Self Care Tips During Difficult Times (A Therapist’s Advice)

How do you love yourself?

To love yourself is to experience freedom – freedom from doubt, self-hate, and oppression created by you.

To love yourself is to no longer hold yourself back from what you deserve.

To love yourself is to grow and enjoy your life.

Self-love is a necessity if you want to live a truly happy life. Self-love is a choice, a commitment to yourself that you are going to love yourself, despite all the social and biological obstacles in your path. It is not found in a place, person or item.

Can You Love Someone If You Don’t Love Yourself?

We hear this a lot – that you can’t love someone if you don’t love yourself. But that simply isn’t true.

You can love someone even if you don’t love yourself. To say otherwise would be untrue. You can experience and express love even if you do not love yourself.

What you can’t do is expect that person to fill the void in your life that isn’t filled with your love for yourself. You can’t find that love in anyone or anything.

Self-love is chosen, forged, practiced, and fought. It isn’t always easy, but you can never find it in the arms of another person.

What Do You Need to Do to Love Yourself?

1. Choose to Do It

Self-love is a choice; it isn’t handed to you. It is not found in someone else or an object.

You achieve self-love by deciding that you want it. After a lifetime of hating yourself for not being enough, you have to choose to let go of this toxic mindset. Choose to say no to all the internal self-hate, and choose to tell yourself the truth that you are not perfect and that is okay.

To start this, give yourself permission to love yourself. You are worthy of being loved, even if you tell yourself you’re not. Take a moment to tell yourself this and permit yourself to love yourself.

This is the first step in accepting that you can love yourself and that you are choosing it.

2. Achieve Self Acceptance

You are who you are, and there is nothing wrong with that.

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You don’t have to be something else to have worth or to be good enough. Who you are right now, is enough.

People may not like you and that is okay because the point of self-love is that it doesn’t matter what other people think of you. What only matters is what you think of yourself.

That starts with accepting that you are who you are and having faith that there is nothing wrong with that.

3. Know That Self-Love Is an Endless Journey

As we go through life, we grow, change, learn, and become entirely new different people.

We are all different people from who we were 10 years ago, which means self-love isn’t just learning to love yourself once. It is about falling and being in love with yourself as you change and grow.

You don’t achieve self-love; you travel with it as you discover who you are.

4. Let Go of the Idea of Perfection

You are never going to be perfect; no human will ever be.

Don’t let that stop you from loving yourself. It is easy to hate yourself for not being perfect or enough. But this only creates self-hate because instead of focusing on all that you have, you are focused on all that you are not.

Self-love blooms in a mindset of abundance, which means you have to see all that you have and feel gratitude for it. Self-love struggles, wilts, and dies in a mindset that is rooted in perfection, aka never good enough.

5. Identify the Difference Between Truth And Opinion

Self-love starts by changing the way you think and see yourself. This all starts with our internal narrative and the stories we tell ourselves.

An example of our stories would be:

“I can’t do this because I am too (something like clumsy, stupid, weak, etc.).”

These stories come in many forms, such as:

“I cannot have this in my life because (I am not good enough, this is not meant for me, If I was like this, I could get what I want).”

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“I am (Insert negative adjective).”

Taking a good hard look at your internal rhetoric can be revealing as to why you have struggled to love yourself.

When you are down on yourself, it is because, at some point in time, someone or something made you feel not good enough. It could have been a comment from a family member, a judgemental magazine article, or a random video you watched.

It made you question your worth, and you took this knowledge and used it to hate yourself.

What I want you to realize is that most of these thoughts aren’t facts. They are only our opinions of ourselves, but we treat these opinions as facts – irrefutable facts.

When we tell ourselves we can’t do something, we won’t be able to. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that confirms in our brains that our opinions are facts.

When you say I cannot or I can’t or this isn’t meant for me, you kill 2 things:

  1. Hope – you decided you cannot, so there is no reason to try.
  2. Growth – you cut off the opportunity to try, fail and grow.

You become stuck in a fixed mindset with no choice but to succumb to your fate as a self-imposed loser. If you want to love yourself, this needs to stop because these aren’t facts.

Fact Versus Opinion

Let’s break this down to the basics:

A fact is a thing that is known or proven to be true.

An opinion is a view or judgment formed about something, which is not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

For example:

It is a fact that an orange has a peel.

It is an opinion that the orange is round and therefore unattractive.

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Let me translate.

It is a fact that you have fat on your body

It is an opinion that having that fat makes you an unworthy person.

Example 2:

I cannot apply for this new job, because I am not qualified

Let’s deconstruct, there is one fact in this sentence and that is I am not qualified. This is just a fact, you are not qualified for a position, you have then placed an opinion upon it.

I cannot apply.

I cannot = I am not good enough.

Your worth isn’t dependant on your qualifications. Factually, you can apply for this position even if you are not qualified.

We give power to facts, and we can decide if it’s positive or negative, self-destructive or empowering. It is time to let go of these opinions and change them.

Instead of “I cannot apply for this job, I am not qualified”, make it “I can apply for this job, although I am not qualified for it, I can always try! I will always learn something and that is always fun”.

6. Learn That Failure Is Your Friend

When we fail, we use that as an excuse to hate ourselves for not being good enough. But you have it all wrong.

Failure is growth. Instead of focusing on how you aren’t good enough, focus on what you learned.

How did you grow? How can you apply this knowledge in the future? The faster you fail, the faster you grow!

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Don’t let failure be the reason you hate yourself. Choose to love it and laugh at yourself when you fail. Laugh, get back up, think about how you can grow from this, and move forward.

You are going to fail a lot in your life, so you might as well have it on your side and when you do. It will grow and foster self-love.

7. Learn How to Not Take Things Personally

The thing about life is that it isn’t all about you.

We are bombarded with negativity, and most of the time, we find ways to be offended as well, even unconsciously. This is biology at work, but now it’s time to let go of this defense mechanism.

To stop taking things very personally:

  • Know that the comments that hurt you aren’t about you at all. See it from the other person’s perspective. 50% of the time, it isn’t even about it. It can be redirected aggression or maybe you just happen to be the one in that situation.
  • It may be about you, and you need to show yourself some empathy. Be vulnerable and kind to yourself, and talk in a non-judgemental way to the person who offended you.

By not taking things personally, you stop torturing yourself and therefore, you love yourself more.

Not every negative thing is about you. The world is bigger than just you.

Final Thoughts

If you want to learn how to love yourself, the most important thing you have to do is commit to learning all about it.

Like life, you will grow and change by continuously learning new ways to love yourself and express who you really are, and you will be happy.

For more information on how to love yourself, here is another article with more detailed instructions: Learning To Love Yourself.

And always remember: you are worth loving.

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Featured photo credit: Jakob Owens via unsplash.com