The best self-love phrase you can use right now:
‘In order to soar, you must learn to F.L.Y. – First Love Yourself.’ – Unknown
When was the last time you really, truly, loved yourself? Not in a self-important way, but in a way where you accepted who you are, made a conscious effort to be kind to yourself, and treated yourself the same way you treat the one person you would do anything for? Whether that be your partner, child, best friend, or parent, it’s so important to extend the same love to ourselves as we give to others.
The problem is, we’re often so busy looking after everyone else and putting their needs before our own, that we forget how much we deserve love, too. We give, and we give, having been conditioned over the years to put others first (which is particularly the case for women, as it’s in our nature). And through this, we’ve learned to believe that looking after ourselves is selfish.
But what if I was to tell you that self-love is far from selfish? That it’s actually essential for healthy self-esteem and a happy, fulfilling life?
“Self-love isn’t selfish.”
Let’s explore what self-love really is, why some of us find it so hard, and how you can learn to give yourself the love and care you truly deserve.
(You’ll also find at the end of this post a brilliant list of self-love phrases you can reference for whenever you need them.)
What is meant by self-love?
In its basic form, self-love is simply a case of turning the love you extend to others, inwards. But it’s a phrase that actually encompasses several aspects.
It’s having the ability to know and understand yourself with compassion and kindness. It’s about accepting yourself as a whole, regardless of those parts you might consider ‘unfavourable’.
It’s having a strong sense of self-worth, with confidence in your abilities. It’s about looking after your wellbeing, nurturing yourself, and on a deeper level, allowing yourself to grow.
Let’s look at 4 aspects of self-love in more detail:
Self-awareness means understanding who you are, inside and out. You know what your strengths and weaknesses are, while being comfortable with who you are as a whole (self-acceptance). Being self-aware gives you the opportunity to grow if you choose to, without judgement.
Your self-worth, or your perceived level of self-worth, reflects how you feel about your own value to yourself and to others. Being kind and gentle to yourself through all the forms of self-love can really help to boost your self-worth.
For example, exercising as a form of self-care is a great way to boost your mental health as it releases endorphins (happy hormones that make you feel good!) Similarly, choosing positive affirmations or setting boundaries can feel empowering and help to increase your sense of self-worth.
Self-love and self-care are intrinsically linked. Where self-love is the intangible awareness of your own worth, self-care is the action you take to nurture yourself. Looking after your physical and mental health, purposefully taking time to relax, and doing things that make you happy, are all forms of practising self-care.
Your level of self-esteem is basically a measure of how you feel about yourself, and can be influenced by a number of things, from experiences in your earlier life, to something that’s happened recently. If your self-esteem is low, you likely don’t have a very high opinion of yourself.
This can affect how you feel about your appearance, your skills, and your level of self-worth, as we discussed above. But don’t worry, because help is at hand! You can absolutely boost your self-esteem with these helpful tips, which you can check out here:
What self-love isn’t
Have you ever heard someone say ‘She really loves herself.’?
Self-love isn’t about being completely self-absorbed. And the girl who ‘loves herself’ isn’t necessarily full of self-importance. Perhaps, today, she’s simply feeling great and loving life right now. But that’s not to say she doesn’t have days filled with self-doubt or low confidence.
(Incidentally, these types of phrases often reflect how the person making the remark feels about their own self-esteem.)
Self-love is having the confidence to extend the same care and attention to yourself that you do to others, and to believe that you matter. And when you stop worrying about what other people think and focus on YOU, something magical happens.
The best part about self-love
When you love and accept yourself with kindness and compassion, that love blossoms and spreads outwards towards others. And that love is reflected right back at you.
Have you ever heard how your thoughts create your reality? Learning to love who you are, flaws and all, has a positive, compounding effect. You smile more, you exude confidence and positivity, and people become drawn to you.
The best self-love quote
Roald Dahl’s well-known ‘sunbeams’ phrase is the perfect one to support the effects of positive thinking. He really couldn’t have put it better when he said:
If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. – Roald Dahl
Thinking good thoughts is a wonderful form of self-love, because you are training yourself to choose positive thoughts over unhelpful thinking habits.
Why is self-love so important?
When we don’t love ourselves, we allow the negative thoughts to run the show. The compassion, kindness and understanding you show yourself through self-love can help to filter those negative thoughts. When you’re in a loving state of mind, it’s much easier to be able to challenge any obstructive thinking.
Self-love can also help in avoiding burnout. Knowing your limits and knowing how to set personal boundaries stops you from pushing yourself and doing too much. You know when to say no, when to retreat, and when to give yourself some much-needed time out.
Why is self-love hard?
It isn’t easy to practise loving ourselves if we’ve been conditioned to believe we’re not good enough. Stories that we tell ourselves are extensions of others’ opinions — those that were passed down to us from an early age.
For example, were you ever called ‘stupid’ when you were little? Small minds are easily influenced, and comments like this — while often said in the heat of the moment — can be hurtful and cause lasting damage. It becomes a belief that you carry with you into your adult life.
When we struggle with limiting beliefs around our own worth, it can be very difficult to switch that thinking. And when our self-esteem gets low, it can feel really hard to love ourselves. That’s why it’s so important to get to the bottom of why you think these negative thoughts, and be able to challenge them.
How to start self-love
The first step to learning to love yourself is to understand what’s stopping you from being able to do so. A great place to start is to listen to those negative thoughts that run on autopilot in your head, and make a note of them. You’ll start to notice a pattern, phrases that you tell yourself daily, beliefs that you have from your childhood. As these patterns emerge, your self-awareness grows.
Another really important place to start self-love is through looking after your physical and mental health. You don’t need to train to run a marathon. Just committing to walking a few times a week can do wonders for your heart and your head with fresh air and happy hormones.
Self-love and self-esteem
Confidence grows through practising self-love on a regular basis, and therefore, building healthy self-esteem.
For help with changing how you feel about yourself and to start your self-love journey, you can download your FREE workbook: 7 Ways to Boost Your Self Esteem.
How can you caption self-love?
You can caption self-love any way you like by creating your own affirmations.
The easiest way to do this for yourself, is to identify those limiting beliefs we mentioned above, and counter them with positive statements. For example, if you don’t feel you deserve love, and as a result, often reprimand yourself for not being good enough, you could create a caption to tell yourself daily:
“I love and approve of myself.”
It’s not up to other’s to determine your self-worth, because it’s simply an opinion. And opinions are subjective. Meaning, what someone else thinks of you is down to their own values and beliefs, and is no reflection on you as a person. The bottom line is, you need to challenge it and ask yourself: Is it true?
Remember: “What someone else thinks of you is none of your business.”
After all, it’s a reflection of their own issues, and is actually not about you at all.
Now let’s look at a selection of self-love phrases and quotes that sum up a lot of what we’ve talked about above. Use these as a reference and make note of them, depending on your current situation and what you need.
Self-love quotes to boost your self-esteem
“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” — Louise L. Hay
“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the face.” — Helen Keller
“Your self-worth is determined by you. You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are.” — Beyoncé
“I had to grow to love my body. I did not have a good self-image at first. Finally it occurred to me, I’m either going to love me or hate me. And I chose to love myself. Then everything kind of sprung from there. Things that I thought weren’t attractive became sexy. Confidence makes you sexy.” — Queen Latifah
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” — Lucille Ball
“Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness.” — Deborah Day
“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” — Anna Taylor
“Self-care is never a selfish act–it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” — Parker Palmer
“To accept ourselves as we are means to value our imperfections as much as our perfections.” — Sandra Bierig
“Not only do self-love and love of others go hand in hand, but ultimately they are indistinguishable.” — M. Scott Peck
Self-love quotes for when times are hard
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassions, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” — Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
“Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as YOU see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.” — Stacey Charter
What someone else thinks of you is none of your business. — Various
“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.” — Shannon L. Alder
“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.” — Maxwell Maltz
“I don’t want everyone to like me; I should think less of myself if some people did.” — Henry James
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Short self-love quotes
“You can’t pour from an empty cup.” — Various
“If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.” — Charles Bukowski
“Beauty begins the moment you decided to be yourself.” — Coco Chanel
“Loving yourself isn’t vanity. It’s sanity.” — Katrina Mayer
“The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.” — Maya Angelou
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
“Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love.” — Brené Brown
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” — Mark Twain
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” — Confucius
Happiness self-love quotes
“Be healthy and take care of yourself, but be happy with the beautiful things that make you, you.” — Beyoncé
“To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.” — Robert Morley
“If you’re not someone who has a natural and effortless love for yourself, it’s hard to let go of your desire to please other people, and that’s really not an ingredient for a happy life.” — Anne Hathaway
“Make happiness your priority and be gentle with yourself in the process.” — Bronnie Ware
Self-love is the key to a happy and fulfilling life. – Amanda Cass
Self-love quotes from inspiring people
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” — Buddha
“When we fulfill our function, which is to truly love ourselves and share love with others, then true happiness sets in.” — Gabrielle Bernstein
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” — Brené Brown
“Love is the great miracle cure. Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.” — Louise L. Hay
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie
“I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.” — Madonna
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” — Carl Gustav Jung
“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” — Marilyn Monroe
I hope that some of these quotes have given you the inspiration you need to help you on your way to giving yourself more of the care and attention you deserve.
Ultimately, authenticity and making the commitment to love yourself is key when it comes to building healthy self-esteem.
And building self-esteem through compassionate self-love is the perfect recipe for attracting the people who will love you for exactly who you are.
Your Self-Love Challenge
I understand how difficult it can be to make a start, and sometimes, we just need a little guidance.
That’s why I’ve created this 14-day self-love mini-course for you, to give you the support you need to start loving yourself, so you can:
- Determine your current level of self-love
- Learn the beauty of being kind to yourself
- Carve out ways to make time for you
- Implement practical steps to improve your self-love
- Find out how to gain self-acceptance
- Learn to celebrate you
- Reflect on your progress and create your own self-love plan
You’ll have me by your side every day through a series of pre-recorded videos and audios, with lifetime access, for just £14.
I promise you, when you start to really love yourself, you’ll start seeing amazing changes in yourself and your life.
Together, let’s build your self-love and make you a priority, because you absolutely deserve it.
Click the button below to get access to your 14-day self-love challenge.
Hey I’m Natalie, Supporting women like you on their road to self-acceptance and building their self-esteem is – as cliche as it sounds – my calling.