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If You Struggle With Your Self Love, Here’s What You Need to Know

by Apr 3, 2023

Self-love is tough, especially if you’ve never had it before.

You might have days when it’s easy to appreciate yourself and your accomplishments. But you can still fall back into old thinking patterns, ruminating on the past, dreading the future, and feeling unworthy.

Self-love is one of the most worthwhile goals and is the prerequisite for any real success. Here’s what you should know if you struggle with your self-love:

1. Change Your Self-Talk to Boost Your Self Love

Improving your self-talk is the natural first step to boosting your self-love.

What does your inner dialogue sound like? How do you treat yourself when you make a mistake?

If you’re always disparaging, undermining, and underselling yourself, that will affect everything you do.

You have a relationship with yourself, and how you talk to yourself matters greatly.

So, what’s the best way to treat yourself? You want to be a coach and not a tyrant.

  • Tyrants berate you for your mistakes and demand impossible standards.
  • Coaches praise effort, build you up slowly, encourage you to stand up when you fall, and believe in your potential.

Coaching self-talk comes from a place of self-belief, and Tyrant self-talk comes from self-loathing.

Positive self-talk is not constantly patting yourself on the back without any self-awareness. The most beneficial self-talk is grounded in reality and accurate self-evaluation.

The first step is recognizing how you speak to yourself and seeing your habitual negative self-talk as something you can transform.

2. Ask Yourself: Are You in Alignment With Your Goals?

What does it mean to be aligned with one’s goals? What does it mean to be aligned with one’s goals? Simply put, when you make a commitment, you set out to keep it.

If you’re deciding to change in a positive way (quitting a vice, being a better friend, focusing on your health and fitness), you want to make small steps toward your goal on a regular basis.

However, if you neglect your responsibilities and fall back into old ways, you subconsciously start to devalue yourself.

This does not mean you should punish yourself for struggling to make a difficult change in your life. It means that when you cheat yourself, even when you justify it, you know.

Ultimately, it becomes an issue of conscience. That feeling of breaking promises to yourself stays with you, and it impacts your self-love in a negative way.

It could be that you need to reevaluate your plan and break your goal down into smaller steps. 

But when you know that you are sticking to your goals, you don’t have to feel anxious or guilty about what you should be doing, and that’s a tremendous relief.

3. Focus on Process Over Results

Maybe you struggle with your self-love because you focus on the wrong things.

You might look at your bank account, weight, or lack of progress on a project and blame yourself for the results you aren’t getting.

What you need to take responsibility for and come to appreciate is only what you can control in your life.

You aren’t considering the focus, consistency, and effort you put into everything you do. You aren’t seeing just how hard you’re working. That is what you need to be proud of. The results of that effort come second.

This is what people mean when they say you need to fall in love with the process of growth and change. You nourish self-love when you give yourself credit for what you do, not what you get.

4. Take a Hard Look at Your Inner Critic 

Your inner critic is a part of you, but did you ever wonder where it comes from?

That voice could have several origin points:

  • It could be the voice of a harsh friend or a parent.
  • It could result from a trauma you endured, echoing into the present.
  • It could be your overzealous way of keeping yourself on track (perfectionism).

Or, it could be acting as your friend.

How could that horrible voice be a friend? If you sustained trauma in your childhood, your harsh way of speaking to yourself could have served as a useful adaptation.

For example, your inner belief may have become: “I’ll be harsh with myself before others can be harsh with me.”

In this sense, your critical inner voice exists to protect you from potential pain. Its way of “helping” is just clumsy and blunt.

This doesn’t mean that every mean thing it says must be true.

It means that in recognizing your inner critic for what it is, you can get an accurate picture of why it’s there, which takes the sting out. 

You can use its energy to your advantage instead of letting it always make you feel bad.

5. Don’t Forget the Basics

Being cut off from our own natural self-compassion is one of the greatest impairments we can suffer.” — Gabor Maté.

When we say “basics,” we’re talking about the basics of human dignity.

Maybe no one ever told you this, but everyone has inherent value just by being born, including you.

If you don’t believe me, picture a baby. Does that baby have value? You were once that. You just grew up. 

No one is born feeling like they don’t deserve to be happy. Life needs to convince them.

Here are some other fundamental truths you can’t forget:

  • You need to extend the same love to yourself that you would a loved one. Would you talk to a struggling friend in the same harsh way you speak to yourself?
  • Are your mistakes really unforgivable? Self-forgiveness and resolving to improve going forward are the key to leaving the past behind.
  • Finding self-worth is a solo endeavor. It comes after careful self-evaluation and garnering respect for one’s own dignity. You’re the only one who can give yourself the gift of worth.

Your Self-Love Matters

Self Love doesn’t have to be constant, affectionate feelings toward oneself. It will most often come through as gentle compassion, awareness, appreciation, and understanding.

Also, don’t turn the journey toward self-love into another way of punishing yourself. Just keep pushing forward, and take care of yourself along the way.

To review:

  • Recognize your self-talk and be skeptical of habitual negativity.
  • Don’t cheat yourself on your commitments. Stay honest.
  • Value your process over your results.
  • See your inner critic as a dumb, blunt friend.
  • Don’t forget that, despite your mistakes, you are still a human worthy of compassion, understanding, and redemption.