Self love is such a difficult process to navigate, not only because it takes time, and patience, and tenderness, but because there’s also this shame that seems to grow within us when we cannot find it. We are constantly sold this idea of self love — it’s relayed to us on social media, in advertising, within the music we hear and the shows we watch. The world is constantly saying “Just love yourself” and so when we can’t, or when it’s difficult, we feel sad, or guilty for not being able to achieve that or see ourselves the way other see us. It can be deeply confusing. But the truth is — we’ve all been hurt and we’ve all dealt with things that have convinced us we are hard to love, and we deal with so much comparison on a daily basis. It is understandable that we’ve in a way grown distant from our own souls, from our own hearts. It’s a very human thing to struggle with. So, below we’ve written out some tips that are meant to affirm you on your self love journey, and encourage you to give yourself the love you so effortlessly give others. Because you deserve it — you always have.
Loving yourself means coming back home to yourself.
In a world that sometimes convinces us we have to change, or edit ourselves, in order to be loved, it is so important to reintroduce ourselves to our own souls again. If you are struggling with fostering self-love, try asking yourself who you truly are, deep down. Ask yourself what you like, and dislike. Ask yourself how you want to feel when you go out into the world. Ask yourself what your non-negotiables are, what your standards are, what you never want to settle for again. Really think: Who are you when you’re alone with your mind? When you’re not trying to be everything for everyone? What genuinely makes you happy? What ignites you?
And while it can feel overwhelming to sit with yourself in that way, while it can feel so foreign, it’s a great first step towards showing up for yourself. When you love others in your life, you want to get to know them on the deepest level in order to be able to love them the way that they need to be loved. So when it comes to a relationship with yourself, you need to know yourself on that level too, in order to love yourself the way you need to be loved.
Forgive yourself for who you had to be in your past.
It is unbelievably easy to look back on the things you had to do in order to survive, or heal, or the mistakes you made, or the person you were in your past, and allow for all of that to make you feel like you aren’t good enough, or deserving of what you want. Our pasts can bring up feelings of shame, and that shame can often make you love yourself less because you are seeing yourself through the lens of who you used to be.
If that is one of the reasons why you find it difficult to be kind to yourself, why you find it difficult to care for yourself, I want to remind you that life is really hard. And there is no perfect way to execute our existence. It is never as black and white as we think it is. There is no guideline on how to be a human being who is dealing with the grittiness of what it means to simply live, and love, and make mistakes. We have all been versions of ourselves that we wouldn’t necessarily clap for now. We have all been the person who hurts, or who makes the wrong choice, or who can’t show up. This doesn’t make you a bad person. This makes you human.
So a step towards loving yourself is forgiveness. Forgive yourself for what you had to do in order to kill your sadness. Forgive yourself for how you settled, or allowed yourself to be treated. Forgive yourself for the ways in which you didn’t fight for who you were becoming. Forgive yourself for the ways you tried to catch your footing. When you call it all by its name, when you truly face all that it was — not with the desire to change it, not with regret, but with tenderness for what has come and gone, for what cannot be reversed, forgiveness affords you this ability to reframe your past. It affords you the opportunity to stop seeing your present self through that lens, and you learn from it, rather than letting it hurt you or demean you or belittle you. You take the lessons, and you allow for them to inspire you into standing up for who you are and who you want to be. Acceptance is love.
Loving yourself means respecting yourself.
In order to love ourselves, the distance between who we are internally, and who we show the world, has to be nonexistent. There should be no gap between those two realities.
Try your best to be honest with yourself about who you are, and don’t ever edit yourself. Because when you stop yourself from speaking your truth, when you silence yourself in order to appease everyone around you, you bankrupt yourself. You become a shell of yourself, and that can make you feel really trapped and misunderstood because you aren’t being true to yourself. You aren’t creating the art you want to create, you’re not loving how you want to love, you’re not showing up the way you want to show up, because you’re scared of being fully and openly who you are. There is a disconnect between your desires and your actions.
Remind yourself that who you are on the inside is worthy. And who you are on the inside is a beautiful human being that the world would be lucky to know. You don’t have to edit yourself in order to be accepted or loved or cared for. You don’t have to change yourself. You just have to be unapologetically who you are. You have to do the things that make you happy, on a soul level, and you have to do them almost foolishly — don’t ask for permission to be who you are. Stand in your power.
That kind of freedom is life-changing, because you’re respecting yourself. And when you earn your own respect, you stand firmly in who you are. You know that you aren’t being dishonest with yourself, or editing yourself down, you know that you’re showing up for yourself. You’re being kind to yourself. You’re being proud of who you are. As you are.
Trust the process, and invest in yourself.
You are a human being who is learning and growing each and every day. You do certain things really well, you have talents and beauty within you that is rare and that is yours and yours alone. And you have a lot of work to do, as well. A lot of things you have to heal, a lot of things you have to come to terms with and accept. Life isn’t ever going to be void of those things. That is why it is important to try your best to love where you are even if it isn’t where you want to be right now. It is important to show yourself some grace, to trust in yourself and in the process.
When you trust in the process, when you understand that this journey back home to yourself, that this journey towards being who you want to be, and loving yourself throughout it all, when you do all of that, you learn how to invest in yourself.
And investing in yourself looks like planting seeds within your life that you know are going to bloom, no matter how long it takes. It’s about setting yourself up, about doing the hard work. It’s about showing up for yourself.
So ask yourself — how can you show up for yourself right now? What can you do that you will look back on and feel proud of? Sometimes that looks like being healthy, even when you don’t want to. Sometimes that looks like limiting your social media use so you can get your visions and your ideas sorted on a foundational level. Sometimes that looks like doing the things that would be easy to just ignore, sometimes being able to show up for yourself in that way — to really motivate yourself to do the work, is how you show yourself love.
And this also means showing yourself love by healing, even when it hurts. By really digging into the soul of who you are and doing the deep work, the hard work; unhinging your ribcage and peering into all of the baggage and all of the wounds and slowly learning how to carry it, how to clean it out, how to confront it and let it go. Showing yourself kindness, especially when it isn’t easy, is the best way to show yourself love.
Pay attention to the things that make you come home to yourself. The things that make you happy, the things that bring you to life. Ask yourself — what brings you joy? Who are you with when you’re the happiest? What are you doing when you feel the best? When was the last time you felt truly alive, truly free, truly open to the world, without judgment, or fear? When was the last time you felt clarity in your heart, like you were being empowered and inspired to love yourself? What ignited that kind of beauty in your life? Chase that. Fill your life with those things, and those people.
Make sure that you are paying attention to the goodness, that you are taking inventory of all of the things that make you feel deeply. But make sure that you are paying attention to the opposite, too. Who makes you question yourself? Who makes you feel like you are hard to love? What do you do in life that genuinely lowers your energy, that drains you, or makes you feel like you aren’t good enough? What is stealing your joy, your ability to see yourself as someone who is deserving of the same love they give to others?
Cut yourself off from those things. Walk away from those things. Please, whatever you do — be honest with yourself about what hurts you, what makes you feel small, what isn’t serving you any longer, and have the courage to walk away. Not only does that feel empowering, but it will change your life, and create space for you to chase that which does set your soul on fire, that which does make you feel love for yourself and your life.
Remember — you deserve the love you give to others.
Think about all of the ways you love others, the ways you forgive and celebrate them. Think about all of the energy you expend being kind to others, being a good friend, being the kind of human being they can depend on. Think about the ways you encourage the people in your life, the ways you forgive them for their mistakes, the ways you motivate them to embrace their flaws, the ways you show them just how much they can be loved not only when they are shining examples of who they want to be, but when they aren’t themselves or when they’re going through difficulty. Think about all of the ways you love others unconditionally, and unapologetically, the way love pours out of you for everyone around you, how tender and how patient and how forgiving and how kind you are to those you care about.
Now ask yourself, why don’t you do that for yourself?
We show up so deeply for those in our lives and we forget to show up for ourselves. We love others so unconditionally, and we forget to give ourselves that same love. We forgive others for being human, for making mistakes, and we rarely do the same for ourselves. We speak kindness into those we love, we celebrate them and encourage them and we only ever want for them to have the sunniest, most beautiful, kind of happiness in their lives, and yet, we don’t afford ourselves the same tenderness. We don’t celebrate and encourage ourselves.
We have the capacity to be our own safe havens, we have the capacity to be our own home, we have the ability to encourage and care and love, but somewhere along our journeys, we convinced ourselves that we weren’t worthy of it. That we didn’t deserve it.
So this is your reminder — you are deserving of the love you give to everyone else around you. You are deserving of your forgiveness. You are deserving of your grace. Your kindness. Your tenderness. It’s time to take all of that belief and invest it into yourself. It’s time to see your own worthiness. It’s time.