emotions accompany it. When someone crosses a boundary, you’ll either feel angry, upset, or hurt.
Start paying attention to these emotions. When do you feel this way? Who makes you feel this way? What boundaries do you need to set to avoid such feelings? Once you’ve identified your triggers and listed boundaries, the true test of loving yourself is maintaining these limitations.
Don’t let anyone get away with disrespecting you or crossing your boundaries. Speak up immediately it happens and let them know how you expect them to behave. It may not come easily at first, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get. Eventually, you’ll find you love yourself more.
Do What You Love
Sometimes loving yourself involves something as simple as doing the things you love. Most people struggle with this, especially in intimate relationships. You’ll find one person sacrificing everything they love doing so that they can please another. Other times, people are scared to go after what they love or do what they love out of fear of judgment.
When you’re on your death bed, you won’t remember all the people you pleased. You’ll be disappointed by the many opportunities you failed to live a life you loved. Don’t let it get to this. The next time you want to do something and you’re afraid of letting someone down or being judged, do it anyway. You’ll notice you don’t feel horrible after doing it. You’ll feel alive and motivated to do even more things you love.
We take so much time taking care of others and forget to take care of ourselves. If you’re like this, you’ll often feel drained and unmotivated to live your life. You can change by adding yourself to your priority list. Don’t just go through life taking care of everyone else. Take the time to pamper number one – you!
Take that vacation you’ve been dreaming about. Schedule that massage appointment. Go on that romantic date. Take that day off. These may seem like little things, but they go a long way in helping you learn how to love yourself.
Learn to Say No
The word “no” is a small word, but a complete sentence. However, most people struggle with saying no. They don’t want to say no lest they hurt someone’s feelings or lose a relationship. If you have this pattern, you’re probably not feeling like you’re doing yourself any justice. If anything, you probably resent everyone you can’t say no to.
You hate your boss because they always get you on numerous projects all at once. Your spouse gets on your nerves because you can’t say no to their demands, and so on. If you took the time, you’d find out that these people don’t even think it’s an issue for you. They’d probably say that they can take no for an answer from you.
So, you’re limiting yourself by being a “yes person.” Quit doing it. The next time someone has an insane request you can’t say yes to, say no and don’t feel the need to explain. It will take a bit of courage, but it will make you feel so much better.
Sometimes, we pressure ourselves to be perfect, and we forget to take life easy. If you behave like that, it’s time to take it easy. There will be times when you mess up, and that’s okay. Forgive yourself and promise to do better next time.
It’s also advisable to set realistic goals to avoid feeling like your disappointing yourself. You’ll find that life is easier, and you can handle most challenges you face. Above all, forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made, even if they seem unforgivable.
Seek Professional Help
If you’ve tried everything and you’re still struggling with your self-esteem, it may be time to seek professional help. You don’t have to see a therapist when you’re going through heavy stuff only. A mental health professional can help you navigate simple things in life, like learning how to love yourself. Besides, by working with a therapist, you’re better positioned to learn why you struggle with self-love.
The therapist will also provide you with the right tools to learn how to love yourself more. So don’t waste another minute. Start the journey of self-love today. It’s a journey you won’t regret embarking on.
Kate has a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and has worked in healthcare since 2017. She primarily treated depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and grief, as well as identity, relationship and adjustment issues. Her clinical experience has focused on individual and group counseling, emergency counseling and outreach.Read more