What really is self love and why is it so important?
We asked 30 experts to answer the question: “Why Is Self Love So Important?”
Here are their best insights and advice.
1) Self Acceptance Is The First Step To Self Love
• Shannon Worley, Growing Connections Counseling
We can increase our understanding and awareness of self love through self acceptance.
It is only when we are able to accept all of ourselves that we can begin to truly consider whole self love.
Self love requires us to at least examine those parts that we may deem unloveable, honor and accept them, whether we like, want, or support them, so that we can create space and awareness for love to flow to all parts of ourselves for compassion, healing, and growth.
When we love ourselves, no matter our experiences, we want to expand and give that love to others. Our whole health, mind, body and soul, rests on the power of self love through self acceptance.
2) Real Self Love Can Help To Improve Every Area Of Your Life
• Patrick Kenger, Founder, Pivot Image Consulting
Self love, in my opinion, is just looking after yourself like someone you care for.
If you have a child, you tend to make sure your child is cared for and looked after both physically and mentally.
We rarely extend the same kind of nurturing to ourselves. When you do, you start to improve every area of your life. You start to take responsibility for yourself.
Self love makes you realize you’re someone who deserves to be taken care of, and you start to adjust your life accordingly – getting that gym membership, eating better food, stopping that bad habit, etc. – because, just like a family member you love, you realize you deserve to be treated with that same love.
3) Self Love Is The Foundation Of A Fulfilling Life
• Leigh Richardson, Founder / Clinical Director at Brain Performance Center
Self love is self care. Self care, also known as ‘”Me Time’, is necessary to one’s emotional and physical well-being.
Lack of time to rest and relax directly affects one’s ability to cope and thrive in life. It’s the whole “take care of yourself in order to take care of others” thing.
Chronic stress eventually becomes a symptom of no downtime, as do other conditions, such as anxiety, depression, heart disease, digestive disorders, and sleep problems.
Self love is the infrastructure of your physical, mental health that provides the quality of life you deserve.
4) It All Starts With You
• Gina Swire, Self Love Mentor and Author
Self love is the step before self-care. The world focuses on weight loss, working out, getting pedicures and wearing nice clothes and makeup and very little on the deeper environment.
When we work with the deepest layers of forgiveness, compassion, acceptance and healing, that’s when quantum leaps forward in health and happiness occur almost effortlessly.
Self love is what satisfies us in a healthy way. It prevents us entering unhealthy relationships and having sexual encounters in unaligned circumstances.
Self love helps us to ask for that which is in alignment with our vision and be able to receive it all too!
It all starts with you.
5) What You Want In Another You Must First Possess In Yourself
• Mary Ellen Ciganovich, Mind, Body and Spirit Coach
You cannot give love to anyone else until you first love yourself.
If I asked you for a dollar and you had no money, change or anything monetary on you could you give me a dollar? No, of course not.
The Universe works the same way in relationships. What you want in another you must first possess inside yourself, as your relationship is a mirror for you.
Self love is not selfish. It’s the best thing you can do for the people you care about.
6) You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have
• Keishorne Scott, Relationship and Heartbreak Coach
The ability to love yourself effectively is the foundation of self love. You can’t give what you don’t have.
Self love is the root of all relationships. It starts with you. It means you love yourself fully, accept yourself, treat others well, and respect the differences of others.
I truly believe that self love inspires selfless love.
In addition, a huge benefit of self love is a better mental health and self-care, because people who love themselves are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem.
Self love is so important because it truly paves the way to a positive mindset which is essential for success in life and for mental happiness.
7) Love Yourself Or Go Mad
• Denise Walsh, Dream Life Founder
If we don’t take the time to do what’s good for us, what our mind, body and spirit need, we’ll inevitably end up exhausted and deplete of any positive energy – and that’s when things often turn sour.
The energy around us circulates and resonates with what we put out there, and the universe responds to that, so that’s why it’s crucial for our own personal energy to flow positively and properly.
That can be in the form of actual circulation through yoga, for example, or walking in abundant nature. Or simply taking the time to create a collage of your dreams, or time to do absolutely nothing…
It sounds cliche, but if we don’t take care of ourselves, how are we supposed to take care of others, or the world in which we live?
8) Self Love Teaches Us To Embrace Ourselves Completely
• Prianca Naik, Life Coach at StressCleanse MD
We are often taught to love everyone else around us with no significance given to self love.
It is impossible to fully love those around you without learning to treat yourself like your own best friend.
As an adult, I focus on giving myself the same compassion I give to my two-year-old since it is so unnatural for me.
True inner happiness and contentment is only possible after one learns to embrace herself completely – all that is good and bad.
9) People Who Love Themselves Won’t Tolerate Being Mistreated
• Kevin Darné, Dating and Relationship Advisor
As a dating coach, I can tell you that anyone who lacks self love is far more likely to find themselves repeatedly in toxic relationships.
The reason for this is because when you don’t love yourself, you don’t have any clear set boundaries and “deal breakers” when dealing with others.
Under the guise of being in love, people have been known to tolerate ongoing verbal/physical abuse, infidelity, emotional and physical neglect in relationships.
In addition, having a lack of self love on the job, as well as in dealing with family and friends, puts you in a position to be disrespected and taken advantage of.
People who truly love themselves will not tolerate being mistreated for very long. No one is stuck with anyone or anything. Suffering is optional.
10) Self Love Promotes Authenticity
• Renée Bauer, Speaker, Author, Podcast Host and Attorney
Having self love is the only way you can ever have a healthy, respectful relationship or marriage.
If you don’t have that, your boundaries are blurred, your voice is muffled, and your identity will be distorted.
Self love allows you to show up authentically to a relationship to be able to express your needs and communicate effectively.
When you have two people who have self love, there is a mutual respect that exists between the couple. When someone is lacking, that person will avoid conflict, compromise their values and dreams, and resort to pleasing their spouse rather than honor themselves.
That is the point resentment festers and the relationship starts to deteriorate.
11) Self Love Comes First
• Karen Tibbals, Founder of Ethical Frames
When Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, he was actually saying that we need to love ourselves first.
We really can’t love someone else fully until we love ourselves.
When we don’t love ourselves and we do things for other people, the things we do come with strings attached.
The actions aren’t generous, they are self-serving, trying to get the other person to love us because we don’t love ourselves.
12) Like Comes Before Love
• Cheryl M. Bradshaw, Author and Psychotherapist
I am the author of the book “How to Like Yourself”. I wrote the book as there is a lot of discussion about loving yourself, but equally important the first step is liking yourself. Like comes before love!
Whether someone is at the stage of liking or loving themselves, your relationship with yourself is the most important one you will ever have.
After all, you spend 100 per cent of your time with yourself, far more than you spend with any parent, friend, partner, or spouse.
The voice inside your own head is the one you will hear the most often. It’s the one that chatters on in all your moments of solitude – commuting to work or school, getting ready in the mornings, falling asleep at night, and everything in between.
Building this relationship and learning to both like and love yourself can help reduce anxiety, depression, and improve your overall enjoyment and quality of life.
In fact, it can be one of the single most important things you can do in this life for your own emotional wellbeing.
13) Self Love Changes Your Perspective
• Sonya Schwartz, Founder of Her Norm
As a relationship expert, I can say that self love is important because you really cannot love another human being or even another thing without loving yourself first.
You have to experience it for yourself before you can actually give to another.
Self love is a must because you cannot see the world as a wonderful place to live in without loving yourself first, and that makes all the difference. Self love changes your perspective.
14) Self Love Gives You Permission To Live Your Life To The Fullest
• Jacqueline Pirtle, Holistic Practitioner and Author
Self love is important because when you love yourself, you also respect yourself, accept yourself, appreciate yourself, and thank yourself.
Self love is the mother essence of all well-feelings and an undeniable understanding and knowing that you are deserving, that you are supposed to BE here, and that you can give yourself permission to fully BE alive.
That is why self love is infinitely important – it’s crucial.
15) Care For Yourself So You Can Care For Others
• Brooke Ressell, Lifestyle Expert and Founder of Blue to Bliss
One of the major aspects of personal development is learning to truly love yourself.
Self love is so important because it is all about learning to appreciate your unique talents and abilities and what it is that you contribute to the world.
It is recognizing that your wants and needs are just as important as those around you. It is understanding that you need to prioritize taking care of both your body and your mind.
It is realizing that your happiness and sense of security matter. And it is learning to be as compassionate, patient, and kind to yourself as you are to others.
Getting into the habit of practicing self love not only benefits you as an individual, but it restores you so that you can also care for others.
16) Self Love Is A Resiliency Tool
• Salina Schmidgall, Mental Health Therapist
Self love is important because it’s how we show others how to love us. Self love includes things like boundaries and the way we talk to ourselves.
If I were to talk down to my self and call my self things like ‘stupid’ or ‘worthless’, how can I expect others to love me in a way that I deserve?
You attract what you put out, so if I am putting out self-hate then I will attract someone who feels the same way about me. Self love is a resiliency tool against bad relationships.
Once you learn to love yourself you will attract people who love you the way you deserve.
17) Self Love Can Break The Barriers Holding You Back
• Kathleen Cameron, Manifestation and Success Coach
You cannot outperform your self-image, which makes self love instrumental to everything in your life.
Every single person is able to achieve anything in life and has the same amount of potential within them, but those that practice self love will grow their potential into a reality.
Self love will break all of the barriers that are holding you back, and when you embrace everything that makes you who you are, you will know that nothing can stop you.
18) Proper Self Love Can Take You From Exhausted To Exhilarated
• Marla Goldberrg, Energy Healer, Self-Care Expert and Author
Starting a self-care journey can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to figure out where to start.
The secret is that you have to have an arsenal of tools and techniques that work for you. Here are some ways you can begin building a self-care journey that will last.
• I always say to start at the beginning. Where is the beginning? To me, the beginning is in the evaluation phase. Where in your life are you feeling a need to revamp? Is it in your relationships, your career or are you needing to step back and see where in yourself you are needing to go back to square one?
• Taking daily action to take care of oneself is akin to brushing one’s teeth or bathing. Taking steps to stay centered, balanced and grounded will bring about great rewards mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
• One mistake I feel happens quite a bit is that a person will start to make positive changes in their life and they think they no longer need to do the “upkeep”. Then they stop and go back to life as it used to be expecting it to be different, only to find that life goes back to the way it used to be. Then they feel that the efforts didn’t work.
If you want change in your life, then you need to do the work.
When you begin to see those changes manifesting, that’s a sign that what you’re doing is working. The secret is to continue doing your work and even expanding on it, when possible.
Self care is as individual as the person needing to incorporate it into their lives.
Here are some suggestions that will help take a person from exhausted to exhilarated.
Go into your metaphysical toolbox and use one of the following ways to bring in a work-life balance.
• Meditate – Meditation will help you get grounded, rested and refreshed and feeling renewed.
• Journaling – Journaling will allow a person to clear their mind through the art of written release. Since your journal is a sacred space, anything goes.
• Take some time in nature – walk, sit, take in all the miracles of Mother Earth.
• Relax with a bath. Add some Epsom salts, essential oils, music or candles as desired. This will clear your energy field and support relaxation and rejuvenation.
• Move your body and get the blood flowing by doing something physical; yoga, running, biking, or dancing.
19) Self Love Is About Accepting Your Shortcomings
• Lisa Dimino White, Speaker, Author and Coach
Self love is really all about self acceptance, and it’s critical for living a happy life.
When we strive for perfection in every aspect of our lives we set ourselves up for disappointment.
Self love is all about accepting our struggles and shortfalls and acknowledging our awesomeness despite them.
Personally, I struggle with OCD and anxiety. During extremely stressful periods in my life, these issues often become too difficult for me to handle on my own with the coping tools that I have, so I reach out for help.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, I was struggling terribly and isolating myself from everyone and everything for months; I knew I couldn’t function like that because we don’t know how long this is going to go on.
Do I wish I could be fearless? Of course I do, but that’s not realistic for me. Instead of feeling sad, angry, or resentful that I am not wired that way, I strive to “fear less” and find immense pride and joy in the progress that I make.
From March until June, I refused to go anywhere in public out of fear; now I am able to function during this frightening time.
When I think about how far I’ve come I realize that I’m pretty awesome. It brings me back to accepting (and loving) myself.
20) It All Starts With You
• Antoinette Beauchamp, Empowerment Mindset Coach
Self love is critical to helping you own who you are and step into the life you were meant to be.
When you practice self love, you are upgrading the relationship you have with yourself. And once you upgrade your connection to yourself, your entire life will naturally start to change.
You’ll be lighter, happier, more joyful, and more at ease. No matter where you’re going, starting with you is always the best place to begin.
And remember, whenever you’re in doubt… give yourself the benefit of the doubt.
21) Self Love Is Not Selfish
• Michele Tripple, Owner of Confessions of Parenting
Self love is important because it improves your overall well-being.
Self love involves self care. When you care for yourself, you become happier and you have more energy to spend on other activities.
Therefore, allowing yourself to care more for others around you.
Self love helps put you in the right state of mind and should not be seen as selfish.
I recommend some of the following activities to show love for yourself: start a gratitude journal, create a vision board, use affirmative messages, try deep breathing, meditate, or indulge in your favorite beverage.
22) Self Love Builds Self Confidence
• Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist
I will offer four reasons why self love is important.
1) If a person does not exhibit self love, that person is likely engaged in the opposite: self-loathing, which contributes to the development of serious mental health symptoms and conditions such as depressive and anxiety disorders.
2) Operating with a low level of self-esteem or self love, is like continuing to drive a car with the oil gage on low. Eventually one will break down, mentally, emotionally, and even physically.
3) Nothing kills a dream like low self-esteem. In order to turn dreams and ambitions into success stories, one must possess adequate levels of self love. Self love builds self-confidence, which is the fuel that propels one forward in making dreams come true.
4) Self love produces healthy attachments and healthy relationships. Self-loathing, its opposite, interferes with intimacy, along with the establishment and maintenance of healthy and enduring attachments.
23) Self Love Is Vital To Emotional Health
• Peg Sadie MA, Psychotherapist and Self-Care Coach at www.pegsadie.com
Self love is at the crux of how you view yourself in the world and how you allow others to treat you.
It stems from feelings of low self-worth that can be seeded during childhood and adolescence, when your psyche is most vulnerable. You create negative self-talk (like “I can’t” or “I’m not good enough”) to support negative thoughts which in turn reinforces feelings of unworthiness.
Without self love (deciding you’re unworthy) you rob yourself of all the wonderful life opportunities that can present themselves before you even have a chance to experience them.
As a psychotherapist and self-care coach to women (who tend to naturally prioritize others’ needs first), I help them to understand how vital self love is to their emotional health and that “You can’t be good to anyone else if you don’t love yourself first.”
24) Self Love Is A Sacred Ritual
• Melody Godfred, Founder of Fred and Far: A Self Love Movement
Self love is critical because it is the foundation of all love.
Until you can know, care for and embrace all parts of yourself, you are in a state of perpetual struggle – within yourself, and with the world.
Self love empowers you to claim your wholeness and worth because it fuels authenticity over perfection.
Once you let your true self lead, you can make the contribution to the world that only you can make.
Self love isn’t selfish, it isn’t narcissism, and it isn’t a one-size-fits-all panacea.
It’s a sacred, daily ritual that evolves as you evolve, and in the process transforms your world, too.
25) Self Love Is A Step On The Journey To Abundance
• Kim Strobel, Happiness Coach
Self love is the root of all of our problems.
It’s why we choose unhealthy relationships, fail to clear our calendar for exercise or “me” time, flounder when it comes to setting clear boundaries, and say, “yes” to crap we really don’t want to do.
All of this leads to depression, feelings of frustration and exhaustion, and whittles away at the joys of life.
The most important asset you have is the ability to love yourself.
When you bring your own happiness to the forefront it becomes a game-changer for every other outcome in your life.
Valuing yourself and owning your self worth brings all forms of abundance into your life. Choose you!
26) Real Self Love Can Improve All Areas Of Your Life
• Dr. Sheva Assar, Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Consultant
Self love is paramount. To me, self love is the act of intentionally rejuvenating and nourishing ourselves – emotionally, cognitively, physically.
It is consistently treating ourselves with love and compassion, even in moments when we are stressed.
When we consistently demonstrate this love and compassion to ourselves, we can show up more fully in life, overcome life challenges and continue to persevere, and develop strong and intimate interpersonal relationships.
Self love allows us to be more open and forgiving to ourselves, as well as to others.
If we can more compassionately view ourselves and show care and affection to ourselves, we are more likely to be able to exercise these same skills within other relationships.
Self love requires intentionality and dedication – dedication to you and your wellbeing even if the act of self love is difficult in some situations (such as challenging self-critical thoughts, exercising even when we do not “feel” like it).
Self love is a practice that can have a ripple effect on many, if not all, areas of your life.
27) Loving Yourself Doesn’t Mean Having A Huge Ego
• Lillian Rishty, Psychotherapist
It is risky to depend on feedback and expressions of feelings from others to determine our self-worth.
It’s important to build up self-esteem on your own, and a big piece of that is self love. Loving yourself doesn’t mean having a huge ego, it means caring about your own wellbeing and happiness.
It’s helpful to practice positive, loving self-talk.
We often say terrible things to ourselves, but it’s important to treat ourselves the way we treat the other people we love and care about.
It helps to see ourselves through someone else’s eyes. Appreciation helps promote this as well – when you realize how amazing your life is, you realize how amazing you are!
Practice self-compassion: give yourself unconditional support, understanding, and recognize that mistakes and hardship are part of the human experience.
People with high levels of self-compassion have been shown to often be able to overcome difficult life events.
It’s also helpful to understand that positive reinforcement is shown to be more effective than negative.
Often people think that berating themselves and “being hard” on themselves will make them better, push them harder.
Instead, saying “I did well today,” “I feel good about that,” or “I’m good at this,” makes you more likely to continue to succeed.
Self love increases confidence. There is a clear connection between our success and our self love.
28) Discovering Self Love Is A Process
• Melissa Turner, Founder Of The Chronic Wellness Project
As you go through life, you build up an image of yourself.
Your job, your appearance, where you choose to live and who you spend time with all influence how you define yourself and how the world sees you.
When any aspect of that self-image is taken away from you, your whole sense of self can be taken with it.
This is often life changing, but it’s also the catalyst that forces you to readdress every aspect of your life.
Discovering self love is a journey; a process.
It results in the most important discovery of all; that external factors can never bring you real happiness.
Real, unshakeable self love and acceptance is the only way to true peace and happiness.
29) Self Love Is A Practice And Daily Commitment
• Janine Tandy, Facilitator At Studio BE Mindfulness
Self love is a beautiful, inclusive and compassionate way of being that allows us to honour and embrace all of who we are.
It is a high value that we place on our wellbeing and how we show up in this world.
When we can love who we are and see ourselves as whole and abundant, regardless of our life experiences, this love helps to counter to the mind tendencies of comparing, judging or critiquing.
Our worthiness isn’t defined by external factors like what other people think about us, our career or other relationships – it is cultivated and nurtured by the deep relationship we have with ourselves.
Self love gives us the strength to take up space, to live in a way that is authentic to what we feel, believe and value and to not allow anyone or anything make us feel small or less worthy.
As a gentle reminder to you all, this is a practice and a daily commitment – some days it may feel easier to embody it and other days more challenging.
But if we can make the commitment each day to begin with love by either writing down in a journal or spending a few minutes in seated meditation focusing on appreciation/gratitude for who you are and where you are in this life, it really sets the tone for the day and your state of being.
30) What The World Needs Now Is Love
• Alexa Fischer, The Confidence Coach
Self love is your permission slip to give yourself the love you crave. When you green-light your desires, you build muscles of confidence.
Loving words to yourself in the mirror, gathering your favorite fresh flowers in a vase, and noticing the abundance of the present moment, showers your being with love and shows the deepest part of your being that you matter.
The best part – when you love yourself – your love can be seen and felt by others. What the world needs now is love, sweet love – so let your love shine today.