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4 Ways to Love Yourself - wikiHow

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How to Love Yourself


Four Methods:

Improving Your Inner Voice

Exercising Self-Love

Expert
Reviewed
Practicing Loving-Kindness Meditation

Understanding Self-Love

Improve your inner voice by thinking positively and avoiding perfectionism. Don't call yourself names or assume the worst.
Exercise self-love by listing your positive attributes and reflecting on them daily. Consider visiting a therapist. Repeat positive
affirmations daily and do things you enjoy. Lastly, consider practicing loving-kindness meditation.

Method

Improving Your Inner Voice


Overcome negative beliefs about yourself. Many people have trouble letting go of negative thoughts that they
have about themselves. These negative thoughts often come from outside people whose opinion we value and

from whom we seek love and acceptance.[1]

Avoid perfectionism. Some people have trouble accepting anything less than perfection from themselves. [2] If
you find yourself pursuing perfectionism and feeling negatively about yourself when you are less than perfect, take
three simple steps. Stop your current line of thinking, then focus on the effort that will be required to work towards a
goal, then steadily apply the required effort.[3]
Changing your focus from a final product (which may be evaluated in terms of "perfection) to the effort behind a
task (which is harder to quantify as "perfect") can help you appreciate your own good work.

Discard your negative filter. Focusing only on the negatives in your life is a bad habit. Excessive focus on

Never call yourself names. Calling yourself a name is reducing yourself from a human to a single element of

negative or less favorable events in your life can make these events seem disproportionately important. [4] If you
find yourself complaining that everything that happens to you is bad, try to find a little evidence to the contrary; it is very
unlikely that everything is really bad.

yourself that you do not like.[5]


Saying I am such a failure after getting fired from a job is inaccurate and unfair to you. Instead, make the
useful comment, I lost my job, but I can use this experience to find and keep a new job.
Saying I am so stupid is also likely untrue and reductive. If you feel stupid, its more likely that you have a lack
of knowledge about something. Instead, think, I dont know how to do this basic home maintenance. Perhaps I
could take a class and learn to do this in the future.

Do not assume the worst can happen. It can be easy to fall into the assumption that the very worst outcome will

Rewrite your internal script. When you realize that you are thinking negatively for yourself, acknowledge the
feeling, identify the source of the feeling, and then consciously make a new statement re-writing your thought as a

happen with every situation. [6] However, changing your inner thoughts to be realistic or truthful can help you
avoid the generalization or exaggeration that accompanies assuming the worst.

more positive one.[7]


For example, if you forgot to send an important work-related email, you may find yourself thinking I am so
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stupid! How could I have done that?


Stop yourself, and think I feel stupid right now because I forgot to send the email. When I would forget to do
things as a child, my father would tell me that I was stupid. These are his words, not my own, in my head.
Then think to yourself, I am a competent employee who made a human mistake, and I will be sure to write
myself a reminder in the future. For now, I will send the email along with an apology for not sending it before.

Method

Exercising Self-Love
List your positive attributes and reflect on them daily. This can be difficult for someone who habitually thinks
negatively of themselves, but try to find one positive thing about yourself to add to the list once a week. At the end

of each day, reflect on your entire list.[8]


Make your list very specific. Instead of using general adjectives to describe yourself, try listing specific actions
or attributes that describe who you are and what you do.
For example, instead of simply saying "I am generous," you can write "Any time I know that a friend is
struggling, I give her a small, thoughtful gift to show that I care. This makes me generous."
As you read and reflect on your list, remember that each item on the list, however insignificant it may seem, is a
reason that you are worthy of respect and love.

Give yourself the gift of time. Do not feel guilty for spending time thinking about and reflecting on yourself and

your own life.[9] It is important to give yourself the time and permission for self-love. You will likely find that by
doing so, you are more able to spend quality time helping others.

Celebrate and reward yourself. This is the fun part of self-love: rewarding yourself![10] If you have had a
significant accomplishment, celebrate it with a nice dinner at your favorite fancy restaurant. Think of all of the hard
work you do every day, and find a reason to reward yourself with something nice. Buy yourself the new book or video
game youve had your eye on. Take a long shower or bubble bath. Go on a solo fishing trip or get a massage.

Develop a plan for dealing with setbacks or negativity. Notice what tends to throw you off from your current

path of self-love, and decide how to deal with those things.[11] Realize that you cannot control the words and
actions of others, but you can control your responses and reactions.
You may notice that negative comments from one particular person, such as your mom or your boss, set you off
into a spiral of negativity. If this happens consistently, try to identify why this is.
Decide how you will deal with negative thoughts you do have. You may need to give yourself a time-out to
meditate or breathe. Acknowledge your feelings and reframe your negative reaction with positive reminders of
your self-worth.

Visit a therapist. Exploring negative thoughts and identifying triggers for your emotions can bring up feelings or
memories from your past that are difficult to deal with. [12]
A therapist who is experienced with addressing painful pasts can help you navigate through the experience of
recovery without causing you to relive painful experiences.[13]
A therapists office can be a great place to learn to handle your negative thoughts productively and realize your
positive qualities.

Repeat positive affirmations daily. Find some positive thoughts that help you feel better, and repeat them daily.
This may seem awkward or cheesy at first, but the habit will cause the positive thoughts to sink in, and you will

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begin to believe them, even if you dont at first.


A good positive affirmation to promote self-love is: I am a whole, worthy individual, and I respect, trust, and
love myself.
If you find that the affirmations are not helping on their own, try visiting a therapist and pursuing a multi-level
treatment that includes other approaches as well.[14]

Do things that make you feel good. Think of feeling good physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Do what it
takes to feel good in multiple ways; it may require exercise, meditation, dancing and keeping a positivity journal.
Find a routine that feels good and stick to it.

Reflect on the effects of practicing self-love. When you spend time loving and rewarding yourself, you will
likely see benefits in other areas of your life. Notice whether you have more energy, or if you are able to be more
present with others. You might start to feel like you are more in charge of the choices you make, and that you have
more control of your life.

Method

Practicing Loving-Kindness Meditation

Understand Loving-Kindness Meditation (LKM). LKM is a form of meditation that enhances your feelings of

Embrace the principles of LKM. Loving-Kindness Meditation involves loving without the imposition of

kindness for yourself and others. LKM can give you the tools that you need to become proficient in self-love.[15]

expectations or conditions. It encourages you to love without judgment (either of yourself or others). [16]
Judgments of ourselves or others often causes misery in relationships with others or in our own minds.
Learning to love without judgment is learning to love selflessly.

Breathe deeply. Begin with breathing in slowly and deeply. Sit comfortably in a chair and allow your chest to fill

Support yourself with positive affirmations. As you continue your deep breaths, begin repeating the following

completely with air, expanding from your diaphragm. Then exhale slowly and completely. [17]

affirmations to yourself: [18]


May I achieve my dreams and live in happiness and peace.
May I love others with my whole heart.
I wish for myself and my family to be protected from harm.
I wish for a life of heath for myself, my family, and my friends.
May I learn to forgive myself and others.

Identify negative responses you have to the positive affirmations. If you find yourself thinking negative
thoughts while you are repeating these affirmations, think about who is triggering these negative thoughts. Identify
people towards whom you have difficulty feeling unconditional love. Repeat your affirmations, thinking about these
people. [19]

Think about someone you feel positively towards. Repeat the affirmations, keeping that person in your mind
as you repeat them.

Think of someone you feel neutral about. Repeat the affirmations, keeping that person about whom you feel
neutral in mind.

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Allow the positivity from the affirmations to fill you completely. Repeat the affirmations without thinking of
anyone in particular. Focus instead on the positivity of the affirmations. Allow the feelings of positivity to fill you

completely, and send that positivity out from yourself to the entire planet. [20]

Repeat a final mantra of love. Once you have extended feelings of positivity everywhere, repeat the following
mantra: May all living humans feel and be joyous, happiness, and healthfulness. Repeat this affirmation five

times as you feel the words resonate in your body and extend out to everything in the universe. [21]

Method

Understanding Self-Love

Know the dangers of a lack of self-love. A lack of self-love can lead you to make harmful choices. A lack of selflove often equates to a lack of self-worth that leads to conscious or unconscious self-sabotage and prevents
individuals from advocating for their own basic needs.
Lack of self-love can lead to a harmful dependence on others for validation.[22] Relying on others for validation
often leads people to set aside their own needs in order to gain others approval.
Lack of self-love can also prevent emotional healing and progress; one study showed that individuals who
engage in self-blame and ignoring themselves had poorer outcomes in psychotherapy.[23]

Recognize the importance of childhood experiences to loving yourself. Parent-child relationships have
lifelong effects on character development; children who did not have physical, emotional, and mental needs met

may have lasting problems with low self-esteem.[24]


Negative messages received in childhoodparticularly recurring messagesoften stick in an individuals mind
and color their self-perceptions later in life.
For example, a child who is told that she is dull or boring will likely think that she is dull or boring as an adult,
even if there is evidence to the contrary (such as having many friends, making people laugh, or living an
interesting lifestyle).[25]

Understand how parents can support self-esteem. Parents can follow the following advice to improve their
childrens feelings of self-worth:
Listen to your children; it increases their self-worth.[26]
It can be easy to "tune-out" a child who talks a lot, not really listening to what she is saying. However, if
you really listen to her and interact with her by asking her follow-up questions and responding to her
words, she will feel that you value what she has to say.
Teach children in a non-aggressive way (without hitting, yelling, or shaming) to stabilize their feelings of selfworth.[27]
For example, if your child hits another child, you can pull him to the side and calmly tell him that he
shouldn't hit other children because it can hurt them. If necessary, you can have him take a short break
to breathe and collect himself before returning to play.
Offer children warmth, affection, support, and respect without judgment to make children feel worthy of love and
acceptance. [28]
If your child tells you that he is sad about something that seems silly to you (like the sun going down),
do not dismiss his feelings. Acknowledge his feelings by saying "I understand that you are sad that the
sun went down. Then do your best to explain why the situation cannot be changed by saying something
like, "The sun has to go down every night because the world is turning and the people on the other side
of the Earth need to get sunshine too. It also gives us the opportunity to rest and get ready for the next

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day." Finally, offer a hug or other physical affection to comfort your child and help him feel that you
empathize with him, even if you cannot change the situation.

Understand the effects of outside comments on self-love. You will encounter negativity in your life. Self-love
cannot be practiced in a bubble, without the influence of outside comments and potential negativity. As such, you
must learn to deal with negativity from your partner, your boss, your parents, or even strangers on the street.
You can empower yourself to let such negativity roll off of you without allowing it to change your feelings of selfworth.

Community Q&A
What if other people think I am weird?

wikiHow
Contributor

We are all weird in one way or another and there is nothing wrong with that. The people who say that we're weird are
just applying their standards to us. There will always be different people, but there will also be people who are just like
you and think that you are completely normal. You just have to find those people. Other people are trying to make you
conform to their ways.
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Sometimes I feel bad because I've hurt others by mistake. How do I get past these feelings?

wikiHow
Contributor

The fact that you realize you've hurt people shows that you have empathy and an ability to acknowledge your
wrongdoing, and that's a good thing. The guilt and sadness you are likely feeling probably stem from not having done
anything to remedy what you've done to hurt these people. To fix your feelings, work out how you might apologize and
make it up to these people, remembering that they may need to see action more than words to believe that you've
changed. However, at least doing this will set you on the right pathway, you'll have the tools to stop hurting people in
this way, and your bad feelings will be replaced with constructive ones.
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I feel inferior to people whom I think are better than I am.

wikiHow
Contributor

Dont keep comparing yourself to others. Accept who you are. Realize your talents and abilities and take pride in them.
You were born unique and there is something in you that other people dont have. We all have something to be proud
of and you have to search for that within. Dont think you are no good or not as good as others are. You just dont know
how many people admire you for who and what you are. Think about those people who appreciate you and be happy
about it. Learn to love yourself. Remember, you are special and born unique. You possess qualities that dont people
have. Just learn to appreciate yourself.
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Usually I hate myself so much. I hate how I look and everything about me. How can I feel better?

wikiHow
Contributor

Sadly we live in times where we are given many messages suggesting we're only as good as others' appraisal of us,
especially our appearance and our outward display of perfection. The answer is to realize this and to also give up
comparing yourself to others. Remember that you are loved by family and friends and that you are a precious miracle
of existence. Spend some time reading about improving your sense of self worth, learning about assertiveness and
discovering how to make the most of your talents. In this way, you can stop feeling a sense of loss and disappointment
about not measuring up to unrealistic expectations and can get on with appreciating yourself, your talents and your life,
to the fullest.
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I keep thinking badly about myself and putting myself down. How do I stop?

wikiHow
Contributor

Teach yourself to let go of negativity and fill your mind with positive thoughts. Its a gradual process, so be patient. Start
by slowly changing the quality of your thoughts. You are the driver of your life; you are the only one who can change
the way you think; dont depend on other people! Read books and articles on how to improve your quality of life.
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How can I be more comfortable around people? Sometimes I don't feel comfortable with my own parents and family.

wikiHow
Contributor

You have to put yourself out there. There will always be situations that force you to step out of your comfort zone. You
will need to develop your social skills, which is easier when you hang out with understanding and outgoing people who
do the talking for you, but you may have to start the conversation on your own. Try some extracurricular activities as
well, and find people who share your hobbies and interests.
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How do I love myself despite not being loved by anyone around me, having no friends or loving family?

wikiHow
Contributor

Tell yourself daily that you are enough, strong and beautiful. People will soon love you if they see that you are loving
yourself but you don't need people's validation, just their respect and kindness. The more you reach out, the more
others will respond and some people may even become friends.
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How do I understand a mistake I made?

wikiHow
Contributor

Determine whose perspective is calling it a mistake first. Did someone else say that you made the mistake? If so, why?
You may need to ask them to explain it some more. If it's your own perspective and you decided that you made a
mistake, then think through why you did it, why you consider it didn't turn out as you'd wanted it to and what
consequences are going to occur as a result. Once you've worked out the why and the what might happen, then think
about the how you will make things better to avoid doing the same thing again.
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What do I do if everything is going great, but I suddenly start to feel very worthless again?

wikiHow
Contributor

I understand what you mean. Something I do every day is recall all the things I've done in the past that made me
believe everything was going great. These memories give me a boost. So then I think "If I did all those things then and
felt great, what's stopping me from doing them now?" Always remember that you are not worthless. No one's worth can
be determined. No one has the right to judge you. It's you who determines what you amount to. So try and stay positive
as often as you can. Don't ever put yourself down. If you do make a mistake, laugh it off. I don't know you, but I'm sure
you're a beautiful person and I hope this helps.
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How can I stop thinking negatively about myself and start thinking positively?

wikiHow
Contributor

Try writing down all the good things that you have done in your life. Also, try changing your personal style. Sometimes
all you need is a reset button on what you see when you look in the mirror. Try volunteering in your community. Helping
others is good for the soul. Adopt a pet. Pets tend to love us no matter what we look like or what we are going through.
Their sense of love and loyalty can and will make life more meaningful Read self help books or articles online.
Guidance for others who go through what you are going through is very comforting.
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Tips
Remind yourself that you are worth loving. Many people tend to get insecure about themselves, when in reality we are all
human beings! Always believe in yourself, and be the confident, optimistic you.
Avoid things that encourage stereotypical ideas, such as beauty magazines.
Be yourself and stop caring about what others think. Be the best version of yourself that you can be.
Being yourself isn't bad. We all want to achieve the best person we can be. Just remember that if you're trying to be like
someone else, or your method to feeling positive feels fake even after a long time of trying, then it's not YOU that you are
loving. Accept yourself, identify the parts of yourself that you haven't yet. Try new things and conquer your fears.You'd be
surprised at what you find!

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Sources and Citations


1. http://www.cognitivetherapyguide.org/negative-thinking-patterns.htm
2. http://cmhc.utexas.edu/selfesteem.html
3. http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/happiness-exercise-how-overcome-perfectionism

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