How to Build Self-love

March 13, 2019

Do you find yourself self-sabotaging or not doing things that are good for you because you don't think you're worth it? Do you feel uncomfortable every time you try to say an affirmation about yourself? Here are five tips for learning how to build self-love and change your relationship with yourself.

1. You don't need to like yourself to love yourself.  You love your dog even if it pees on the carpet. You love your family even if they're insane and make you want to flee to another planet. Love isn't worship or approval or appreciation--it's something you extend to someone else because you hold space for the feeling for them despite their shortcomings. Don't worry about whether there are things about yourself you don't like, or even if you just don't like you. Give yourself the same benefit of the doubt you give to other people, and see how you grow with the nourishment of any amount of affection you can shower on yourself.

2. Embrace your shadow. So much of the time we want to be perfect, or think that we'd love ourself if only we weren't something or other. But we all have parts that embarrass us, that got shoved under the carpet when we were little so we could make ourselves look more lovable to others. These are parts of us, though, and just as deserving of love as the "good" parts. You need to integrate all your parts in order to be whole, not pretend they don't exist.

3. Look yourself in the eye. We all like to be seen and acknowledged by others, and this is just as true when it comes to seeing ourselves. It makes a huge difference, if you're saying affirmations or complimenting yourself, to stand in front of a mirror and look yourself in the eye. 

4. Court yourself. When we talk about self-love, it's often in terms of the end-feeling, not the action. But how does anyone believe you love them unless you treat them that way, whatever "that way" is? We tend to amp up the loving action when we're dating someone, because we want them to know we think they're special. Why not treat yourself that way? Buy yourself flowers. Dress up for yourself. Go on a date šŸ™‚

5. Identify and terminate limiting beliefs. Many of the reasons we don't love ourselves sometimes aren't even ours! They're beliefs about ourselves we've carried with us since childhood or from judgements we've accumulated over the course of our lives. If you can find those beliefs ("I'm not good enough") is a common one and work at them until they fall away, you'll find yourself much more lovable. This is the kind of work that it's easier to do with some form of accountability and help, such as with a coach.