Love yourself. I’ve seen this expressed in every self-help; relationship triage blog, course, coach; and spiritual guru.
But HOW does one love themselves? We are told to do this, but not taught how to.
Today, I want to go deep. I want to give you practical and helpful ways that can help your life—change your vibe, thus change your life.
Here are the 11 ways to build self-love:
1. What Is Self-Love Anyway?
It’s exactly as it sounds. Beautiful in theory, very hard to achieve in practice. But why is that?
We are born into this world and the very process of growing up from child to adult, we are passed along other people’s joys…but also their faults, errors, imperfections, sins, short-comings, etc.
Our parents or caregivers aren’t perfect. They’re literally just like you, trying to do the best with their own capacities and capabilities. Even if sometimes they are very limited.
Some even get lost along the way and sadly forego their responsibilities to nourish, love, and protect.
2. The Journey Of Self-Love Is Not Easy
In fact, it’s the most important—yet the most difficult journey—you will ever be on. And yes, it’s a journey. Never a destination.
The journey of self-love involves a very deep relationship to honesty. You’re going to need to be honest to yourself, including the things you’re not ready to face or admit yet.
And here’s a sobering and sad fact: most people lie to themselves. If you remember one of my perspectives: “A person who lies to you doesn’t respect you. A person who lies to themselves…”
3. Self-Love Is About Respect
Love and Respect are very intimately tied. I’ll even say Love is simply a deeper version of respect.
How do you build respect for yourself? Let’s start with what respect does not look like: self-critical; self-destruction; self-sabotage; validation from others; no permission to feel authentic; choosing to stay in toxic relationships, especially friendships; gossiping negatively about others; putting others down, to raise yourself up…
…the list goes on-and-on.
4. Do Whatever Makes You Happy, As Long As You Don’t Hurt Others
Living authentically and openly is the most loving thing you can do for yourself. THAT is respecting yourself. It’s honoring your short time of existence.
While it’s important to take into consideration the advice from others who cherish you; they are just that—considerations.
No-one in the world will know what exactly is right and honest for you. Only you can walk through the doors you need to walk through in life.
Advice from loved ones (that you trust) only shows you options you might not have considered.
5. Have Integrity
Integrity is the most essential factor to build self-love. Why? Without integrity, you’re going to know yourself as a phony; a con-artist; a deceiver; a sham; a fraud.
We aren’t focused on what others know of you. Con-artists are good at telling people what they want to hear and having their audience believe them.
But a fraudulent person knows what and who they are. That’s the truth they can’t run from: what they’ve built themselves up to be.
It’s not about how many people they trick, because you can’t trick your own self.
You can lie to yourself. But you can’t trick your own self.
6. Start Small With Your Journey Of Self-Love
Make commitments you don’t break. Have integrity when you deal with others: “Say what you do, do what you say”.
Set personal goals that you know you can see immediate effects, then go for the ones that take more time.
Self-love is exactly like a muscle—it only gets stronger and better with dedication and consistency. It’s completely okay to start with the small weights and move your way up.
This is how you make gains. Smart gains.
7. Dating/Relationships & Self-Love
Here’s my general rule of thumb: “treat others as you would have them treat you”. Nothing more. Nothing less.
If you’re dating, don’t ghost someone—tell them you’re not interested in a kind but firm way. If you’re in a relationship, or just starting out in one, treat them with the same type of consideration you would want in return. Don’t seek to make them jealous.
And more importantly, don’t cheat. It’s not about how good you can be sneaky and “not get caught”. Ultimately, that is how you are teaching yourself what you are. What you are about.
And this ultimately leads to…
Self-love is about having as little guilt as possible because you exhibit integrity. Guilty people have the hardest time. Guilt’s most damaging aspect isn’t felt initially—it’s effects are felt much later on.
Guilt always turns into self-hate.
Here’s the thing, integrity and guilt are two different pathways you can take in life. And they both require time and consistency to grow.
An example: who do you think has a harder time with a breakup? The guilty or non-guilty party?
Answer: the guilty party.
9. Because You Can Be Alone With Self-Love
You can be comfortably alone with self-love. But it’s a very hard thing to be alone with guilt. Guilt is this nasty thing that metastasizes into shame. And this now becomes the pathway towards self-hate.
Once you get into a place of self-hate…you’ve just given yourself an exponential amount of extra trouble to put time, effort, and focus into healing. And who has time to do all of that if it’s unnecessary?
Is THAT how you want to spend your finite life? Cleaning up a mess you could have easily prevented?
10. Denial Doesn’t Allow You To Self-Love
As stated in point #2, to build self-love you will need to be honest. To yourself and others. You’re going to need to take a discerning look at your life—especially the choices you’ve made and habitually make.
It’s going to be hard to imagine being able to make different choices. But remember, most of our beliefs we hold were passed on to us. Thus, we make choices based on them. We make choices that aren’t really ours.
These choices can be made from fear or love. It is fearful to make self-loving choices if you’ve never done it before. It will be the most revolutionary act for your entire life.
But as the saying goes: “There are 2 important days in your life. The day you were born, and the day you find out why.” -Mark Twain
11. Self-Love Is Not A Grand Gesture Of Arrival
There isn’t this moment filled with fanfare for your arrival at self-love. It’s simply that the world has changed, because YOU have changed.
Your choices become easier to make. You choose loving decisions, for your well-being and health: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. You are willing to go through the grief and pains of loss, for someone who is not good for you. You honor yourself, knowing you have the capacity to make bold and brave choices for a life worth living.
And a story worth remembering: your story.
We all pass on one day. And who we die with—the version of ourselves we’ve created together with time and choices—will either be a comfortable passing…or one that is truly scary.
Because a life filled with regret and guilt is not a comfortable way to go at all. I want you to always remember: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
Life isn’t about stepping on people’s toes, deceiving your way to reach your goals, or hurting others just because you can. Their lives will heal and move on. Yours, might not.
Self-love is a muscle we exercise each time we make a choice. Choose yourself. Choose the version of yourself, that you can fall in love with each and every time.
Who we are really looking for in this journey: is the variation of ourselves we thought was impossible.
Stay Well & Be Loved,