"I Love Me": Learning To Love Yourself
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated February 17, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault
Do you ever feel like it's selfish to think about loving yourself? Do you feel like your focus should always be on other people and not too much on yourself? Do you struggle with feeling like you're good enough and that you don't compare and measure up to everyone else? If you can identify with these statements, then it's time to learn how to love yourself. Take a moment and say out loud to yourself, "I love me".
Loving yourself is not selfish. In fact, it's necessary for you to be able to have healthy relationships with other people and with yourself. If you struggle with loving yourself, then you most likely suffer from having low self-esteem. You don't recognize your strengths and you have a hard time feeling good about yourself unless someone else is helping to build you up at the moment.
This is not a way that anyone should be living. There are so many things about you that are great and it's important that you learn how to recognize what they are. Only when you truly love yourself and have good self-esteem and self-confidence will you be able to truly build healthy relationships that you can enjoy.
What Is Self-Love?
Self-love is exactly like it sounds. It's simply loving yourself. It's also how you feel about yourself when no one else is around and no one else's opinion matters. In order to have self-love, you have to be able to feel good about yourself and have good self-esteem. This has to be something that comes from within you and not from an exterior source. It's a lot easier to feel good about yourself at times when other people are building you up, complimenting you, and reassuring you of your worth. But when you have self-love you understand your worth and value as a person without having to be reminded by someone else.
Why Learning To Love Yourself Is Important
Learning to love yourself is important because if you can't do that, you cannot properly show love to anyone else. Your lack of love for yourself is going to constantly get in the way of your relationships and cause problems. Here are some of the ways that this happens:
You Become Needy For Approval
When you don't love yourself, you start looking for other people to love you in order to build up your self-esteem. This can lead to things like codependency. You look for ways that you can help do things for someone so they will appreciate you and need you. If this is where your sense of self-worth and love is coming from, then it's a good idea to talk with a therapist to learn how to break these behavioral habits.
People don't want to feel like you are doing things for them just because of what you can get out of it, even if it's just something like a compliment or appreciation.
If you're in a relationship with someone and you are constantly trying to get him or her to build you up and make you feel good about yourself, it can become exhausting for the other person. On the other hand, self-love and confidence is an attractive thing.
It Gives You The Confidence You Need In Life
If you're always comparing yourself to other people and feeling like you don't measure up, your confidence is going to take a major blow. Having a lack of self-confidence is going to make it difficult for you to pursue your dreams and the things that you want to do in life.
If you don't love yourself, it's going to be hard for you to value yourself and think that you're worthy of having the things that you want to achieve in life. This lack of confidence can hold you back from ever getting started on the path that would help you to accomplish your dreams.
It Allows Other People To Love You
If you don't love yourself, why are other people going to love you? When you constantly put out to the world that you are not worthy of your own love, other people are going to wonder why you would be worthy of their love.
If you want to have a healthy relationship with someone and build a future, you need to be able to love yourself. The show's other people how you expect to be treated and that you are worth their time and attention.
How Do I Learn To Love Myself?
If you struggle with loving yourself, take a few minutes to think back to where that might stem from. For many people, it comes from experiences that they've had in their childhood.
It may be mistreatment that you received, abandonment, or having parents that constantly argued. Many times, when someone has a hard time loving himself, it's because this example was either modeled for him or it's how he was made to feel when he was a child.
But even if you can't pinpoint exactly where it came from, you can still address it.
Improve Your Self-Talk
Learning how to improve your self-talk is an important step to overcoming low self-esteem and learning how to love yourself. This might be difficult if you're not used to doing this but take a moment and list out 10 things that are good about you. It doesn't matter how long it takes you to come up with it, make sure that you get your list down. It could be that you're a great cook, you're a good listener, you are good at your job, you're smart, or you're a good athlete. The list could go on and on. Choose 10 things about yourself that are good. Then every day, stand in front of a mirror and say those things about yourself while you look at yourself. This helps you to start focusing on the positive things about yourself instead of the negative.
An article on a particular site also stresses the importance of thinking about your self-talk. It suggests that before thinking anything about yourself, you see if you would think it about a friend. We are often a lot harsher on ourselves than we would be on a friend. If you wouldn't say it to a friend or about a friend, then don't say it about yourself either.
Choose Your Thoughts
Many people don't realize that you're able to choose and control the thoughts that are in your head. If you're not in the habit of doing this, you're in the habit of thinking about whatever just happens to be in your head. You don't have to do this.
Start to think about what you're thinking about. If you realize that you're thinking negative things about yourself or things that would negatively impact your self-esteem or your ability to love yourself, then change your thoughts and replace it with something positive.
Learn To Forgive Yourself
You could be struggling with loving yourself because you are overwhelmed with guilt and shame from things in your past. It could be hurt other people or made mistakes that lead to consequences for yourself.
Whatever these things are that you're holding on to, they're holding you back from living the life that you could. Just as important as being able to forgive other people is being able to forgive yourself. In fact, learning how to forgive yourself often makes you more forgiving of others as well.
It can be helpful to take some time to journal about the situations and the things that you aren't forgiving yourself for. Allow yourself to process through the emotions and feelings that you have from the situations. Writing it all down can help you get it out of your head. Then you need to forgive yourself and be able to move forward. This doesn't mean that whatever it was, that things are just okay and it doesn't mean that you're going to not have any consequences from them. It just means that you can't stay stuck in guilt and shame. It's impossible to learn how to love yourself when you do this, which will make it difficult for you to love others and them to love you as well.
This can also make you feel like you're not deserving of other people's love.
Track Your Successes
Another way to really build up your self-esteem, confidence and learn how to love yourself is to track the successes that you have on a daily basis. At the end of the day make a list of at least three things that you have succeeded at in the day. They could be very simple things like making a healthy dinner or they could be far more complicated things like closing a big deal at work. It doesn't matter how big or little it is, it just matters that you track it and celebrate it. When you do this often enough, it will help you to really build your confidence and self-love.
What If I Don't Love Myself?
If you are struggling with being able to love yourself, then you should talk to a therapist. BetterHelp has online therapists that are available to talk to you at times that work the best for you. You don't have to take time to drive to an office or schedule an appointment month in advance.
Therapists can help you learn important skills to develop healthy self-esteem and self-love. This is an important step to take in your light so you can go after all the things that you really want and open up opportunities to find love as well.