I used to struggle so much with self-love. Seriously, I had no idea how to stop being so hard on myself or how to be kinder to me. I was stuck in a cycle of self-criticism and doubt, and I didn’t know how to get out of it. But you know what? With time and intention, I made baby steps toward self-love. Tiny steps that may seem insignificant at first but that add up to real change over time.

In this post, I want to share what helped me start loving myself when I had no clue how to even begin. These small practices and mindset shifts truly transformed my relationship with myself. If you feel like you’re in a similar place – not knowing how to be kinder to yourself and struggling with self-love- I hope my baby steps help you too. Even the tiniest step can start leading you toward self-acceptance and compassion.

What Does It Mean to Truly Love Yourself?

What Does It Mean to Truly Love Yourself
What Does It Mean to Truly Love Yourself

Accept yourself as you are. The first step is accepting yourself—flaws and all. Learn to appreciate yourself for who you are instead of who you think you should be. No one is perfect, so avoid comparing yourself to unrealistic societal standards of beauty or success. You are a unique human being, so embrace your imperfections!

Make sure to practice self-care. Get enough sleep, eat healthy and exercise. Take time for hobbies and activities that you find meaningful or enjoyable. Avoid harmful habits and be kind to yourself. You deserve to be happy and healthy.

Be your own best friend. Treat yourself with the same compassion and kindness you show to loved ones. Learn to be your own best friend. Speak to yourself with encouragement and praise. Replace negative self-talk with more constructive ways of viewing situations. Learn from your mistakes instead of harshly judging yourself for them.

Don’t be a people-pleaser. Learn to say no, and don’t feel guilty about it. Set healthy boundaries and don’t let others take advantage of you. Make sure to also set aside time for yourself to recharge and do things you enjoy. You can’t properly love others if you don’t love yourself first.

Loving yourself is a journey, not a destination. But with practice and patience, you can develop a healthy sense of self-worth and become your own best friend. You are deserving of love, especially your own! Start by taking small steps each day to build confidence from the inside out.

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Recognize the Signs You May Be Struggling With Self-Love

As much as I try to practice self-love, some days it still feels out of reach. If you’re struggling to love yourself, know you’re not alone. Here are a few signs I’ve noticed in myself that may ring true for you too.

You’re overly critical of yourself. Do you constantly criticize your appearance, performance, or choices? Speaking to yourself with compassion is key. Try to re-frame negative thoughts into more constructive ones. You seek external validation. If you rely heavily on the approval and praise of others to feel good about yourself, it’s a sign you may be lacking self-love. Work on accepting yourself as you are, flaws and all. You are enough.

You have trouble setting boundaries. Are you afraid to say no or ask for what you need? Healthy self-love means valuing your own needs and wellbeing. Start small by setting some basic boundaries and build up from there.

You neglect self-care. When you’re struggling with self-love, it’s easy to put your own needs last. But good self-care is essential. Make sure to schedule in time for rest, exercise, and doing things you enjoy. You deserve to be happy and at peace.

Loving yourself isn’t always easy, but with practice and patience, you can get there. Focus on self-compassion, acceptance, boundaries, and self-care. You’ve got this; just remember to be kind to yourself along the way.

The Importance of Self-Love and Self-Care

The Importance of Self-Love and Self-Care
The Importance of Self-Love and Self-Care

For most of my life, I struggled with self-love. I always put the needs of others before my own and had a hard time saying no. I felt guilty for taking time for myself or doing things that I enjoyed. Over time, this lack of self-care led to feelings of resentment, stress, and burnout.

Make Yourself a Priority. The first step I took was to start putting myself first. I began scheduling in time each week just for me to do something I loved, like reading a book, taking a bath, or going for a walk outside. At first, it felt strange and selfish, but I started to realize that when I took good care of myself, I had more patience and energy to care for others.

Practice Self-Compassion I also worked on being kinder to myself. I noticed how critical I was of my mistakes and imperfections. When negative self-talk would start, I tried to show myself the same compassion I would show a friend. Over time, it became easier and more natural. I realized that I didn’t need to be perfect to be worthy of love.

Value Yourself.Finally, I focused on appreciating myself for who I am- my talents, skills, and good qualities. I started each day by listing a few things I liked about myself. This simple habit helped remind me of my inherent worth.

Developing self-love and self-care is a journey. But by making small changes, like the ones I’ve described, you can start to transform your relationship with yourself and build confidence from the inside out. You are deserving of love – especially your own. Be gentle with yourself and remember that self-care is not selfish. It’s essential.

How to Love Yourself When You Do Not Know How

How to Love Yourself When You Do not Know How
How to Love Yourself When You Do Not Know How

How to love yourself when you don’t know how can feel like finding your way in the dark. But the first step is simply acknowledging the desire to feel better. Here’s the good news: self-love is a journey, not a destination. Here are some ways to begin:

1. Start Small: Tiny Ways to Begin Practicing Self-Love and Acceptance

When I first started on my journey to self-love, I felt completely overwhelmed. How was I supposed to go from hating myself to fully accepting who I was? The truth is, self-love isn’t an overnight transformation. It’s a practice, and the key is starting small.

One of the first things I did was pick one thing I liked about myself each day and say it out loud while looking in the mirror. At first, this felt silly and uncomfortable, but over time it got easier. Focusing on my eyes or smile helped build up my confidence to appreciate bigger things like my personality or talents. These daily affirmations were baby steps, but they added up.

I also started treating myself with more compassion. When I made a mistake or felt inadequate, instead of harsh self-criticism, I practiced self-kindness. I’d ask myself what I’d say to a friend in the same situation and offer myself that same grace and empathy. Speaking to myself with encouragement and understanding helped reframe my inner narrative from one of judgment to one of support.

Finally, I began doing small acts of self-care each day. Things like drinking an extra glass of water, taking a quick walk outside, reading a book I enjoyed. These moments of nourishment strengthened my self-love practice by proving I deserved to be cared for. When I felt good, it was easier to appreciate who I was.

The path to self-love may feel long, but it’s the small steps we take each day that get us there. Speaking kindly to yourself, acknowledging your strengths, and making your wellbeing a priority are all ways to start practicing self-love today. Don’t get overwhelmed; just begin with one tiny act of self-care or acceptance. Your self-love practice will grow from there.

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2. Identify Your Strengths and Unique Qualities

Discovering what makes you uniquely you can be challenging when you’re not feeling your best. But tapping into your strengths and talents is key to building self-love.

For me, remembering my strengths was difficult at first. I felt like I didn’t have any talents or qualities that made me special. But with time and conscious effort, I started to recognize parts of myself I appreciated.

Look for your natural talents. What activities do you excel in without much effort? For me, it’s writing and creative pursuits. Focusing on doing more of what you’re naturally good at will boost your confidence from the inside out.

Notice what you do for others. How do you show up for people in your life? I’m a good listener and offer empathy and support to friends in need. Recognizing how you positively impact others helps overcome feelings of being unworthy or unimportant.

Ask others what they value about you. It can be hard to see your good qualities when you’re feeling down. Ask close friends or family members what they appreciate about you. Their feedback will reinforce your strengths and remind you of the unique light you bring to the world.

Rediscovering your talents, skills, and personality traits that make you who you are will help build a solid foundation of self-love. Focus on one strength or quality at a time, and practice acknowledging and appreciating that part of yourself each day. In time, self-love will start to feel second nature.

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3. Establishing Healthy Boundaries and Standards

When it comes to loving yourself, one of the most important things you can do is set healthy boundaries. This means getting clear on what you will and won’t tolerate from others and sticking to it. Don’t be afraid to say “no” when someone asks too much of you or doesn’t treat you well. You deserve to surround yourself with people who enrich your life, not drain you.

Stop Seeking Approval. I used to constantly worry about what others thought of me and tried so hard to please everyone. But the truth is, you can’t control how people view you, and you’ll drive yourself crazy trying. Focus on living according to your own values and standards instead of seeking approval. Ask yourself, “What really matters to me?” and make decisions based on that.

Don’t Settle for Less Than You Deserve. When it comes to relationships, jobs, and life in general, know your worth and don’t settle for less. Compromise when you can, but don’t feel obligated to stay in situations that make you unhappy or hold you back from your potential. You deserve to be around people who treat you well and support your growth. Don’t be afraid to walk away from anything that falls short of that.

Take time for yourself. it’s easy to get caught up taking care of everyone else’s needs while neglecting your own. But you can’t pour from an empty cup. Make sure to schedule in time for yourself to rest, have fun, and recharge. Do things that you find meaningful and fulfilling. Even taking 15–30 minutes a day to do something you enjoy can help you feel happier and less stressed. You deserve to make yourself a priority. Loving yourself is a journey, not a destination. Be gentle with yourself and start with small steps. As you establish healthy boundaries and standards, speak kindly to yourself, and nurture your needs, self-love will blossom. You’ve got this!

4. Finding Purpose and Passion in Your Life

For me, finding purpose and passion in my life has been an ongoing journey of self-discovery. When I was younger, I struggled with feeling like I didn’t have a clear direction or calling. The options seemed endless but also overwhelming. How was I supposed to choose a path when I didn’t even know myself yet?

Over time, I’ve learned that passion and purpose unfold gradually. It’s not usually some lightning bolt moment of revelation. Exploring My Interests I started by exploring my interests and the activities that energized me. I paid attention to the topics that lit me up and made me lose track of time. Photography, writing, teaching-these were a few areas that resonated with me.

Trying new things. I also tried new things to uncover hidden talents or interests. Some were duds but a few really clicked. You never know what might ignite that spark inside you, so keep an open and curious mindset.

Looking for patterns. Eventually, I began to notice certain patterns in the pursuits that captivated me most. Creativity, helping others learn and grow, and sharing meaningful stories—these themes kept emerging again and again. 

Aligning with My Values. Finally, I reflected on my core values and priorities in life. The things that motivate and fulfill you should align with who you are. For me, purpose and passion were about contributing value to the world in my own unique way.

Discovering your purpose and passion is a journey, not a destination. Be patient with yourself and keep exploring. Pay attention to what makes you come alive, try new things, look for patterns, and stay aligned with your values. In time, you’ll gain clarity and find more meaning and fulfillment. The path will unfold one step at a time.

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5. Learning to Forgive Yourself and Move Forward

When you’re having trouble loving yourself, self-forgiveness can feel nearly impossible. I’ve been there – consumed by regret over mistakes I’ve made and words I can’t take back. The path forward starts with accepting that you’re human, and humans mess up.

Be kind to yourself. Speak to yourself with compassion, the same way you would to a close friend who was struggling. Replace harsh self-criticism with gentle encouragement. Forgive yourself for past errors and make peace with who you are—flaws and all.

Let go of unrealistic expectations. Holding yourself to impossible standards only breeds feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing. Learn to appreciate yourself as you are instead of who you think you “should” be. You don’t need to be perfect to be worthy of love.

Focus on growth rather than perfection. Don’t dwell on past failures or perceived shortcomings. Instead, look at how far you’ve come and use your mistakes as an opportunity to learn. Make progress each day, however small, and celebrate your wins. Your worth isn’t defined by what you achieve but by who you are.

Be patient and give yourself time. Developing self-love and forgiveness is a journey, not a destination. There will be good days and bad days. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you falter. Just start again – every moment is an opportunity to be kind to yourself. With practice, self-love will become second nature.

The path to self-forgiveness often isn’t easy, but you have everything within you already to make peace with yourself and move forward. Speak to yourself with kindness, accept who you are, focus on growth, and be patient. You deserve to be happy. And the journey starts today.

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6. Make Self-Care a Priority: It’s Not Selfish

When I struggle with self-love, the first thing I have to do is make myself a priority again. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and forget about my own needs. But the truth is, self-care isn’t selfish – it’s necessary for my health and happiness.

Some of the self-care practices I turn to are exercising, journaling, and meditation or deep breathing. Exercising releases feel-good hormones that boost my mood and confidence. Journaling helps me work through challenging emotions and negative self-talk. And meditation calms my mind and reduces stress.

I also make sure I’m staying socially connected to people who love and support me. I reach out to close friends or family members and ask if we can meet up to talk. Sharing what I’m going through with others who care about me reminds me that I’m worthy of love. Their kindness and empathy fill my own cup so I have more to give to myself.

When self-love feels hard, small acts of self-care are so important. Things like taking a bath, cooking a healthy meal, reading an inspiring book, or simply making time to do nothing at all. Forcing myself to slow down and be present in simple pleasures helps shift my mindset to one of self-compassion. Loving yourself is a journey, not a destination.

There will be ups and downs, good days and bad days. But making self-care a priority, especially on the bad days, helps ensure you’ll get back to a place of self-love and acceptance. It reminds you that you matter and that you’re worth the effort. Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s an act of love towards yourself. And that is the first step to overcoming struggles with self-worth and self-esteem.

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7. Be kind to Yourself: Replace Negative Self-Talk

When we struggle with self-love, negative self-talk often creeps in. We criticize ourselves harshly and say hurtful things that aren’t true. Learning to replace this negative self-talk with kindness and compassion for ourselves is a crucial part of the journey.

So here are some ways to start being kinder to yourself:

  •  Catch yourself in negative thoughts and replace them. When you notice yourself thinking something negative, pause and consciously choose a kinder thought instead. Tell yourself, “I’m learning and growing,” or “I’m doing the best I can.”
  •  Speak to yourself as you would a friend. If a friend was struggling, how would you speak to them? With patience, encouragement and understanding. Speak to yourself in that same caring tone.
  •  Focus on your strengths, not weaknesses. Make a list of your positive qualities and accomplishments, no matter how small. Remind yourself of them often.
  •  Accept yourself as you are. You don’t have to be perfect to deserve love and kindness, including self-love. You are worthy just as you are in this moment.
  •  Practice self-compassion. When you make mistakes, remind yourself that they are opportunities for growth. You deserve forgiveness and another chance.

The more you replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk, the more it will become ingrained. Over time, you’ll naturally speak to yourself with more kindness, acceptance and love. So have patience and continue to choose compassion for that wounded, imperfect part of yourself that just wants to feel worthy of happiness.

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8. Building Your Self-Confidence and Self-Worth

Self-confidence and self-worth are built over time through positive experiences, self-care, and self-acceptance. Here are some ways to boost both:

  •  Set goals and achieve them. Even small wins and successes can help build confidence. Celebrate your progress along the way.
  • Challenge negative beliefs. Identify any limiting beliefs you have about yourself and replace them with positive, empowering thoughts.
  •  Practice gratitude. Make a habit of appreciating the good things in your life, big and small. This shifts your perspective to focus on abundance rather than lack.
  • Assert yourself. Practice saying “no” when needed and speaking up for your needs and wants. This shows you that you are worthy.
  • Take risks. Stepping outside of your comfort zone, even in small ways, and succeeding helps break down self-doubt
  •  Seek out positive social influences. Spend time with people who build you up and see the best in you. Avoid those who are critical or negative.
  • Focus on strengths, not flaws. We all have things we’d like to change about ourselves, but focusing too much on perceived flaws can be damaging. Focus on cultivating your strengths instead.

Remember, progress isn’t linear. You’ll have setbacks at times, but that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Accept where you are and keep moving forward.

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9. Find Activities That Make You Feel Alive

Finding activities that bring you joy and make you feel alive is essential for self-love. These pursuits help build self-confidence by connecting you with your interests and passions. Some options to explore:

  •  Creative outlets like art, writing, music or cooking. Anything that allows your creative spirit to come alive.
  •  Physical activities that energize your body and mind like sports, hiking, dancing or yoga.
  • Social activities that allow you to connect meaningfully with others like volunteering, joining clubs or taking a class.
  •  Nature activities to remind you of your place in the larger whole like gardening, walking in nature or camping.
  • Mental challenges that stimulate your mind like learning a new skill, solving puzzles or taking an educational course.

The key is to try different things and see what lights you up from within. Pursue these activities regularly to maintain the sense of joy, purpose and self-acceptance they bring. Finding things that make you feel alive is an important part of truly loving yourself.

10. Surround Yourself With Positive People Who Build You Up

Spending time with positive, supportive people is crucial for developing and maintaining high self-esteem. Here are some ways to surround yourself with people who build you up:

  • Evaluate current relationships. Are there people in your life right now who are critical, judgmental or bring you down? Consider setting boundaries or limiting time with them.
  •  Seek out like-minded individuals. Look for opportunities to meet new people who share your interests and values through hobbies, activities or groups.
  • Practice assertive communication. Politely, but firmly, set limits with people who drain your energy. Let loved ones know in a kind way what kind of support you need from them.
  •  Set a good example. Be the kind of positive, supportive friend you wish to have in the world. Compliment others sincerely, listen without judgment and encourage their growth.
  • Avoid comparing yourself. Resist the urge to measure your worth by comparing yourself to others, even seemingly “perfect” people. Your value is intrinsic.

Spending time with people who build you up, see the good in you, and celebrate your progress will boost your self-esteem and self-love. Filling your life with positive, uplifting relationships is an investment in your happiness and wellbeing.

Final Thought

Love yourself first and foremost. Your self-worth and happiness come from within, not from the expectations or opinions of others. Make time every day for self-care, do the things that nourish your soul, and surround yourself with people who uplift you. Most importantly, practice self-compassion—be kind and forgiving with yourself as you would a loved one. You deserve unconditional love, starting with the love you give yourself.


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