How to Practice Self-Love and Why It’s Important 

This article gives you a glimpse of what you can learn with Shortform. Shortform has the world’s best guides to 1000+ nonfiction books, plus other resources to help you accelerate your learning.

Want to learn faster and get smarter? Sign up for a free trial here .

What exactly is self-love, and why is it important? How do you show yourself love?

Self-love is a state of appreciation for yourself that results in physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. When you love yourself, you feel worthy the way you are and put your happiness and well-being first.

With this in mind, here’s how to practice self-love and be good to yourself.

Barriers to Self-Love

People have three common barriers to learning how to practice self-love: their past, self-doubt, and sacrificing for other people. However, the good news is that you can work to overcome these obstacles. 

The Past

To be able to find self-love, you must let go of old regrets or shame about things you previously did or experienced. Holding those feelings inside taints your thoughts. If you can find a way to move past those feelings, you can find a way to be happy with who you are now.

Everyone has experienced difficult things in their past. There is a tendency to ruminate on those prior hard times in the present, focusing on hurt or failures. But when you focus only on those past disappointments, you’re preventing yourself from living in the present.


Similarly, until you learn how to practice self-love, you may question yourself. You may have doubts about who you are or what you’re capable of, and the Universe’s only option is to agree and comply with your thoughts. 

  • When you say, “I’m not smart,” what picture are you creating? What message are you sending the Universe? 
  • When you say, “I am smart,” you are summoning the creation of this idea with all your power because you have declared it fact. 

So, how do you banish self-doubt?

  • As soon as a thought of doubt enters your mind, release it.
  • Replace it with, “I have the power to create my life, and I know I am receiving what I want now.” Then really feel it.
  • Try reciting this affirmation: “I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious, and happy.”

Emotional Sacrifice for Others

You have likely been told at one point or another to put others before yourself. The consequence of that action is a signal of being undeserving of what we give to others.

  • When you sacrifice emotionally for others, you think you’re being a good person. But you’re really saying something like, “there’s not enough to go around, so I’ll have to give up part of myself.”
  • The action is lovely, to be sure, but the more you put yourself last, the more situations the Universe will bring to you to continue doing so.
  • If you deplete your life of goodness and love, you have nothing to offer yourself… or anyone else. 

TITLE: The Secret
AUTHOR: Rhonda Byrne
TIME: 31
READS: 31.2
BOOK_SUMMARYURL: the-secret-summary-rhonda-byrne

3 Strategies to Practice Self-Love

Showing love to everyone and everything is essential, but the most important feeling of love you can have is for yourself. You can’t feel good when you don’t know how to practice self-love. 

Remember the Golden Rule to treat others the way you want to be treated? Self-love is the reverse of that. When you don’t treat yourself the way you want others to treat you, you are creating a powerful message: “I am not worthy. I am not deserving.”

But how do you practice something as elusive as self-love? If you’re looking for some ideas, here are some strategies to get started.  

1. Let Go of Perfectionism

Perfectionism is an antidote to self-love because it’s founded on completely unrealistic expectations: You’re never going to be perfect (or even appear to be perfect). However, the perfectionist mindset won’t concede that it sets unrealistic standards. Instead, it tells you that you don’t appear perfect because you aren’t good enough, causing you to blame, shame, and judge yourself. 

So, how can we let go of perfectionism? According to Brené Brown, showing yourself compassion can help you to embrace your imperfections, rather than punish yourself for them or hide them. One way to show self-compassion is to engage in positive self-talk—talk that’s encouraging and kind about yourself and your flaws, rather than critical and judgmental. 

TITLE: The Gifts of Imperfection
AUTHOR: Brené Brown
TIME: 42
READS: 112.4
BOOK_SUMMARYURL: the-gifts-of-imperfection-summary-brené-brown

2. Tune in to Your Needs

The ultimate form of self-love is living a responsible life by being mindful of your needs, wants, emotions, and responsibilities toward yourself and others. This requires a certain level of detachment – taking responsibility for yourself and letting others be responsible for themselves. 

The most important way to detach and practice self-love is to ask yourself, “What do I need or want in this moment?” Once you know what you need or want, you can work to attain it yourself, ask others for help in attaining it, and prioritize yourself by saying “no” when you don’t have the time or resources to say “yes.” 

TITLE: Codependent No More
AUTHOR: Melody Beattie
TIME: 69
READS: 56.1
BOOK_SUMMARYURL: codependent-no-more-summary-melody-beattie

3. Learn to Say No

Most people are reluctant to say no to others. We’re afraid of creating conflict, disappointing someone, angering our boss, or missing an opportunity. Furthermore, saying no makes us uncomfortable because it’s socially awkward.

However, saying no to things you don’t want to do is a way of showing yourself love. By saying no to things that don’t serve you, you are putting yourself first. 

Tips for Saying No 

  • Remember, you’re rejecting the decision, not the person. Rejecting someone’s request isn’t the same as rejecting them. Separate the two in your mind. Then communicate your decision clearly but also kindly. You may want to reject the request without using the word no. For instance, you might say, “I would love to do it, but I’m overcommitted right now.”
  • Remember the trade-off. Remembering what you’d give up if you say yes makes it easier to say no.  
  • Think of it as a transaction. In a sense, the other person is selling something—for instance, a cause, an opportunity, or social interaction—in exchange for your time. Considering what’s being sold may help you think more objectively about whether to buy it. 
  • Accept that you might be temporarily unpopular. When you say no, the other person may be disappointed or angry. However, the anger usually doesn’t last. In the longer term, the other person may respect you more for demonstrating that your time is valuable, which is more important than popularity.

Final Words

In today’s perfectionistic and hyper-critical culture, it’s especially important to know how to practice self-love and self-care. When you’re intentional about practicing self-love, you make choices that put your needs and well-being first. As a result, you’re more inclined and better able to give love to others.

If you enjoyed our article about how to practice self-love, check out the following suggestions for further reading: 

Good Vibes, Good Life

In Good Vibes, Good Life, Vex King argues that the key to living your dream life is to have good vibrations or “good vibes.” When you put out good vibes like gratitude and joy, you attract good vibes back; however, when you put out bad vibes like resentment, regret, or impatience, you’ll attract bad vibes and consequently experience more hardships. The key to minimizing bad vibes and maximizing good ones, King argues, is knowing how to practice self-love and acceptance.

The Art of Happiness

In The Art of Happiness, you’ll walk with the Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize winner and spiritual leader of Tibet, down the Buddhist path toward happiness. According to him, you have the power to bring more happiness into your life by simply training yourself to be happier. We’ll discuss his four forms of happiness training, which will improve your outlook on life, interpersonal relationships, resilience in the face of suffering, and everyday spirituality. 

The Untethered Soul

In The Untethered Soul, spiritual teacher Michael A. Singer, founder of the Temple of the Universe meditation center and a pioneering figure in the world of medical software, teaches you how to use your direct self-knowledge as an intuitive tool for spiritual awakening. Combining powerful principles with practical techniques, he shows you how to free yourself from false identities and live an enlightened life of peace, joy, creativity, and divine love.

How to Practice Self-Love and Why It’s Important 

Want to fast-track your learning? With Shortform, you’ll gain insights you won't find anywhere else .

Here's what you’ll get when you sign up for Shortform :

  • Complicated ideas explained in simple and concise ways
  • Smart analysis that connects what you’re reading to other key concepts
  • Writing with zero fluff because we know how important your time is

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *