love yourself

How to Love Yourself: 12 Insights from Therapists

Self-love has become a popular topic in today’s society, with countless articles on how to love yourself, social media influencers, and products promoting the idea. However, true self-love goes beyond inspirational quotes and affirmations. It involves accepting and embracing who you are, flaws and all. But how do you cultivate genuine self-love? In this article, we’ll explore insights from therapists on how to develop a healthy and authentic relationship with yourself or how to love yourself.

how to love yourself

1. Self-love as a Practice, Not a Destination

Self-love is not a destination that you reach and then never have to work on again. It is an ongoing practice that requires commitment and acceptance. Whitney Goodman, a licensed marriage and family therapist, emphasizes that self-love is not about perfection but rather about being kinder and more accepting of yourself.

It’s okay to have days when self-love feels challenging, just like in any long-term relationship. How to love yourself requires acknowledging your worth and treating yourself with kindness. The key is to persevere and make self-love a consistent practice in your life.

2. Defining Self-Love for Yourself

Self-love is a term that can mean different things to different people. It’s essential to define what self-love means to you personally. You don’t have to love everything about yourself but rather work towards acceptance and neutrality. Licensed clinical psychologist Alexandra Solomon suggests that self-love can involve commitment, perseverance, acceptance, or general neutrality. The important thing is to create a definition of self-love that resonates with you and aligns with your values and beliefs.

3. Loving Yourself Despite Reality

Loving yourself is a second step towards well-being, the first is to know how to love yourself, and it doesn’t mean you have to love every aspect of your reality. It’s about accepting and forgiving yourself, even when things don’t go as planned. Adia Gooden, a licensed clinical psychologist, highlights the importance of understanding that perfection is not a prerequisite for love.

How can I love myself involves celebrating my strengths and accepting my imperfections, fostering a sense of self-acceptance. Accepting your reality, whether it’s a job loss or a challenging situation, allows you to move forward without getting stuck in self-blame or negative self-talk. Self-forgiveness is also crucial in fostering self-love, as it allows you to learn and grow from past mistakes.

4. Challenging Negative Mental Narratives

Our minds have a tendency to create negative narratives about ourselves, often based on societal expectations and comparisons. Dr. Solomon suggests challenging these negative thoughts by sticking to the facts. Look for evidence that contradicts your negative self-talk and identify the origins of these thoughts. Many negative narratives stem from childhood conditioning or societal pressure. Breaking these patterns and reframing your thoughts can help cultivate self-love and a more positive self-image.

how to love yourself

5. The Impact of Oppression and Trauma

For individuals from marginalized or historically oppressed groups, cultivating self-love can be even more challenging. Societal messages that devalue certain identities can lead to internalized feelings of unworthiness. Survivors of trauma may struggle with shame and self-blame, making it difficult to believe they are deserving of love. Seeking support from a therapist who understands these unique experiences can be instrumental in navigating the journey toward self-love.

6. Setting Boundaries to Foster Self-Worth

Setting boundaries is an essential aspect of self-love. Dr. Solomon advises avoiding relationships and situations that trigger feelings of unworthiness. Recognize that you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. It may be necessary to end toxic relationships or establish clear boundaries with those who bring you down. Practicing self-love means prioritizing your well-being and surrounding yourself with people who support and uplift you.

how to love yourself

7. Embracing the Worthiness of Self-Love

Self-love is often misconstrued as self-centeredness or narcissism. However, self-love is the foundation for healthy relationships and personal growth. It allows you to show up authentically in your partnerships, parenthood, and work. Embracing self-love means acknowledging that it is not selfish but rather a worthwhile pursuit that benefits both yourself and those around you.

8. Cultivating Self-Love Through Self-Care

Self-care is a powerful tool in nurturing self-love. Taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being sends a message of love and worthiness to yourself. Engage in activities that bring you joy and make you feel good. To love yourself more, start by practicing self-love tips such as positive affirmations, setting boundaries, and prioritizing self-care. It’s essential to understand how to love yourself again by forgiving past mistakes and focusing on personal growth. Whether it’s taking a warm bath, going for a walk, or indulging in your favorite hobbies, prioritize self-care as an act of self-love.

how to love yourself

9. Embracing Imperfections and Growth

Accepting your imperfections is an integral part of self-love. None of us are perfect, and that’s okay. Recognize that making mistakes and experiencing setbacks is part of being human. Dr. Gooden advises learning from these experiences and using them as opportunities for growth. Self-love is about taking responsibility for your actions and using them as stepping stones towards a more fulfilling and authentic life.

10. Seeking Professional Support: How To Love Yourself?

Navigating the journey towards self-love can be challenging, and seeking professional support from a therapist can be immensely beneficial. A therapist can provide guidance, tools, and a safe space to explore your thoughts and emotions. They can help you unpack past trauma, challenge negative thought patterns, and develop strategies for cultivating self-love.

11. The Importance of Patience and Perseverance

Developing self-love is not an overnight process. It requires patience, persistence, and a willingness to do the inner work. forgive yourself, be gentle with yourself, knowing that self-love is a journey with ups and downs. Celebrate your progress and practice self-compassion when faced with setbacks. Remember that each step you take towards cultivating self-love brings you closer to a more fulfilling and authentic life and positivity.

12. Embracing a Lifetime of Self-Love

Self-love is not a destination but a lifelong commitment. As you continue on your journey, remember that self-love is not about achieving perfection or meeting society’s standards. It’s about embracing your true self, nurturing your well-being, and living a life aligned with your values. Cultivating self-love is an ongoing process that requires self-reflection, self-acceptance, and self-compassion.

how to love yourself

Practicing Self Love

Practicing self-love is a crucial aspect of maintaining good mental health and overall well-being. Loving myself means embracing self-acceptance, nurturing positivity, and acknowledging my self-worth. It involves recognizing the importance of prioritizing my own needs and taking the time for self-care and healing. Love yourself is not just a fleeting feeling but a continuous practice of self-compassion and understanding.

By loving myself, I can cultivate a mindset of positivity, which in turn contributes to a healthier mental state. Embracing self-love also means surrounding myself with people and activities that uplift and inspire me, reinforcing the message of acceptance and self-worth. Engaging in practices that promote loving myself is a powerful tool for nurturing a positive and resilient mindset, essential for maintaining good mental health and emotional well-being.

how to love yourself


how to love yourself and practice self-love involves engaging in activities that bring you joy, surrounding yourself with supportive individuals, and engaging in positive self-talk; cultivating genuine self-love is a transformative journey that involves acceptance, forgiveness, and personal growth. By practicing self-love as a lifelong commitment, setting boundaries, challenging negative narratives, and seeking professional support when needed, you can develop a healthy and authentic relationship with yourself. Remember, self-love is not selfish or superficial; it is the foundation for a fulfilling and meaningful life. How to start loving yourself is about fostering a nurturing relationship with yourself and realizing that you deserve love and kindness just as much as anyone else.

Is self-love something I achieve once, or do I have to keep working on it?

Self-love is an ongoing journey; it requires consistent effort and reflection. It’s not a destination but a continuous process.

How do setting boundaries contribute to self-love?

-Establishing boundaries ensures you prioritize your well-being, fostering a healthy relationship with yourself. It’s a crucial aspect of maintaining a balanced and fulfilling life.

Why is gratitude important for self-love?

Expressing gratitude for your achievements reinforces a positive mindset, contributing to a deeper sense of self-love. It helps you appreciate your journey

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