Learning to Love Yourself: 5 Recommendations

July 4, 2018

Learning to love yourself is very important for your emotional health. If being positive towards others has important advantages, being positive with yourself is fundamental. After all, you have to live with yourself for your whole life.

To love oneself is to value oneself, meaning that practicing self-love is something like exercising a healthy selfishness where you prioritize and treat yourself well. It comes from recognizing who you are and accepting your strengths as well as your shortcomings.

Furthermore, only when you learn to love and nurture yourself as if you were your own child, you can give love to others. If you underestimate yourself, you’ll never be able to develop a feeling of self-confidence and your self-esteem will be shattered. Loving yourself is a priority.

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?”

-Rabbi Hillel-

Many people think that they don’t love themselves. This, in part, isn’t true. We love ourselves because it’s impossible not to since we are only one person on the sending and receiving ends. However, there are people who still think they don’t love themselves. Actually, what they mean by that is that there are certain parts of themselves or their personality that they don’t like.

You can also feel that you don’t love yourself when you feel regret or shame over something you said or thought. This is quite normal because you’re not perfect. Everyone has imperfections, and you have to learn to deal with yours. But this isn’t a reason to stop loving and valuing yourself.

a paper heart

Characteristics of people with low self-esteem

Low self-esteem receives a lot of bad press. Many psychological problems can arise from it. In fact, it’s associated with dependency problems, an excessive need for approval, and disorders such as anxiety and depression.

People with low self-esteem, in addition to treating themselves badly, tend to look down on and belittle others. That is, they project their own feelings about themselves onto others. In addition, they:

  • Constantly seek the approval of others.
  • Want to control others.
  • Suffer mistreatment by partners, colleagues or friends.
  • Create dependent relationships with people, institutions, causes, or substances.
  • Have distorted thoughts.
  • Have feelings of self-dissatisfaction, self-hate, self-disgust, and contempt.

As you can see, low self-esteem comes with a series of interpersonal, work-related, or other kinds of problems.

Low self-esteem may be the source of some psychological disorders

Learning to love yourself protects you from mental illness. In fact, low self-esteem facilitates depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and body image disorders.

In the elderly, low self-esteem has been associated with bad health, greater handicaps, greater anxiety, depression, and more pain. Also, low self-esteem can be a risk factor for suicide. However, in each case, it’s one of the many factors that make up the root cause. This means that self-esteem on its own isn’t responsible for an eating disorder, for example.

5 recommendations that can help you learn to love yourself

Learning to love yourself is intimately linked with self-esteem. You can use a series of strategies to improve it, which are the following:

Speak positively to yourself

The way you talk to yourself has consequences. If you criticize and blame yourself continuously, you’ll feel bad. Now, if you treat yourself with respect and be aware of the language you use, you’ll feel much better.

Judging yourself rigidly prevents you from growing and advancing. It’s important to learn to see your positive aspects and be happy for them, as well as accept your shortcomings. Trying to change them to be perfect is the same as pretending not to be human. In fact, change is only possible if you accept them.

Take care of your body and soul

The body and soul cannot be separated. What is good for one is good for the other. This means that taking care of yourself both physically and spiritually will lead to well-being.

A balanced diet, a good night’s sleep, doing exercise every week, listening to pleasant music, walking through nature, or having a candlelight dinner with someone important to you are some of the things that can make you feel better. Do any activity or hobby that nourishes your body and soul.

Treat mistakes as learning opportunities, instead of punishing yourself

Once you make a mistake it’s useless to punish yourself for it. We all make mistakes, and we have to accept them as part of our lives. Yes, of course it’s better if you don’t make mistakes, but pretending that you never do is lying to yourself.

There’s a lesson behind every mistake, an opportunity to learn to do things differently. It’s better to focus on the lesson, instead of beating yourself up about it.

Learning to love yourself involves learning from mistakes and extracting the hidden lesson from each of them.

Kick contradictory messages to the curb

A contradictory message is a compliment and criticism at the same time. It’s very common for people with low self-esteem to do this. For example, a contradictory message could be “You did this really well, but you took forever to do it”.

Kick these contradictory messages to the curb and turn them into grateful self-compliments. Just drop the criticism. For example: “I feel really good about the work I did”.

Go to a healthy place, build healthy relationships, and do healthy activities

Healthy places are where you recover your serenity and pleasure of living. They can be mountains, a sea, a park… Now, if you stay at home, surround yourself only with what is useful and pleasant. If you need to, reorganize your house. In some way, this will help you reorder your life.

Healthy people are those whose presence and company gives you peace and energy. Connect with people you’re comfortable with and avoid toxic relationships.

On the other hand, healthy activities are pleasant activities that give you the necessary strength to cope with the stress of everyday life. Reading a good book, watching a movie, playing sports or just resting are examples of this.

As you can see, learning to love yourself is fundamental. Now, like all skills, it requires dedication. Supporting, taking care of, and valuing yourself are essential to a good emotional health. It’s the means by which you can build a happy life.