In this post, we explore the meaning and benefits of self love and 5 ways to kickstart your self love journey today.
If I asked you to name a whole bunch of things to love about yourself would you be able to? It’s kinda hard, isn’t it?
How about just a few? Still having a difficult time?
The truth is that most of us are our biggest critics, rather than our loudest cheerleaders. You probably come up with a million reasons to criticize yourself every day, but thinking of just a few things to love about yourself….now that can be a real challenge.
But being your own worst enemy is not going to get you anywhere, at least not anywhere worthwhile. Whereas, loving yourself is a much more effective way to bring forth positive momentum in your life.
So let’s dive in and learn more about what self-love is, why it’s important to love yourself, and explore some of the benefits of self love. Stick around till the end where I’ll explain 5 ways to kickstart your own self love journey today!
Why is it hard to love yourself?
Why is it that loving other people feels natural and easy? But loving ourselves? That’s often really hard to do.
This is especially true for women, who not only are natural caregivers, but also have been raised with the notion that we should love others before loving ourselves.
We’re taught to selflessly focus on the needs of everyone else around us first, pushing down our own needs, in the name of loving our people well.
Only in recent years have the concepts of self-love and self-care become a focus for us, and thus this has left many women starting from a place of being wholly unfamiliar with how to even recognize their needs, let alone how to lead with self-love.
What is self-love?
A journey to self love is a long one and practicing self-love can be a steep learning curve. Some of us are not even sure what exactly self-love is.
This is due to the nature of self-love itself. It’s an ambiguous concept because it’s also a personal one and a self love journey can mean something different to each person, each one of us starting from a different place.
For me, self-love is about striving to respect and treat yourself like you would a dear friend. It’s understanding your own value, honoring your needs, and showing yourself kindness and compassion.
I believe self-love is also the intersection of self-acceptance and self-improvement. When you love yourself, you’re able to accept yourself as you are and at the same time, continuously endeavor to become a better version of yourself. All the while, showing yourself grace when you fall short.
What are the benefits of self love?
We all want to feel seen and understood. As humans, we need love in our lives, but unfortunately, we can’t always depend on love from the outside.
There won’t always be someone else to affirm us or support us in hard moments, but we can do that for ourselves if we’re able to cultivate love from within.
There are many benefits of self love. One of them is that a strong sense of self-love helps us to move forward in a positive direction in our lives.
This is because when you have self-love, it leads to higher self-esteem and confidence which motivate you to take action, seek out new opportunities for growth, trust in yourself to take risks, and maintain resilience and self-compassion when you falter.
Another benefit of self-love is that it empowers us to love others more deeply. When you have self-love and the higher self-esteem and confidence that come with it, you spend less time preoccupied with your flaws and insecurities, focused inward, and thus have more time and energy to share outward.
Basically, you can appreciate and love the people in your life on a deeper level when you are secure within yourself.
The last one that I’ll mention is my favorite of all the benefits of self love and it is that loving yourself frees you from caring so much about what others think of you.
When you accept and love yourself for who you are, you feel the weight of other people’s opinions slip away. This is so liberating!
And when you don’t care as much about what others think of you, you’re better able to honor your boundaries and worry less about disappointing other people when you say no to things that don’t align with your values or drain your time and energy.
What is a self love journey?
Simply put, a self love journey is your personal journey to cultivating love for yourself.
Although it’s not always easy, self-love can be learned and can build over time as a result of continuous nurturing actions that support your resilience, well-being, and growth. It is this continuous process that makes up your self love journey.
A self love journey will look different for everyone, as there is no right or wrong way to practice self love, but below you will find 5 impactful ways to kickstart your self love journey today.
5 Ways to Kickstart Your Self Love Journey
1.) Get to know yourself
My first suggestion on how to kickstart your self love journey is to simply get to know yourself better. This includes two main components – #1 spending time in your own company and #2 endeavoring to better understand your inner workings.
Think of getting to know yourself like starting a new relationship. In the beginning of a relationship, you want to spend time with the other person in an effort to learn about them – their personality, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and all their little quirks.
You’re curious about this new person and ask questions to better understand them and nurture the relationship. Try doing the same with yourself.
Also, examine the inner workings of your mind by taking the time to engage in self-reflection.
Journaling is a great way to do some self-reflection and I have 50 FREE self-reflection questions you can download if you need help getting started. 👇
Having a sense of curiosity about yourself is a great foundation for your self love journey and when you start spending time getting to know yourself, you’ll likely find that you’re pretty easy to love.
“To know you is to love you.”
2.) Embrace your positive qualities
Start embracing your positive qualities. This includes learning to affirm yourself and embracing positive compliments and acknowledgements from others.
Most of us have the tendency to brush off compliments or use self-deprecating humor to minimize praise that others may give us.
How many times do you find yourself responding with “oh this old thing?” when someone compliments your outfit?
Instead, get into the habit of simply saying “thank you” or “I agree”. Really try to embrace and internalize any positive feedback others throw your way.
Furthermore, it’s important to make a practice out of complimenting and affirming yourself when you do something good and always celebrate your wins, no matter how small.
One way to do this is by using positive affirmations, which are brief statements that you recite or repeat frequently to yourself in order to encourage positive thoughts and attitudes. Affirmations can be used to foster self-confidence, self-worth, body positivity, and of course self-love or anything else you want to positively encourage from within.
If it helps, make a list of all your positive traits and qualities, or the things you like about yourself, and use it to come up with affirmation statements. You can also refer back to this list whenever you’re feeling down on yourself.
By using affirmation statements to reinforce what you see as positive about yourself and also striving to internalize positive feedback from others, you will start to feel it and believe it more and more as you move forward in your self love journey.
3.) Talk to yourself like someone you love
Paying attention to how you talk to yourself is one of the most important parts of your self love journey.
How often do you find that voice inside your head saying something that starts with “I am” and ends with something not so nice? How many times does it actually end with something awful – something you’d never say to someone else, especially to someone you love?
Well then, if you want to cultivate self-love, it’s time to start talking to yourself like you would someone you love.
It’s imperative for your self love journey that you learn to identify negative self-talk and stop it in its tracks. When you have a negative thought, ask yourself if it is actually true and try to reframe it into something more positive.
For more guidance on how to curb negative self-talk, visit my post linked below.
4.) Create self-care rituals
There are many ideas for how to practice self-care and not all include pampering yourself with luxuries like bubble baths and scented candles (although sometimes a little pampering is what’s needed 😜).
True self-care is simply adopting a mindset in which you prioritize and make space for yourself in your life. At its core, self-care is identifying what you need and learning how to provide it to yourself through routines and rituals that support your well-being.
Self-care routines become rituals as you build awareness around why you’re doing it and become intentional in practicing self-care with a deep sense of purpose.
Kickstart your self love journey by getting super intentional about your self-care rituals, whether it’s giving love to your body through exercise and nutritious foods, or giving love to your mind through journaling or reading.
Doing a small thing every day as a self-care ritual can yield huge results and you will find that consistently making an investment in your well-being is the ultimate act of self-love.
5.) Don’t be so hard on yourself
The last important step you can take in your self love journey is to stop being so hard on yourself! This has to do with having self-compassion and showing yourself grace.
Go easy on yourself when you make mistakes or fall short of your goals. You’re not perfect and no one expects you to be.
It comes down to adopting a kinder and gentler approach in how you treat yourself. But just like loving other people is easier than loving yourself, it’s also a lot easier to have compassion for and extend grace to others.
Try to save just a little bit of that compassion for yourself. It will do wonders for your self love journey.
Ready to start your self love journey? What will you focus on first?
Self-love is critical to our overall well-being. And although love for oneself doesn’t always come easily, the good news is that self-love is something you can learn to develop.
I hope this post has given you some great insight on how to do so and you’re ready to start your own self love journey.
Let us know how you plan to cultivate self-love in your life in the comments below!
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Carly is a wife, mom, and former NYC fashion industry executive turned writer and life coach. Through her writings on littlevoicebigmatter.com, she shares practical advice, heartfelt insights, and actionable resources to inspire and support women in motherhood, relationships, wellness, and life. Carly also helps women create better balance in their lives and live with more joy, purpose, and connection every day through her coaching.