How to Love Yourself: 10 Steps to Believing in Yourself Again
The first step to self-love is to be honest with yourself, and let’s face the most glaring truth: Self-love is not as easy as it sounds. We are always being advised to love ourselves, but no one ever tells you what to do or how to even get started. Is there supposed to be some switch you’d flip to turn up your self-esteem? How exactly do they expect you to wish for it and suddenly, you’re loving yourself like you’ve always been confident?
In reality, self-love is a process — a difficult but certainly doable one. It’s not a magical transformation and certainly not a one-time jump. Just as a lot of effort is required for our interpersonal relationships to work with others, we also need to put in work to learn to love ourselves.
No matter how hard you try, you cannot give what you do not have. If you do not love yourself, your relationships with others won’t always be rosy. Your insecurities would prevent you from being comfortable or accepting that you deserve to be loved. You’d be driven to settle for less if you do not accept how unique and awesome you are.
However, when finally attained, self-love is exceedingly rewarding and refreshing. Self-love is healthy, essential, and golden, and it’s one of the best gifts you can ever give to yourself. Loving yourself is to believe in your worth, abilities and strengths, accepting your identity, and taking pride in your achievement. Below are 10 helpful steps to believing in yourself again. 
Firstly… You MATTER
A lack of self-love is often cultivated when a person begins to feel unimportant or insignificant. This can be fuelled by comparing themselves to others, depression, bullying, and certain acts of mental manipulation that can leave you feeling below the bar. The truth is, there is no bar. As long as you are a decent person who tries to live right, you are as important, as special and significant as the people you compare yourself to.
Self-love is not selfishness or narcissism.  Contrary to what people say, there are real distinctions between these concepts. To love oneself is to believe in your worth as a significant part of the world. You must accept that despite the world being so big and filled with so many people, in your small space, within the tiny crevice you occupy, you are special and precious.
Instead of spending so much time hating yourself and wishing you were like others, you can focus on all the amazing things about you and how great it is to be different from everyone else.
A daily self-care routine
Your mind, body, and soul make up the entirety of yourself.
Think about you every day. You are a decent person who treats others nicely and with a lot of respect. You love your friends and family and support them however you can. You’re always there when they need you, believing in their goals and aspirations.
Now, it’s time to do the same for yourself. You must invest quality time and meaningful effort into building yourself into a person who radiates true love and positive energy. From the moment your day starts to the minute you get settled into bed at night, you must shower yourself with thoughtfulness, decency, and love.
- Take time to reflect and meditate, focusing on the positive feelings and all that could turn out right for you.
- Start eating healthy. The decadent tastes of junk food may feel like self-love at first, but over time, the results would show a lack of self-care.
- Try to sleep more. Better sleeping habits improve your overall health and productivity. 
- Exercise regularly. Working out is grueling to start and even more difficult to keep up with, but focus your mind on the bigger picture and always remind yourself of the endless benefits.
- Avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking, doing hard drugs, and excessive alcoholism.
- Learn to forgive yourself as you forgive others.
- Adopt an attitude of daily gratitude. Be thankful for the people in your life and the comforts available to you.
- Schedule adequate time for fun and play each week.
Self-love is not merely a mental conception but an entire way of life, the true culture of happy people.
Learn to process the pain instead of shoving it away
Most people mistake self-love for an attitude of endless positivity, even in the face of the worst kind of pain. This is why self-love, as wonderful as it is, is widely unpopular. To love yourself does not mean you should never accept pain or process negative feelings when they come to you. Smiling through your suffering and forcing yourself to shelve your emotions is not part of the concept. If anything, you are doing more harm than good, and it might all catch up with you later.
Self-love is believing that you are strong enough to deal with pain — to accept it, feel it, process and conquer it without being broken. It means that you can cry when you feel your emotions building up, let them all out, create room for positive vibes, and accept that things won’t always be perfect.
People tend to assume that mindless positivity at all times is always the best way to go. It’s a whole school of thought on its own. In truth, we must understand that human beings are complex creatures and we are definitely going to deal with a wide range of emotions that are not always going to be positive. We will deal with grief, loss, shame, guilt, jealousy, anger, disgust, and anguish, and processing these emotions helps us understand ourselves better.
No matter how introverted or reclusive you are, there must be someone or a group of people with whom you identify. Self-love comes with a boost of confidence that allows you to accept how much you deserve the good things in life. You deserve to belong to someone, identify with something, and relate comfortably with people.
It allows you to be kind to yourself and others. Love is infinite, and when you feel a lot of it for yourself, you’d be prompted to share it with others. Undertaking this journey would teach you so many new things about yourself. Your eyes would be opened to truths and realities about your life that you may have buried away, and you’d want others to experience the same renewal and rejuvenation.
Do not allow your thoughts to control your life
The human mind is an extremely powerful tool that can make or break a person. Some of the most serious mental health issues people deal with stem from the negative thoughts constantly running through their minds. A lot of us deal with negativity as an attitude. Not everyone is hardwired to see things from more than one perspective — a positive and hopeful one.
The fact that you are thinking about something does not make it true. While our fears and doubts are part of an important defense mechanism, letting them consume our reasoning can be extremely harmful.
We will always have negative thoughts flitting through our minds. However, we can choose to stop letting them control our decisions and moods. You can refuse to believe the self-doubting and highly critical ideas flowing into your mind. Choose to accept that you are good, you are acceptable and if you set your mind to anything, you can do it.
Decide what you really want to do with your life
As long as you are alive, breathing, existing, and living, there must be a purpose for you here on earth. There must be something that fits your personality and suits your interests. In reality, we don’t even have to be just one thing. Having more than one aspiration does not make you “directionless”. As long as you are passionate about your choices and determined to achieve these dreams, they are all valid.
Setting out your goals and visions is an important step in the forever journey of self-love. Self-loathing and innate criticism can stem from not having any actual bearings in life. People can become depressed or develop anxiety over not knowing what to do with their lives. It’s a big step to make these choices, and it puts so much more in perspective about what to expect in the future.
A few questions to ask yourself to help with this process:
- Despite what you’re currently doing with your life, what do you think would be the ideal career path, business or job for you?
- Who do you look up to and what do they do?
- What are the issues that make your heart trip in excitement?
- What do you enjoy doing the most?
- Recall the things you enjoyed doing as a child. We often have unrealistic dreams as children, but there might be some hints of passion and calling in these dreams.
Embrace an attitude of gratitude
Contentment is a virtue. If you can wake up every day and be grateful for the things you have, the people you love, and the blessings you’ve counted, then you’ve attained a sustainable level of self-love. Appreciation is a major milestone in the entire process.
It’s also beneficial to your overall wellbeing. According to researchers from Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, people who are always grateful for the good things they have are more likely to maintain better physical and mental health. 
“Research suggests that gratitude may be associated with many benefits for individuals, including better physical and psychological health, increased happiness and life satisfaction, decreased materialism, and more.”
A lack of gratitude can cause your mind to be dominated by malicious emotions such as greed, jealousy, and envy. When you wake up each day, be thankful for the air you breathe and the fact that you are alive to take on another day. While in the shower, you can recount all the good things you have to be grateful for, and if you feel like you are lacking blessings at that moment, there must be one good thing in your life to be happy about. Think about it over and over again.
Fall into this routine and it would eventually become a healthy habit for you
Break out of your comfort zone
It sounds scary, right? I mean, it’s called a comfort zone for a reason. It’s where you feel the safest and within this space, you can always be certain of how things will play out. Well, what’s life without a few worthy risks? You can’t always have all the answers at once, so it’s definitely time to break out of that shell.
You won’t learn to believe in yourself if there’s nothing to test your faith. It’s time to chase those dreams that you’ve always felt are too much for you. Don’t just dive out from these mental limitations all at once. Take it one step at a time. Make a list of all the things that terrify you, those ideas that you believe are too much for your fragile mind. Write down the reasons why you believe you cannot achieve certain goals, and then start the daunting but intensely rewarding process of canceling them off your list.
Go for quality over quantity when it comes to friends
The people we surround ourselves with are stakeholders in our quest for self-love. Are you surrounded by people who make you feel unworthy or not good enough? People who make you feel like you’re in some competition where you are bound to always lose? Are you friends with people who enjoy bragging and making others feel like dirt? Friends like this will destroy your journey even before you’ve started. Every milestone you strive to complete will be invalidated by their presence in your life. Even when they are not saying or doing anything to discourage you, you’d continue to subconsciously compare yourself to them.
If someone is not fit for your heart, you CAN move on from them without any malice.
Go for people who love, support, and encourage you no matter the circumstances. Make friends with people who do not give you the impression that you have to level up to blend in. Immerse yourself into tight circles full of love and positive vibes. If your friends uplift you, you’d eventually learn to uplift yourself.
Detoxify your mindset and learn to be open-minded
Open-minded people are often the happiest in life, simply because they choose to see things from different perspectives without being easily influenced. You can look at the world and reevaluate your principles without losing sight of your core personality. Yes, you can change your beliefs! Some of the ideas we live by are too toxic for our wellbeing, and here a few concepts you should definitely get rid of:
- Vulnerability is dangerous
- The present must decide the future
- You should never stand out. Fitting in is safe.
- Being alone is a problem
- You must always take people’s actions and words personally
These ideologies are all invalid and unnecessary, and to the worst extent, they are toxic.
To love yourself is to change your mindset to a free and open one, a state of existence where you live to make yourself happy and enjoy life to the fullest. Tough times will come, bad days would flicker by, and negative thoughts would pop in once in a while. However, being able to accept that they are all part of the total human nature and do not solely define who you are is a powerful trait.
Self-love is not a journey with a final destination — it is a journey of no return, and you have to keep going while reaping countless benefits.
- ” 3 Ways to Learn to Love Yourself.” Psychology Today. Deborah Ward. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
- “Can Narcissism Be Healthy? Does It Differ from Self-Love?” Psych. Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
- “Why sleep is essential for health.” Medical News Today. Jenna Fletcher. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
- “The Science of Gratitude.” Greater Good Science Center – Berkeley.edu. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
- “Grateful recounting enhances subjective well-being: The importance of grateful processing.” The Journal of Positive Psychology. Philip Watkins. Retrieved August 8, 2020.