how to love yourself

How to Love Yourself: The Simple (and most Impactful) Way

How to love yourself is one of the most important, complicated, and yet simple questions we can ask ourselves when it comes to real love. Knowing how to love yourself matters at least as much as knowing how to love another, and actually more. While the concept of loving yourself can feel overwhelming to grasp, the “action” of it takes little effort. 

Our misunderstandings of Love and our deep societal conditioning to put others first makes loving yourself complicated, and difficult. Yes, genuine love inspires us to care for others. Yet if we love another at the expense of ourselves, we damage the very relationship we are attempting to build and sustain.

Truly understanding how to love yourself opens the gateway not just to genuine Love, but also to happiness, peace, fulfillment, and – underneath it all – health, the health that makes every relationship and life experience possible, the health that makes it all richer. 

Not knowing how to love yourself actually ensures a life of disappointment, heartache, and even anxiety and depression. Not knowing how to love yourself brings even great relationships to an end. This happens in part because we so often want to blame our painful emotions on others – on what they did or didn’t do – or on life circumstances. Yet, how we perceive others’ actions or our life experiences has everything to do with how we love ourselves

Nothing could be more important. Nothing.

The reasons we don’t love ourselves

When it comes to changing any part of ourselves or our life, including how we love ourselves, we need to start by addressing the reasons we want to stay the same or the reasons we believe our current way of being is actually better. We also have to tend to the part of ourselves, usually our mindset and emotions, that fears we can’t actually change or that we are not capable of something different.

If we focus on the goal and ignore our resistances to it, or fears of it, all of our efforts to be different will happen in vain. When we don’t explore and understand our own resistances to, and judgements of, what we desire we simply cannot move forward. Fear will always win over our desire for new, different, and better. 

So let’s start by exploring the top three reasons you might resist learning how to love yourself:

1. We’ve been told tending to our own needs is selfish

Society has told us it’s better to give than receive. We believe that if we love someone they should come first. We’ve been told good people are generous. 

Unfortunately, that approach to life and love leaves us deeply out of balance. Over time it breeds resentment in even the kindest and most generous hearts. The problem happens because our continual outward focus on others leaves us depleted, and eventually resentful. That one-sided attention towards others’ needs indirectly tells us that what we need and desire does not matter. Hence we never find the time to take care of ourselves. Then to make matters worse, in our loving relationships where we have a chance to be supported, our fear of selfishness means we usually don’t let others take care of us either. 

2. We don’t feel worthy or deserving (We think we need to earn love)

Similarly to the first point, we were often told when we were young to “be a good girl/boy.” “Performing” in the right way earned us love. When we didn’t do what our caregivers wanted us to do, we felt their upset as a loss of love. We began to think of ourselves as less than and not enough. Some even became shameful of themselves and strove for perfection as a means to ensure love. Yet, perfectionism lacks all self love. If we believe we have to earn love, it breeds the idea of unworthiness. Yet there is not a single unworthy soul walking this planet.

3. We feel like love will be better and more real coming from another

One of the biggest reasons we don’t want to develop a loving relationship with ourselves happens because some part of us thinks that if we love ourselves, we won’t need or have space for someone else to love us. This has us think, “If I learn how to love myself, why bother with a relationship?” 

Compounding that, we have a sense that the love coming from another person, especially a romantic partner, will feel better than any love we could bring ourselves. 

There are two problems here. First, if we don’t actually feel love for ourselves, if any part of us thinks that we aren’t worthy of love, we will then reject or diminish any love brought to us by another. Secondly, no matter how hard our beloved tries to love us, their human expression of love will always, if we are truly honest, lack the depth and quality of love we know deep down inside is actually available. It will always leave our deepest soul longing for more. 

The greatest Love we can ever know and experience will come from ourselves. 

~Joanna Shakti

When we access that infinite well of Love, when we know how to love ourselves in this way, every loving experience from, and with, a beloved will feel exquisitely more profound.

So if you want to know how to love yourself more, there is nothing of greater importance than finding a way to deprogram the unique versions of these beliefs and stories within you. 

If you’re not convinced this limited consciousness about love impacts your relationships, if you need more evidence, look at those around you. Notice whether people you know who outwardly demonstrate that they don’t want to feel selfish or don’t feel worthy of love, are genuinely happy. Do they have the kind of quality relationship you desire?

How to love yourself the simplest way  

What does it mean to love yourself? Loving yourself means that you honor, care for, and respect yourself in the same way you would anyone you truly loved. Traditional wedding vows tell us a lot about how to love someone else, as well as about how to love yourself. No matter the tradition behind them, most wedding vows talk about loving in sickness and in health. They talk about being best friends, about bringing encouragement, understanding, and compassion when you are down. They say, “I’ll be there for you” no matter what

This is how you love you too. 

Faithfulness is another important aspect of how to love yourself reflected in many wedding vows. While we tend to know what faithfulness means in romantic relationships, what does it mean in relationship to yourself? It means that we won’t abandon ourselves. It means that we won’t betray who we are for any reason. 

At the culmination of the Activating Soul Love phase and the beginning of the Loving Soul-to-Soul phase of the Soul Love journey, participants in our programs actually go through a profound ritual of self- marriage. Even those who have already married their soulmate find this a deeply important experience. After clearing out all of our barriers to self love, through these vows to self we have the chance to affirm that I will love and honor another, as I love and honor myself too. 

This specialized ritual says, “While I love you Dear One, I cannot lose myself in my love to you. If I do, there will be no one actually there to continue loving you.” 

Simply put, the formula for loving yourself is the exact same way you love another. Everything you would do for, or with, someone you love, you do for yourself. (And, you don’t do the things that you wouldn’t do to another.)

How to love yourself first

Because you’ve likely heard the phrase, you can’t love another until you love yourself, you may then ask, how do I love myself first, before someone else?

Again, we have been conditioned to put others first. Yet, always putting others first means that we must, time and time again, choose to abandon ourselves. This continual self abandonment insidiously harms our relationships

You love yourself first by realizing that the longevity and quality of your relationship with another depends wholly on the quality of the relationship you have with yourself. When you understand that repeated self-sacrifice is not love, when you realize that settling and selling out creates resentment, which in turn kills love, then, and often only then, do you find the motivation within to remove all the barriers to loving yourself. 

When you recognize that it’s simply too painful not to love you, you’ll do whatever it takes to learn how to love yourself. You’ll actually become the best lover by being the best at loving you. You love another well because you love you well. 

Said another way, we cannot possibly be truly loving to another, when we are not loving to ourselves.

Let’s be clear. Knowing how to love yourself has little to do with how many massages or manicures you get, or how often you get to the gym. It has everything to do with how you treat yourself in the day-to-day moments of life.

Ultimately loving yourself means having a truly loving relationship with you and we have a loving relationship with ourselves in the same way that we have a loving relationship with another. 

First we date, we get to know each other. So start by getting to know yourself. Get to know your needs, wants, and desires, your yeses and your nos. Then, as you would someone you are building a relationship with, welcome your emotions and perspectives. Honor them. Validate them. Tend to your needs. Be encouraging and kind when you trip and fall. Forgive yourself when you make a mistake. Stay true to yourself, even when others disagree. 

This, dear one, is how to love yourself well. 

It’s not always easy, yet those who walk into this initially uncomfortable space find deep rewards, profound rewards, in both life and romance. 

Here’s to profoundly loving you… 

Since 2006, highly conscious men and women, with a commitment to extraordinary relationships, have chosen Ecstatic Intimacy to find and cultivate Soul Partnerships from their bedrooms to their boardrooms. Ecstatic Intimacy believes in coveted relationships, for all. 

You too, are invited…

*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.

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  1. Craig on May 26, 2023 at 8:40 pm

    Joanna, this is something I have worked on and still struggle with. I’ll be reading this daily and writing on it for awhile.

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