Self-love is sometimes thought to be an appreciation for one's own worth or value. The words "self-love" are not generally used in psychology research. Instead, research is conducted on topics like self-worth, self-esteem, or self-compassion—topics closely related to self-love.
Positive feelings towards the self are thought to be a crucial aspect of well-being. For example, self-esteem contributes to positive feelings and more initiative (Crocker, & Knight, 2005). Luckily, there a number of ways to boost self-love. By using these strategies, hopefully, we can feel better about our personality, skills, and appearance. Here are some self-love tips:
1. Be kind to yourself. When we judge and criticize ourselves, we can end up feeling even worse about ourselves. We're being bullies. That's why when trying to develop self-love, it's important to be nice to ourselves. We could start by writing ourselves a self-compassionate letter—a letter where we talk to ourselves gently and tell ourselves all the nice things we want to hear.
2. Own your power. If we feel like we have little control or power over our lives, we can start to feel helpless and hopeless. Even though we don't have control over everything, if we look, we can find ways to own our own power. For example, we might take responsibility for keeping our room clean or our bed made. We might decide to practice random acts of kindness. Or we might start working towards building a new skill that will help us get a better job. We are not entirely powerless, and we show ourselves self-love by taking back control of our lives.
3. Try self-love meditation. Guided self-love meditation may help us work on the parts of our minds that can be destructive or self-loathing. Basically, we take time to sit quietly and think positive thoughts about ourselves and remind ourselves that we are indeed worthy of our own love.
4. Try to undo negative self-talk. When we have negative thoughts about ourselves, we often believe these thoughts. We might get down on ourselves for something we said or did. By questioning this negative self-talk, we can start to pick apart its logic and discover that many of the negative things we think about ourselves are not true. They are just opinions and we don't need to hold these opinions anymore.
5. Give love to others. Maybe we aren't feeling enough self-love because we just aren't putting enough love out into the world. If we practice loving others, it may help us improve our "love skills" and have an easier time showing love to ourselves too.
6. Forgive yourself. Research shows that forgiveness can help us reverse stress and anger (Harris, et al., 2006). So if you're withholding love for yourself because you feel guilty for doing something bad in the past, try to move past it, forgive yourself, and let go. Holding onto self-directed anger does no one any good, so see if you can find a way to call it even with yourself.
7. Try self-love journaling. Daily journaling can be a great way to better understand and work through feelings we have about ourselves. So consider starting a self-love journal. In this journal, write 3 good things you like about yourself each day. This can be a reminder that can help you shift your thoughts in ways that improve how you feel about yourself.
Created with content from The Berkeley Well-Being Institute.
Crocker, J., & Knight, K. M. (2005). Contingencies of self-worth. Current directions in psychological science, 14(4), 200-203.
Harris, A. H., Luskin, F. M., Benisovich, S. V., Standard, S., Bruning, J., Evans, S., and Thoresen, C. (2006). Effects of a group forgiveness intervention on forgiveness, perceived stress and trait anger: A randomized trial. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(6), 715-733.