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Nurturing Self-Love: 5 Steps to Improve the Relationship with Yourself

girl at the mirror

From early childhood, we learn to be kind and care for others; we are rarely taught to do the same for ourselves. That's one reason why showing unconditional love to yourself is so challenging while loving others feels easier. Learning to love yourself involves breaking down patterns built up over decades.

It requires reviewing habits and expectations, improving self-care, unlearning patterns, building trust and accepting limits. Ready for the challenge?

1. Paying Attention to Your Self-Talk

This step is fundamental.  Using kindness when you talk to yourself is crucial, and improving your inner world cannot happen if you keep verbally abusing yourself.

How Childhood Shapes Your Self-Talk

The self-talk begins in childhood. The inner voice is set up according to how the child perceives and interprets themself through the primary caregiver's attention. This initial voice influences all future self-beliefs. The inner discourse develops through life and tends to be harsh, especially in tough times. The voice cannot be erased but will become less prominent by introducing positive self-talk.

Redirect Your Inner Voice Through Positive Self-Talk

Intentionally using positive self-talk lays the ground for self-love and influences the perception of the self, thoughts and behaviours. Our inner chat creates our perception of reality and requires intentionality to be improved.

sign you are worthy of love

Love yourself. Enough to take the actions required for your happiness.

Enough to forgive yourself. Enough to move on.

Steve Maraboli

2. Writing a New Narrative

Journalling helps you revisit the stories you are telling yourself and understand their impact. By exploring your inner world, you start to make sense of your experience and make more conscious decisions about what you want your future to focus on.

Journalling helps reflect on reactions to specific situations, evaluate feelings, and explain how some of your beliefs and responses have formed. Exploring underneath the surface and connecting with the self will allow you to recognise present patterns. You can start to separate harmful influences from your narrative and purposely modify what is not working for you anymore, free yourself from old beliefs and update your responses.

3. Accept Your Limits

The natural striving for the better is what allowed humankind to evolve and improve. Still, the continuous striving to be better can become exhausting.

No one is meant to be perfect, and you can’t expect yourself to be.

Failing while trying to achieve something cannot be considered a failure; it simply means it doesn't work that way for you. 

  • Giving yourself a break and accepting that you may not be good at everything may be the most significant gift you give to yourself. 

  • Stop judgmental attitudes, comparing yourself to others and telling yourself you aren't good enough. 

  • Make a genuine effort to love and appreciate yourself despite your weaknesses.

Accept that some things are not meant to be; being harsh on yourself won’t improve the situation; the only result is to make having a positive relationship with yourself more challenging.

Woman loving herself

Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says

being hard on yourself is the way to be.

Kristin Neff

4. Practice Gratitude

Experiencing gratitude requires intention. Focusing on something you can be grateful for involves stopping your thoughts briefly and intentionally looking for something you may take for granted and being thankful for that.

Expressing gratitude to yourself, your friends, or your family can feel uneasy if you are not used to it. Do yourself a favour and try your best.

Begin by looking in the mirror and saying thank you to yourself. This promotes a growing feeling of love and appreciation, and you learn to notice there is good stuff in your life.

5. Build Meaningful Connections

We cannot choose the family we are born into, but we can choose who we want to be in our lives. Carefully choosing who you let into your life is crucial to how you feel about yourself and relate to your environment.

Make sure the people you let in are "your people". Your people are those who:

  • Believe in you.

  • Allow you to be your authentic self.

  • Engage in honest and uncomfortable conversations with you.

  • Respect your opinions, even if different.

  • Stand by you when needed."

Your people will add positivity to your life, support you through hardships, and inspire you to feel passionate about your journey.

friends looking at sunrise

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy;

they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Marcel Proust

Nurturing Self-Love: Final Thoughts

Loving yourself is a long-term commitment; like every commitment, it requires dedication, patience and flexibility.

When unpleasant feelings rule your day for too long, it’s time to reach out to someone you trust. You don't have to face everything alone. Contact a helpline, a support group, or a professional. Your GP or a counsellor can make a difference in your wellbeing. 

Subscribe to this website and get 15 minutes of free online consultations. 



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