An Introduction on How to Love Yourself
“How do I love myself?”
We see this call for help everywhere these days, but why? Why are we finding it so hard to love ourselves?
The good news is that we don’t need to know the “why.”
There are many reasons why someone may not feel like they love themselves, but we don’t need to understand its genesis in order to move forward.
For those who don’t “feel the love,” this can be a tricky situation because you may think of loving yourself as something you can do directly, but if the internal spiritual-emotional infrastructure hasn’t been built yet, you won’t have the ability.
This is why many are confounded because they try to love themselves, but it’s like asking a blind* person to visually enjoy the beauty of a sunset. The ability is simply not there.
*“Blind” in this instance can mean figurative or literal.
“As far as inner transformation is concerned, there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot transform yourself, and you certainly cannot transform your partner or anybody else. All you can do is create a space for transformation to happen, for grace and love to enter.”
– Eckhart Tolle
As Tolle points out in the quote above, you cannot transform yourself. This includes trying to love yourself when you don’t know how. All you can do is create the conditions (infrastructure) for transformation to occur.
This is done through an indirect, but related, set of practices that collectively create the right conditions for self-love to arise naturally.
It’s like making bread – you technically don’t make the bread, there’s a chemical process that occurs. You simply create the right conditions for the bread to rise. The elements of this process are information, ingredients, and action.
- First, you need a recipe (information).
- Then you assemble flour, water, yeast, and salt (ingredients).
- Finally, you prepare the food according to the recipe (action).
Any kind of transformation, including self-love, is the same way. First, you need to find a recipe, assemble the right ingredients, and then take the next indicated action. This creates the right conditions for transformation to arise.
Terms related to self-love:
- Self-love: Regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.
- Self-esteem: Confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.
- Self-compassion: Extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. Dr. Kristin Neff has defined self-compassion as being composed of three main components: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.
- Self-confidence: A feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.
- Pride: A feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
It’s important to mention that these concepts, like most things related to the human condition, aren’t one-dimensional. That is to say, there are multiple expressions and definitions of each of these. I offered definitions so you can see the nuance and interconnectedness of self-love concepts.
What is the recipe for self-love?
The main “ingredient” and primary “action” is an ancient practice known as mindfulness meditation.
(you are receiving the “information” portion of the recipe now)
There are several other practices I could list that help build the infrastructure mentioned above; however, meditation by itself is more potent than all others combined.
Meditation is the perfect vehicle for us to sail past all the superficial crap (who we think we are) and go directly to the source of who/what we truly are. Pure consciousness.
It is in the stillness deep within us that we find our authentic self, and by visiting and connecting to that place repeatedly, we forge a stronger bond with our true self. A natural consequence of this practice is that we can’t help but not start to see our true self and love what we see. We begin to love ourselves.
This is possible in part because all the superficial crap in our heads has momentarily faded away.
Some of you may be saying, “But I already meditate and still don’t love myself.” My suspicion is that you are like 90-95 percent of the population who says that they meditate, but if we look closer, only five to 10 percent actually meditate daily, without missing days in the same way most of us don’t miss our daily shower.
So if you do meditate, I encourage you to commit to a daily practice of 20+ minutes per session. For the real magic to occur, meditate twice a day.
Don’t know how to meditate? Here’s a simple meditation to get you started …
5-Minute Self-Love Morning Meditation
Try this powerful morning meditation 30 minutes after waking:
- Sit upright with your eyes closed.
- Take three slow, deep cleansing breaths; breathe in “more,” breathe out “love.”
- Breathe naturally and notice the sensations of breathing for the count of ten.
- In your mind’s eye, visualize another “you” walking up and giving you a big warm hug.
- Hold this feeling in your awareness, and stay there as long as you like.
- Thank this other “you” for showing up, and bring your attention back to the breath.
23 Quotes About Loving Yourself
For extra credit, choose your three favorites and make post-it notes on your fridge, bathroom mirror, or somewhere you can see them everyday:
- “The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” —Virtually all wise people
- “Find the love you seek, by first finding the love within yourself. Learn to rest in that place within you that is your true home.” —Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
- “Beauty is when you can appreciate yourself. When you love yourself, that’s when you’re most beautiful.” —Zoe Kravitz
- “Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” —Rumi
- “Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it. Whatever you are feeling, love yourself for feeling it.” —Thaddeus Golas
- “It’s not your job to like me…it’s MINE!” —Byron Katie
- “Our entire life … consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are.” —Jean Anouih
- “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” —Thich Nhat Hanh
- “Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” —Malcolm S. Forbe
- “Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.” —Eleanor Roosevelt
- “My willingness to be intimate with my own deep feelings creates the space for intimacy with another.” —Shakti Gawain
- “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.” —Maxwell Maltz
- “You’re always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company.” —Diane Von Furstenberg
- “We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.” —Mary Dunbar
- “You cannot be lonely if you like the person you`re alone with.” —Wayne Dyer
- “Your problem is you’re… too busy holding onto your unworthiness.” —Ram Dass
- “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” —Eleanor Roosevelt
- “It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.” —Sally Field
- “I think everybody’s weird. We should all celebrate our individuality and not be embarrassed or ashamed of it.” —Johnny Depp
- “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassions, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” —Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
- “When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits – anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.” —Kim McMillen
- “You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.” —Yogi Bhajan
If you liked these quotes on self-love, check out our inspirational quotes here.