Why Is Self Love Important?

Do you love yourself? What does self-love mean? How do you show it?

We asked 25 experts “Why is self-love important?”

Below are their top insights.

Diane Petrella, MSW

Diane Petrella

Licensed Psychotherapist | Life Coach | Reiki practitioner

Self-love is the gift that keeps on giving

Do you say yes when you really mean no? Do you break promises to yourself or neglect your self-care? Is it hard to put yourself first?

If so, it’s time to give yourself the most important gift ever: Self-love.

Self-love is your secret weapon to living a fulfilling life. That’s because your inner world creates your outer world.

Before you can receive love and respect from others, you need to love and respect yourself.

When you make decisions out of guilt, a need to please or to avoid conflict, you overvalue the needs of others and disrespect yourself.

This conveys—to yourself and those around you—that you accept very little. That doesn’t feel very good, does it?

Some people equate self-love with selfishness. But that’s not true.

When you think this way, it becomes hard to take good care of yourself. Delete that limiting belief from your mind.

Create a new belief that echoes in your ear: “It’s okay to put my needs first.” Repeat often.

The good news is when you love yourself fully you feed your soul and become the highest version of yourself.

It feels natural to take good care of your body, mind, and spirit.

Love begets love so you’re drawn to give to others. You have the energy to give and in turn, giving energizes you.

Everyone benefits. As cliché as it sounds, self-love is the gift that keeps on giving.

And what’s more important than that?

Kerri-Anne Brown, LMHC

Kerri Brown

Licensed Mental Health Counselor | Founder, Healing with Wisdom

Self-love is important for numerous reasons. It has a profound impact on how we see ourselves and how we treat ourselves.

Everyone needs self-love. While it’s great to be on the receiving end of love from others, it’s also important to practice self-love daily.

Self-love allows you to fill in the gaps external sources of love may leave

No one has a better understanding of your innermost thoughts and needs than you do. Even when you try to share with others how you feel, they may empathize and show compassion, but they’ll never quite experience life the same way you do.

The number of people who know you better than you know yourself is probably very slim if existent at all.

Self-love motivates you to make healthy choices in life

When you hold yourself in high esteem, you’re more likely to choose things that nurture your well-being and serve you well.

These things may be in the form of eating healthy, exercising or having healthy relationships. You express your love for yourself by doing things that help you to show up in life as the best version of you.

Self-love is important also when it comes to setting boundaries in relationships

Having a clear understanding of what your boundaries are and being able to set them, communicates that you value yourself. As a result, you’re more likely to have more fulfilling relationships.

Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for the relationships you have with others. When you treat yourself with love and respect, you give others permission to do the same.

Tamica Sears

Tamica Sears

Senior Human Resources Business Partner, USA Today | Certified Executive Coach, Sears Coaching

Without self-love, you drastically decrease your ability to be successful at anything

I have seen firsthand a lack of self-love can derail someone’s career and chances for success. How many highly successful people do you think look in the mirror every day and say, “Ugh, I hate myself”. It is as simple as that.

Without self-love, you drastically decrease your ability to be successful at anything. Failed businesses, relationships, ideas, all stem from a lack of self-love.

Read related article: How to be Successful? [23 Keys to Success in Life]

When you have self-love, you understand who you are at the core of your being and you accept who are, flaws and all.

Self-acceptance has, over and over again, been shown to be a key indicator of success. Self-love is the next step after self-acceptance imagine how vital that is the success and true happiness in any aspect of your life.

The process of achieving self-love may look different for each person but there are some key steps that everyone needs to take:

Figure out what you’re good at and what you’re not

Don’t kill yourself trying to get rid of “weakness”. Understand that no one is good at everything and work on improving your strengths.

Eliminate toxic relationships

The road to loving yourself is going to be extremely bumpy if you are trying to get there with toxic people in your life.

Get rid of stinking thinking

Find ways that work for you to challenge your inner critic and bash negative self-talk.

Move forward with authenticity

If you are at a place in life where you have to hide parts of yourself to get along make the necessary changes so that you can be your true, authentic self everywhere you go.

If you can’t do that at work, find a new job. It takes way too much energy to wear a mask every day.

Treat yourself well

Take time to appreciate yourself. Congratulate yourself on a job well done. Have a great meal, go do something fun.

Once you find your sense of self and become more self-aware and develop true self-love, opportunities will present themselves.

The only thing standing between you and true success and happiness is yourself. Go get some self-love, you deserve it!

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew

Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew

Author | Speaker | Trainer | Consultant, Soulstice Consultancy

I think self-love is critical.

I believe it is hard to love others well when you do not take the time to understand who you are and embrace your story.

The goal isn’t to change your narrative to fit. The goal is to understand how your narrative shapes who you are and contributes to your identity.

So many relationships are unhealthy and unbalanced because individuals are seeking others to make them complete.

When you love yourself, you can bring that story with its good, bad, and ugly elements to the relationship without diminishing who you are but allowing others to do the same.

We can then make decisions without expectations of someone saving us because we realize others can enhance our journeys but not complete us.

Maria Leonard Olsen

Maria Leonard Olsen

Civil Litigation Attorney | Show Host | Author, 50 After 50–Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life

No one is responsible for their own happiness but themselves

Too often we look for outside affirmations to determine our sense of worth. I am a recovering people-pleaser who constantly put the needs and wants of others before my own. It took me decades to learn how to love myself.

Related: What Makes People Happy? 10 Things That Make You Happy Every Day

And it was only when I practiced self-love that I was able to be in healthy, balanced relationships. I wish I had realized this much earlier in life.

Jenn Bovee, LCSW, CRADC, CCHt

Jenn Bovee

Psychotherapist | Author | Life Coach

Self-love is such an important concept in every living being’s life.

When we have a solid foundation of self-love it puts us in the position to be able to take better care of ourselves, allows us to enact more solid boundaries, allows us to show up for ourselves more authentically, and allows us to be more present in our relationships.

Having a foundation of self-love allows us to achieve our goals easier, allows us to engage in relationships that we are worthy of (versus abusive or neglectful relationships), and it can allow you to be more compassionate towards others.

Operating from a place of self-love can give us the strength and courage to make it through times of adversity without having to engage in self-abuse or neglect.

When we have some amount of self-love it helps us to be able to enjoy downtime, enjoy the important things in life, and to be present in our personal relationships more authentically.

The reality is that when we are working from a foundation that is not built on self-love the following situations and experiences occur: self-neglect, self-abuse, tolerating abuse or neglect from others, creates money and opportunity barriers, it blocks us from really showing up for ourselves and enjoying our life.

Lack of self-love creates an increase in shame, toxicity, fatigue, and exhaustion.

Rori Sassoon

Rori Sassoon

NYC’s Relationship Expert | Co-founder, Platinum Poire

Self-love and alone time are essential to having a healthy relationship

You have to love and appreciate yourself before you can love someone else. When it is clear that you treat yourself well and have love, respect, and appreciation for yourself, it sets the tone for how your partner should treat you.

When you take time to care for yourself and give yourself what you need, you are a much better partner, friend, etc.

You’re less dependent on waiting for others to fulfill you. When you already validate yourself, you don’t need other people to make you feel like you are good enough.

What a disaster it is to walk around like you need someone else to complete you when you are whole, complete, and validated independently.

Treat yourself and practice self-love by meditating, doing yoga, getting a massage, etc.

Melissa Okabe

Melissa Okabe

Yoga Instructor

Below are 5 reasons why is self-love so important:

It helps prevent burnout

Practicing self-care starts with slowing down and taking the time to take care of yourself from the inside out.

Too often in modern society, we can all get wrapped up in the hustle of our careers, family or social responsibilities, financial duties, and so much more.

It’s a rat-race to achieve, achieve, achieve.

However, along the way as we push forward without rest or time for reflection, “burn-out”, physical or emotional exhaustion can be experienced, and frustration and disappointment may occur when we don’t “achieve” what we are aiming for.

It keeps us present

Part of getting to the heart of self-care is taking a pause, giving ourselves permission to take a break, refilling our hearts with wellness, and finding self-acceptance for ourselves at this moment.

Practicing Yoga can help with this because it helps to anchor you to the present moment.

With awareness centralized on the breath (connected and linked to movements, yoga poses, asanas), yoga encourages practitioners to meet the moment here and now, to learn to let go of over attaching (or achieving)- and that all starts with the breath.

As Rolf Gates (a well-known meditation teacher) says in his book Meditations from the Mat “Can you be content with simply being with your breath… meeting each new moment openly and receptively with the inhale, and letting that moment pass just as freely on the exhale?”

It teaches acceptance

Acts of self-care such as breath work (or pranayama) or the physical practice of yoga (doing the poses/ asanas) are also a reflection of self-love and acceptance.

It teaches acceptance and emotional self-care, because there will always be times when you fall out of a pose (and pick yourself up), or meet a challenging pose head-on (not with frustration, but with compassion towards yourself and acceptance that you are doing your best at this moment, and it is enough).

It provides a space for introspection and self-reflection

As it is said, “Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths or the turning inwards in prayer [or self-reflection] for five short minutes.” (~ Etty Hillesum, Writer)

Self-care in the form of yoga or meditation can help to quiet the mind, to turn our gaze inward, and to give us the pause needed to really think clearly.

It cultivates a mindset of gratitude

Acts of self-care are “feel-good” in nature and help to create a clean mental slate and firm emotional foundation from which to continue forward from.

When we take care of ourselves whether, through yoga, meditation, massage, a walk through nature etc., it’s a chance to practice listening to ourselves, to cultivate intuition, self-acceptance, and wisdom.

It can often be that “reset” button needed to shift our perspective and mindset to a more positive outlook, and sustained over time, can lead to a major positive shift within us, to re-focus on the good rather than the negative- to be thankful for what is rather than what is perceived to be lacking.

Lori Ann King

Lori Ann King

Author | Instructor | Speaker | Wellness Consultant

Self-love was a powerful component to health and wellness

Most religions and spiritual traditions teach a version of the principles “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” It’s the premise of showing the same kindness to others that we want to be shown to us.

The problem is, we don’t love ourselves enough, which adds to our stress levels.

So often, women especially, we hate our symptoms and our bodies. But the last thing any of us needs is hate, especially when it comes to ourselves.

Think of a child who falls and skins her knee. Her caregiver jumps in with gentle kindness and kisses the boo-boo to make it better.

What if the stress and symptoms and fatigue and feelings of overwhelm are our bodies’ ways of saying, “Hey? Love me. Hug me. Nurture me. Think good things about me. Get more rest. Stop feeding me that.” Are we listening?

Self-love is the act of taking care of ourselves, which includes taking care of our bodies and health.

Self-love is showing respect for ourselves and our well-being.

Self-love is taking responsibility for our happiness.

Self-love is accepting and embracing all the past, present, and future.

I love my body and all it’s been through, even when it doesn’t look or feel its best.

I love the miracle of breathing that I experience every day. I recognize that I woke up, I opened my eyes, and I am making positive progress toward true health and balanced wellness every day.

There are some aspects of my body, emotions, and life that I don’t always like. I love myself anyway. I love my future self, the person I am becoming, and the human being right now who is lovable just because she exists. She is more than enough.

Susan Golicic, PhD


Certified Relationship Coach | Co-founder, Uninhibited Wellness

Self-love is important because it is the root of all love.

If one doesn’t love themselves, they cannot fully give love to others and cannot receive love from others.

Self-love is the confidence and belief that one is lovable and can love.

Without self-love, people often rely on others for feelings of worth and acceptance – and that is not something others can provide. That can only come from within.

When someone doesn’t love themselves, they may be critical and bring others down to where they are to feel better rather than selflessly lifting people up.

Maya Angelou said, “I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.” That is like a naked person offering you a shirt (old African proverb).

Emyrald Sinclaire

Emyrald Sinclaire

Love Coach | Author | Inspirational speaker

Many women don’t actually see their value and their worth.

And THAT is what is getting in their way to manifesting an amazing partnership, landing a job that they adore, having thousands of dollars in the bank account and/or traveling the world full-time just because she wants to.

It’s one thing to DESIRE a man who treats you like a Queen, but if you’re not actually treating yourself that way, nor do you see your own value, you will never attract in someone who does the same.

And it’s the exact same thing for a job or lifestyle. You have to be the one to decide that you are worthy of it before you will ever manifest it.

Which is why what I teach always starts with self-love.

When you raise your opinion of yourself, you raise your value, which means every single thing in your life will up-level as well!

My clients come to me in order to manifest a loving and supportive partnership. But the side effect of ‘doing the work’ is that everything in your life changes!

My clients have reported getting a promotion, landing a five-figure client, getting raises, finding the dream apartment in Manhattan and on and on.

And what did I teach them? To love themselves. To understand that they are worthy of everything they desire.

And then, bam! Everything shifted to become an energetic match for that new level of value.

Once you see your value first, then others will see it too! Never the other way around.

You have to believe in yourself and FEEL the love BEFORE the actual manifestation of love appears.

Rina Jensen

Rina Jensen

Business Resiliency Coach

In order to answer it, let’s take a quick look at Traditional Power.

Traditional Power tells us that we must look a certain way – see any magazine with a flair for Photoshop – have material possessions of a certain standard, a spouse who is equally or more successful than we are and also incredibly handsome.

If we don’t raise perfect children while either starting our own successful business or a leader in the corporate world we have failed.

Traditional power would like us to believe that validation and worth come from these outside sources.

How could we possibly be happy with ourselves and our lives if we do not have all the above?

Traditional Power would have us hide our flaws. Compare our worth to others. Stuck in an idea of who we should be.

That we should put the happiness of others above our own, including helping them to achieve their dreams. Traditional Power says we should be Right over Vulnerable!

Self-love turns this societal view of success on its head.

Self-love says that we find happiness within ourselves despite the external validation. If we love ourselves unconditionally, we would be speaking kinder to ourselves.

We wouldn’t compare where we are to anyone else, because we would know that this journey is ours and ours alone. We would be our own saviors.

We would find ways to be grateful. We would be happy with our own company and feel complete regardless of relationship status.

Self-love is a personal power that no one can take from us. We not only can be our authentic selves, but we ARE our authentic selves because self-love allows us to truly not care what others think and have no influence over us.

Self-love allows us to be vulnerable and unafraid to reach out for help.

Sandy Fowler

Sandy Fowler

Co-founder, DASIUM and Mighty Parenting

Self-love isn’t just important, it’s essential.

This is the foundation for how we live our lives and defines how we treat ourselves and how we live out our life. A lack of self-love can lead us to abuse ourselves through food, substance abuse, or poor relationship choices.

When we love ourselves, we can set healthy boundaries and make healthy choices for ourselves.

The way we feel about ourselves affects every interaction we have and every decision we make.

It starts with the voice in our head—how we think about the things that happen in our lives.

If we don’t love ourselves then we tend toward negative self-talk which leads us to believe we don’t deserve things, we are incapable of doing things, and we will fail at whatever we try.

So if we don’t love ourselves and we are offered an opportunity, we are more likely to let it pass us by because we don’t believe we deserve it or that we can do it.

If we don’t love ourselves, we can beat ourselves up over everything that doesn’t go right and we can even end up abusing ourselves with food, alcohol, drugs, and more.

But shifting that self-talk toward something loving and positive can change the tide and lead us into a better relationship with ourselves.

In turn, this improves our other relationships and increases our happiness.

As we love ourselves more, it allows us to set better boundaries about how we spend our time, how we let others treat us, and how we treat ourselves.

It improves our self-talk and lets us believe we deserve more and we can accomplish more. When we love ourselves we can believe in ourselves and we can lead a better and happier life.

Melody Pourmoradi CEC, AADP

Melody Pourmoradi

Life Coach | Creator, GiRLiFE Empowerment Series

We have been conditioned to look outside of ourselves for all of the really important things in life, especially pure, raw, unconditional love.

My belief is that until we become our own source of love, we will find ourselves in the wrong relationships looking to someone else to give us all of the things that we have not yet been able to give to ourselves.

It’s exquisite how when we start valuing ourselves fully, the people in our lives start valuing us more than we ever thought is possible.

It’s time to start giving yourself permission to bask in the beautiful brilliance that is you.

Having a solid relationship with yourself is a cornerstone to living an authentically happy life and for bringing healthy relationships into your life with others.

Julie Fanning LCSW, CCM

Julie Fanning

Owner, Holding Hope Services | Therapist 

Self-love is vital to our well-being. If we don’t love ourselves we are not in a position to live our best life.

Without self-love, we will always be searching for the right career, the right friends, the right job, the right activities, and the right person to fill the space.

Self-love is supposed to live. Since only self-love can fill that space, if you are unable to enjoy your own company and adore who you are, a person will always feel unfulfilled.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

If an individual doesn’t love themselves and believe they are a worthwhile, lovable person, they will always search outside of themselves – to others for validation.

This never-ending comparison sucks the joy out of life because we only compare ourselves to others highlights, we don’t compare ourselves to their struggles.

We often give everyone the benefit of the doubt before ourselves. Honoring and loving yourself can take away the need to measure worth against others.

Clara Rey

Clara Rey

Wellness/ Empowerment Coach

Self-love is that elusive unicorn idea everyone imagines yet few people actually allow themselves to feel.

In a world that is picture-perfect, the hardest thing to acknowledge is that we do not gain happiness from fulfilling a perfect picture on the outside but rather a relationship with ourselves on the inside.

Sounds cliche, I know. It’s a difficult conversation to have within ourselves–to ask ourselves an uncomfortable question such as “Do I love myself?”

The sad reality is that for most people, the answer is “no”, “eh” or “what does that even mean?”

The good thing is that it’s always the right time to realize that the most important person to love in this world is (drumroll) you.

But isn’t that narcissistic?

No. Loving yourself means that you accept that you deserve self-kindness, compassion, and understanding.

You know that best friend who you listen to, who you offer a shoulder to cry to during their hardest moments? That same friend you celebrate with when you hear of their successes?

Self-love is that same behavior–applied to yourself.

Self-love is the ability to realize that we’re imperfect, yet we’re all works in progress that deserve the time to bloom in our own light.

Self-love is that space of nonjudgement. Self-love is the ability to say “I am enough,” and mean exactly that.

The biggest lesson in self-love comes from knowing that no one is perfect regardless of how picturesque or insta-worthy their life is.

We’re not meant to be perfect. We’re human.

Our lives are recipes of emotions, experiences, dreams, and relationships– recipes that when allowed to exist without judgment become parts of us that help us grow.

Self-love is the relationship that grows out of you finally getting to know more and judge less of yourself.

Are you up to the challenge?

Treva Brandon Scharf

Treva Brandon Scharf

Writer | Dating Coach| Fitness Professional

In my area of expertise, self-love is everything.

It’s the foundation on which all healthy relationships are built (particularly the relationship you have with yourself).

Self-love and everything it entails (confidence, strength, self-worth, self-assurance, pride, and emotional stability) is so important, that without it, you can’t even date!

Self-love is never more important than when you’re single when keeping your bar raised and your standards high is crucial.

You can only do that when you think enough of yourself, and know you’re worthy and deserving. That’s what self-love is all about.

Before you can love someone else, you must be able to love yourself first.

Asking if self-love is important is like asking if your kid’s birthday or good health is important. The latter two being most obvious.

Self-love represents an inner peace. Something lacking in the majority of people we meet on a daily basis.

Marianne Williamson talks about the goal of personal growth in her book A Return to Love which pairs nicely with self-love, “the goal…is the journey out of dark emotional patterns that cause us pain, to those that create peace.”

Self-love means learning to peel back layers of dark emotional patterns which cause pain, to ones that create peace. Working to go back to our purest form from childhood before our emotional defenses were influenced by the world.

Everything we say or do originates from the way we view ourselves. Imagine what we’d accomplished if we viewed ourselves with love and peace?

True self-love is important because it means you self-actualized and are closer to a more content existence.

Often times folks assume that you can just start loving yourself one day. Nah.

The problem is, so many of us, due to outside influences and pressure, are counterfeits of our true selves -programmed beings going through life with a metaphorical ball and chain attached.

The counterfeit self experiences a lot of turmoil, internally struggles, is chronically stressed, prone to breakdowns, or has a full-blown breakdown like I did.

To love yourself you have to know your true self first.

To get to know your true self, just be.

“Just be” meaning commit, for a while, to the meditative approach to life: Explore the world around you without any self-judgment and see what you are naturally drawn to, and take notice.

See how different things, jobs, people, relationships make you feel. Do it without self-judgment, and you’ll start to figure out who you really are and why you are worthy of your own self-love and self-actualization. That’s how one blooms.

Amy Leigh Mercree

Amy Leigh Mercree

Wellness Coach | Medical Intuitive

Self-love is the foundation for everything else in your life.

Being able to accept yourself for who you are in you’re totality mean that you can move through the world with confidence and authenticity.

Too often, we let our self-image be eroded by cultural ideals, the media, and challenging past experiences.

A conscious choice to love and accept yourself can change your life for the better.

It’s the key to feeling emotionally safe within. One woman or man filled with self-love is a model more super than any cover girl.

Authentic emotional freedom comes from diving deeply within yourself and knowing and accepting who you truly are.

Courtney Donaldson

Courtney Donaldson

Owner/Founder, One Fit Mom Fitness

Why is self-love important? What is self-love anyways?

The dictionary describes the meaning of self-love as being “regard for one’s own well-being and happiness”.

So how do we practice self-love when we are surrounded by perfection? Perfect body, perfect hair, perfect, perfect, perfect?

Today’s society idolizes and advertises perfection and somewhere along the way, we start to believe that if we are as close to being perfect (in societies eyes) that ultimately, we will be happy.

If we were perfect, would we really be happier overall? How many times have you arrived at a goal or achieved that goal, felt happy for a few days but before long were back at feeling unhappy with another aspect of your life.

So you go on and try to perfect that aspect and fall into this vicious cycle of perfection.

It’s exhausting and so unhealthy for our well-being. So let me tell you a little story.

I’m a mom and after nursing my daughter I felt that I needed an enhancement. (I’m sure you can relate). I felt I needed it in order to still feel sexy in front of my husband, I felt I needed it in order to be happy.

Postpartum depression and self-confidence issues sank in and I was relentless that a boob job would give me my happiness back. So off I went.

Of course, I was happy, but happy in general? Not at all.

Just like I mentioned above, I was onto the next thing that would “make me happy”.

I’m onto the importance of self-love soon, hear me out. Fast forward 5 years and declining health and a hubby that was unfaithful.

How could he? I had the “perfect” breasts. What I’m about to share next, changed the projection of my life, about happiness and self-love.

Here I was 29 years old, suffering from health issues almost bedridden due to those exact breast implants. My body was fighting them off.

I just experienced a blessing in disguise because what I didn’t know at the time of the affair was that, that exact situation opened my eyes.

It opened my eyes to this fake perception of perfection and its link to happiness.

Perfecting ourselves wasn’t the key to happiness. SELF LOVE is our key to happiness.

I learned this the hard way, but I learned it and the projection of my life from there on out has been blessed with happiness all because I started understanding self-love.

Self-love isn’t conceited. It’s about truly loving you for you. Just as you are, just as those around you, love you for you and you love them for them.

You are unique. There is nobody else like you in this world and that’s pretty incredible.

Everything in life just flows so effortlessly when you let go of perfection, release that grip on perfection and just be you.

A few years ago after having my eyes opened to self-love, I removed those toxic implants and have two huge scars on my chest to tell the story. A constant reminder of what I’ve overcome.

The day I surrendered to self-love and let go the idolization of perfection. The day I took my health back choosing the quality of life over vanity.

Before having my eyes opened to self-love, I would have never been able to remove those “perfect” implants but my mindset shifted and that’s all it takes. Self-love saved my life, improved my quality of life and is truly the secret to happiness.

Mama Donna Henes

Donna Henes

Urban Shaman | Contemporary Ceremonialist | Spiritual teacher | Counselor | Speaker

Women have been sold a Hollywood bill of goods when it comes to romance.

In the movies, the leading man — think Cary Grant — always says the exact right things at the right time in the right tone — to make his lady love swoon.

Well, the truth is that someone, probably a woman, writes those lines for him. Words she would probably love to hear. So we fantasize an ideal lover gazing deep into our eyes and reading the depth of our soul.

Unfortunately, most men are not minded readers. Expecting someone else to see into our deepest souls and understand what we want and need very unfair and doomed to disappoint us.

So it is crucial to be able to ask for what we want rather than challenge our lover to intuit our feelings. And in order to do that, we need to take the trouble to get to know ourselves deeply.

When I consult with the couples whose weddings I will officiate, I always urge them to include in their vows not only what they promise to bring to each other and the marriage but also to ask for what they want to receive.

All those perfect words of comfort and devotion that we long to hear? We can say them to ourselves.

Say them with feeling and meaning. We can show ourselves the attention and affection that we all crave — that we lavish on others, but never think to give to ourselves.

This exercise in self-appreciation and affection are not meant to seal ourselves off from others forever or to replace any current or future love relationships, but to make sure that we do not get involved for the wrong reasons — out of loneliness or fear or desperation.

Our primary love relationship has to be with ourselves. Someone once said, “In order to say ‘I love you,’ you have to be able to say ‘I’.”

When we are secure in the knowledge that we are our own best lover, we are able to share that love with someone special who will understand how very precious it is and return it in kind. Do we deserve any less?

Ivory Coats

Ivory Coats

Owner, Peachy Weddings | Author, Until Further Notice: Celebrate Everything

We manifest into the world what we feel within ourselves.

My favorite quote is in a poem by Marianne Williamson “And as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Meaning that when we love ourselves selflessly we are better able to project that love into the world. And that very act creates a ripple effect throughout the world.

Sue Allen Clayton

Sue Allen Clayton

Founder,  Serene Solopreneur

I define self-love as being kind, compassionate and forgiving toward ourselves.

I don’t believe that we can reach our potential if we give to others but do not take care of ourselves. I also don’t believe we can be genuinely compassionate if we are beating ourselves up because we’re not perfect.

Every human is at the center of relationships with family, friends, co-workers and community members.

When we love ourselves and accept our imperfections, it enables us to view our fellow humans with less judgment. Especially in this divisive political climate, returning to a place of self-love reminds us that everyone deserves the same kindness, compassion, and forgiveness that we have experienced.

Stacy Caprio

Stacy Caprio

Online Marketer | Designer | Growth Expert

Self-love is the starting point for being able to truly and selflessly love and show love to others.

Without loving yourself, it is hard to be completely selfless in a relationship with anyone. It’s important because it is the foundation for all good relationships with others.

The cup analogy is a great one that illustrates this concept. If you try to pour from an empty cup, nothing will come out. Once you fill the cup, you are able to pour into many different glasses.

This is the same with self-love, if you are trying to give from an empty container, you won’t be able to pour anything out even if you try.

Once you are full of self-love, it is much easier to pour your love into other people, since you are not trying to give from something that is empty.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is self-love hard?

Societal expectations and comparisons: Our society often pressures individuals to conform to certain standards. This constant comparison with others can lead to feelings of inadequacy and make it hard to appreciate and love ourselves for who we are.

Past experiences and upbringing: Childhood experiences and upbringing play a significant role in shaping our self-perception. Developing a healthy sense of self-worth and self-love can be challenging if we’ve been exposed to criticism, neglect, or emotional abuse in our formative years.

Internalized negativity: Negative self-talk and beliefs about ourselves can significantly hinder self-love. This internalized negativity often stems from past experiences or messages we’ve received from others. Over time, these thoughts can become deeply ingrained and hard to change.

Perfectionism: Many people struggle with perfectionism, the belief that they must always be flawless or risk failure. This mindset can make it nearly impossible to appreciate and accept ourselves as we are, with our imperfections and unique qualities.

Lack of self-awareness: To love ourselves, we must first know ourselves. Many people may be unaware of their strengths, values, and passions. This lack of self-awareness can make it challenging to develop a strong sense of self-love.

Fear of being seen as selfish: Some individuals may worry that prioritizing self-love and self-care will make them appear selfish or self-absorbed. This fear can be a significant obstacle to embracing self-love and practicing self-compassion.

How can I practice self-love?

Practicing self-love involves cultivating a positive relationship with yourself. Here are a few steps you can take:

Develop self-awareness: Reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and actions to gain a better understanding of your needs, desires, and emotions.

Establish boundaries: Set limits to protect your emotional and mental well-being, and learn to say ‘no’ when necessary.

Engage in self-care: Prioritize activities that promote physical, mental, and emotional health, such as exercise, proper nutrition, and relaxation techniques.

Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, particularly during challenging times.

Cultivate gratitude: Focus on the positive aspects of your life and express gratitude for your achievements and qualities.

Surround yourself with positivity: Build a supportive network of friends and loved ones who uplift and encourage you.

Can self-love coexist with self-improvement?

Yes! Self-love and self-improvement can coexist harmoniously. In fact, true self-love involves acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses and striving for growth. 

Embracing self-improvement is an act of self-love, as it demonstrates that you care about your well-being and are committed to becoming the best version of yourself.

What is the difference between self-love and narcissism?

Self-love is a healthy appreciation and acceptance of oneself, including strengths and weaknesses. It involves cultivating a positive relationship with yourself and nurturing your well-being. 

On the other hand, narcissism is an excessive preoccupation with oneself, often accompanied by a sense of entitlement and a lack of empathy for others. 

While self-love promotes personal growth and positive relationships, narcissism can lead to destructive behaviors and strained interpersonal connections.

What happens when you don’t love yourself?

When you lack self-love, it can negatively impact various aspects of your life. Some potential consequences include:

Low self-esteem: You may struggle with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, which can hinder your ability to pursue goals and maintain healthy relationships.

Poor mental health: A lack of self-love can contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress.

Difficulty setting boundaries: You might struggle to assert yourself and protect your emotional well-being, leading to unhealthy relationships and emotional distress.

Neglecting self-care: When you don’t love yourself, it’s easy to neglect essential self-care activities that contribute to physical, emotional, and mental health.

Inability to reach your full potential: Without self-love, you may hold yourself back from pursuing opportunities and experiences that could enrich your life and help you grow.

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