The Art Of Loving Yourself


“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”  – Buddha

Why is it that we can fall head over heels in love with a perfect stranger, in a heartbeat, yet when it comes to loving ourselves, we can endlessly struggle?

Self-love is something I personally battled with for the majority of my teens, and early twenties. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I couldn’t help but compare myself to all the girls I encountered daily, and believed were prettier, smarter, and more popular than me. I often wished I could wake up as somebody else. Anybody else.

And it breaks my heart that I just wrote that. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone.

Today, you’ll be met with a bubbly, positive, and confident young woman. But the journey to get to where I find myself now has not been an easy one. I didn’t wake up one day, and miraculously feel like an unstoppable Goddess. It took years of changing bad habits, practising new ones, confronting my fears, and learning to believe in myself no matter what.

I want you to know that if I can learn to love myself, I believe with all my heart that you can too.

And you must.

Realise that you are enough

The trouble is that you’re so used to being you, that you can’t see yourself the way that the rest of the world sees you. You are lovely, and you are kind. You are smart, you are funny, you are brave, and you are brilliant. You are magic, and you are raw beauty.

Wherever you may be as you read this, I want you to know that you are enough. Contrary to what the world and your inner demons might have you believe, you are so much more than enough.

Forgive yourself & others

We all make mistakes, so quit being so hard on yourself. Mistakes are a valuable way to learn and grow – so please, make plenty.

We are all simply human beings navigating this crazy thing called life.

Learn to forgive others who have hurt you and caused you pain. When you forgive, you allow your heart to let go of the pain that you are carrying around with you – and it does not belong there. Make room for more love.

Do what makes your heart happy

We only get one shot at living our lives. One chance, one opportunity to make a difference, chase our dreams, and write an incredible legacy.

Ten years from now, you won’t look back and be happy that you stayed in your unfulfilling 9-5, that you said no to exploring the world, or that you didn’t at least try and turn your dreams into a reality. Ten years from now, you’ll wish you started living the life you’ve always imagined today.

Understand that nobody is perfect

Everyone has their own battles, their own struggles, and their own demons that they are waking up to each day, and fighting. On the surface, you might think that somebody has the perfect life – success, money, and love – but the truth is, you don’t know them. You don’t know the journey they have been on to get where they are now, and you don’t know what they might be facing right now.

Nobody is perfect, and the perfect life does not exist. The day you realise this, is the day you will stop punishing yourself for not living up to impossible ideas of perfection.

Stop looking for love externally

Don’t look for love in a friend, or a partner, before you have learned to love yourself. Because nobody is meant to complete you. You are meant to be whole on your own.

If you’re not quite there yet, don’t worry. It will take months, maybe even years of changing your current beliefs.

If ever you are in need of love, look within you. Everything you could ever need has been waiting patiently in your heart all along.

Tell yourself you’re beautiful

Wherever you might be right now – find a mirror, in your handbag, on your wall, or even on your phone. Study the person staring back at you. Think of everything you’ve been through that has led you to this moment. Think of all your accomplishments, your successes, and your fondest memories. Think about everything you’ve faced, and overcome. Think about all of the things that you like about yourself. All of the qualities that make you so incredibly special.

Wherever you might be right now, I want you to look in to the nearest mirror, and say, “I am beautiful.” Say it more than once, say it over and over, shout it, sing it, embody it.

Practise gratitude

Do you have any idea how amazing it is right now that you are alive? That you are able to be here reading this? Probably not, because the real chances of you being here are so incredibly minute, we cannot begin to fathom it.

You might be having a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year. But life is merely how you decide to look at it. Choose to practise gratitude. Be thankful for all of the wonderful things you have, instead of wasting time thinking about what you don’t.

Find your tribe

Don’t worry if you haven’t found them yet, I promise you that your tribe is out there. Stop spending time with people who aren’t making you truly happy, merely to make up the numbers.

Spend time with positive people. People who challenge and inspire you to be better each day. People who will always tell you the truth, even when it’s hard. People who are kind and selfless. People who will lift you up.

When you surround yourself with kind and loving spirits, those thoughts, feelings, and energy will transfer to you.

Stop being so hard on yourself

You’re doing better than you think you are. I promise you that.

If you want to do and be better, great. Start now. But don’t beat yourself up for what you yet managed to achieve. Focus on everything that you have done well. Everything that makes you proud to be you.

Take yourself on a date

So what if you don’t have a romantic partner right now? So what if you do? There is no better way to show yourself some much needed attention and love, than to plan and take yourself out on a solo date. Enjoy a fabulous candle-lit dinner alone, with a good book, or simply your thoughts. Pack a picnic full of your favourite eats and treats, and savour it in a pretty park. Go and see that movie that nobody wants to see, and love every moment of it.

Don’t be afraid of your own company. Spending quality time with yourself is the best way to begin and strengthen your self-love journey.


Even if you don’t love writing – spend regular time journaling and daydreaming. Reflect on your days, what went well, and what you want to improve on. You will begin to notice patterns in the way you think and behave. Once you know what these patterns are, you will be able to understand more about the person you are, and why you are that way.

If self-love is something you struggle with, this will pinpoint why and where you are struggling, so you can begin to overcome this.

Honour & cherish who you are

“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Don’t try and change the real you, in order to fit into other people’s skewed views of what is ‘normal’, ‘acceptable’, or ‘beautiful’. You are you, and you are beautiful. Never let the world dull your sparkle. Your soul will shine brightest in its natural form.

You do you. Forget everyone else. The sooner you realise that you are here on earth do something utterly unique, the sooner you will learn to celebrate your differences. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Sometimes, all it takes is one book. One book that turns your world upside down. One book that changes your entire life.

Bloom by Shani Jay available here.

About the author

Shani Jayawardena

I hold a mirror to your soul, so you can see how beautiful you are

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