Mental Health

5 tips on learning to love yourself

Need some direction on learning to love yourself? It’s true in life that you can be your own worst critic, being far harsher on yourself than you would ever be to others.

While you may show your loved ones plenty of compassion and accept their ‘flaws’, it’s likely you don’t do the same for yourself. No one in life is perfect, and we can’t expect ourselves to be.

The importance of speaking to yourself kindly and loving yourself cannot be underestimated. Studies suggest self-love and compassion has a positive impact on overall wellbeing, and may be linked to keeping depression and anxiety at bay.

Here, we share five self-love tips to learn how to love yourself and show yourself some meaningful appreciation.

5 tips on learning to love yourself

Treat yourself like you would a friend

Changing your inner monologue can be key in learning how to love yourself. Instead of harshly critiquing, speak kindly about yourself, be gentle, forgive and be patient, as you would do with others.

Part of this outlook is seeing failures and mistakes as opportunities to grow, learning and moving on from them – as well as acknowledging success.

Renowned psychologist Albert Ellis once said that accepting ourselves only conditionally can be detrimental to us. Instead, we should accept ourselves unconditionally, warts and all.

Meanwhile, a study published in Psychological Science discovered that divorcees who spoke compassionately to themselves bounced back quicker from the separation than those who criticised themselves, meaning you may make yourself more resilient with self-love.

Accept feedback

How many times do you shrug off kind words or compliments offered to you by a friend?

One 2014 study suggested several positive actions that can increase self-acceptance.

Researchers suggested asking friends and family to tell you your biggest strengths to help love who you are. They might even suggest things you’re good at that would never occur to you.

If you don’t feel confident asking, you could try making a note of any compliments you receive for a boost whenever you may need it.

Practice good self-care

Self-care is basically self-love in action. Take care of your basic needs with a good self-care routine.

That might include carving time of your day with a mindful shower, stepping outside every morning for a brisk jog around the park for an endorphin boost, or even treating yourself to a soothing face mask after work.

When you start to care for yourself and what your body needs, it can help to improve the relationship that you have with yourself. And, self-acceptance may lead to greater life satisfaction, according to this 2014 study.

Be mindful

According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, combining mindfulness with self-compassion has positive outcomes on learning to love ourselves.

Their research suggests that practising mindfulness techniques for 40 minutes every day can increase levels of self-compassion by 43%.

You can find our guide to the best mindfulness apps out there here.

Practice positive affirmations

Experts suggest standing in front of a mirror and listing what you already love about yourself. It might feel silly at first, but you’ll soon start feeling more comfortable.

Positive affirmations can be big or small. Maybe one of your strengths is showing patience with family members or perhaps you’re really good at making the perfect cup of tea.

Do you have any tips on learning to love yourself?

Books on learning how to love yourself

Love yourself like your life depends on it, Kamal Ravikant

Discover the story of Kamal’s radical self-growth. It’s an enriching practice guide to help anyone who feels lost and miserable; who has struggled to get out of bed or smile through profound sadness.

Find out more

Negative self-talk and how to change it, Shad Helmstetter Ph.D

A helpful handbook of how to deal with negative self-talk. Ideal for yourself, or anyone in your life.

Find out more