How Do You Learn How to Love Yourself: 4 Simple Strategies

The question, “How do you learn how to love yourself when you you don’t yet fully?” can feel overwhelming at times. Yet with simple practices…

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The question, “How do you learn how to love yourself when you you don’t yet fully?” can feel overwhelming at times. Yet with simple practices you can completely learn how to love yourself.

In this article you will learn 4 simple ways to fully learn to love yourself starting now.

Learning How Do You Love Yourself

Before learning the simple ways to love yourself, please know there is no shame in lacking self-love. This is a very common feeling for people.

Common concerns that lead a person to feel a lack of self-love include anxiety, depression, a history of trauma, anxious attachment, and codependency. If you are experiencing any of these things please know this arose in your life for valid reasons.

Related: Healing Childhood Abandonment Trauma on Your Own

For example, if you have anxious attachment, you experienced some thing(s) in your past that led you to believe you couldn’t fully trust others to stick around. Then naturally, a part of you will believe it’s because there’s something that’s “not enough” about you. This leads to issues with self-love yet both the lack of self-love and the reasons for it can be healed.

how do you learn how to love yourself

#1 Simple Step to Learn to Love Yourself: Stop Attacking Yourself

When you don’t yet love yourself fully, some of your thoughts towards yourself may be quite mean. To feel self-love, you must first interrupt these thoughts. You don’t need to yet believe anything positive about yourself or use affirmations right here.

Related: Self Esteem Positive Affirmations

Instead the first step is to simply interrupt self-critical thoughts. This is an essential step to learn to love yourself because it’s impossible to feel fully loving and safe with someone who bullies us – ourselves included!

How to Stop Bullying Yourself

Very simply, the best way to stop the inner critic is to interrupt it. Every time you notice that you’re thinking in an unkind way towards yourself, make the choice to stop it.

Related: An Essential Therapy Skill: Wise Mind from DBT

You stop these unkind thoughts with the practice of mindfulness. All this means is that you practice paying attention to your thoughts. Here’s how this process looks:

  • Make the commitment to pay attention to your thoughts,
  • As soon as you notice you’re being unkind to yourself i.e., calling yourself names or telling yourself you “shouldn’t” think, feel or be a certain way decide to stop,
  • Change your thoughts by focusing on something else in detail this could be completely focusing on what you’re doing such as washing dishes or counting how many trees you see outside,
  • Every time your mind wanders to an unkind thought towards yourself repeat the process
  • Repeat this process as needed even if feels like a million times a day – it will get easier with practice!
how do you learn how to love yourself

#2 Simple Step to Learn to Love Yourself: Stop Expecting Perfection

When you lack total self-love, it’s natural to put a ton of pressure on yourself to be “better.” Maybe you feel you have to prove you are “better” than others at your job or the way you look? Perhaps you constantly find yourself setting new goals whenever you achieve something without taking a moment to celebrate?

When you’re in this cycle, it can feel like when you accomplish “enough” you will feel like enough. Yet, it’s a trap. Whenever you expect yourself to constantly perform, be better, and even perfect you reinforce a lack of self-love. This is because perfection isn’t possible in our human nature. Therefore, expecting perfection sets you up to feel like a “failure.”

how do you learn how to love yourself

Giving Yourself Grace

The antidote to perfectionism is to cultivate self-compassion. When you’re self-compassionate, you are understanding that you cannot be perfect as a human being. You also speak to yourself kindly.

Related: Self Care Guidelines: 4 Simple Ways to Commit to Self-Care

When you are self-compassionate, you give yourself breaks and time to have fun. You rest and play simply because these things are fun and necessary with a human body. You never have to earn rest or play. This is an essential part of self-care to be honest. And without self-care, you cannot fully experience self-love.

how do you learn how to love yourself

#3 Simple Step to Learn to Love Yourself: Care for Yourself and Your Emotions

When you are self-compassionate and kind to yourself, you develop self-love. Part of self-compassion includes learning to be kind and caring for yourself and your emotions.

There are no bad emotions and to truly love yourself, you must learn to accept and nurture yourself in the face of any and all emotions.

how do you learn how to love yourself

Coping Well with Your Emotions

Learn how to feel in control of your emotions is a practice. You do this first by accepting any and all emotions you may feel. It’s not “wrong” to feel angry for example.

Related: How to Be More in Control of Your Emotions: Therapy Skills to Help

Then you decide to self-soothe with various coping skills such as deep breathing, playing with your pet, or taking a walk. Other skills are featured in this article: DBT Skills for Distress Tolerance.

how do you learn how to love yourself

Also to cope better with your emotions self-care is invaluable. When you make sure you’re well hydrated, well rested, nourished and your body is getting comfortable movement you naturally have more bandwidth for strong emotions. When you notice you are taking care of yourself and coping well with your emotions you naturally feel more confident! This leads to greater self-love of course.

#4 Simple Step to Learn to Love Yourself: Connect with Your Authentic Self

A lot of people, before they fully love themselves, are somewhat disconnected from their authentic self. A person can feel like they lose themselves over time or never knew who they were to begin with authentically.

Luckily, your authentic self which includes your inherent needs, wants & limits as well as your emotions, already lives inside of you. Learning to love yourself is about uncovering your authentic self rather than creating the self. There are many strategies for self-reconnection.

Ways to Get to Know the Real You

You can get to know yourself more fully to develop more self-love through journaling, meditating, and yoga.

Related: Simple Journaling Prompts for Self Love

Truly, any time you can practice mindfulness of your feelings, thoughts, needs, and wants, you create space for you to just be. Mindfulness allows you to be who you really are with full acceptance and without judgment.

Exercise for Mindfulness of Yourself

When you are mindful of what’s going on in your heart, and mind, you don’t have to strive to be anything else. Everything that comes up is simply information about who you are and where you are at in any given moment. When you notice this mindfully, you notice this without judgment. To practice this, I encourage you to take out a piece of paper, or write a note on your phone about 10 things you notice about yourself that you perceive as neutral.

For example, I notice I’m wearing a red sweater. Or, I notice I’m curious about self-love. Or, I notice I like the smell of vanilla. Please try to just let these observations be what they are without labeling it as “good” or “bad.”

You want these observations to be “neutral” to help escape the trap of feeling “not good enough” or “better.” You don’t need to prove yourself or to do anything differently. You’re simply noticing what’s real about yourself that doesn’t trigger feelings of being “not good enough.”

Commitment Cultivates Self-Love

The fact that you are here reading this article means you are one step closer already to loving yourself – even if it doesn’t seem like it right now.

Please know that if you commit yourself to these 4 steps to self-love you will eventually feel that you love yourself. It’s a practice of caring for yourself and your emotions while being kinder to yourself. You don’t “learn” really how to love yourself. Instead you act as if you already love yourself (through self-care and self-compassion) and this eventually gets you to feeling like you love yourself. It’s a practice and with commitment you will love yourself like you’ve always deserved to feel!

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About The Author

Krystal Mazzola Wood, LMFT is a practicing relationship therapist and author with over a decade of experience. Currently, Krystal sees clients at her private practice, The Healthy Relationship Foundation. She has dedicated her entire career to empowering people to find their voice, deepen their ability to self-love, and improve their relationships.

Her newest book, Setting Boundaries: 100 Ways to Protect Yourself, Strengthen Your Relationships and Build the Life You Want…Starting Now! (Therapy Within Reach), gives you the tools necessary to identify, set, and stay firm with your boundaries.

Her other books, The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle and The Codependency Workbook: Simple Practices for Developing and Maintaining Your Independence have helped many overcome people pleasing, self-neglect, and resentment to have a healthier relationship with themselves and others.

If you have any personal dating or relationship questions, Krystal is happy to provide advice using her expertise and compassion. If you feel comfortable, feel free to leave any questions in the comments of this post. Otherwise, you may send an email to krystal@confidentlyauthentic.com or DM her on Instagram. We will always keep your name and other identifying information confidential.

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