Jump to content

How to love yourself?


Recommended Posts

I know that saying goes..."You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else". This is so foreign to me. I have always hated myself, since I was a child. I look in the mirror and see the pain, sadness and malignancy under a pretty face. I don't see the pretty face at all. How do you learn to love yourself when you find something wrong with everything you are?


It seems so simple...love yourself. Ok...um, how? My bad qualities totally outweigh the good and I can't see a way to justify even liking myself. I suffer from depression amongst other things, and I find it so damn hard to change what I don't like about myself because the list is so long. I question everything I do. Even my parenting, yet I know I'm a good mother because I can see it in my daughter's eyes every time she looks at me. I'm constantly questioning if I should be doing this or that when it comes to her. I hate having these thoughts all the time and it transfers over to every aspect of my life.


I find myself sitting on my couch not paying attention to anything, just numb because it's so overwhelming to even find a starting point to making myself a better person. I get compliments from people and I think they are lying to me. My therapist even told me that it's always nice to see me and I don't believe her. Why would anyone want anything to do with someone like me? I hate thinking like this.


Any suggestions?

Link to comment

1. Accept yourself exactly the way you are right now. All of your good points and all of your shortcomings.

2. Realize that your relative freedom and happiness depend solely on yourself. No matter how much they want to, nobody can make you feel better unless you choose it.

3. Conclude that no matter what messages about worthlessness and unloveability you received as a child you are no longer a child and have the capacity to choose your own beliefs.

4. Choose to believe yourself worthwhile and loveable.

5. Treat yourself the in the same manner that you would treat your dearest friend.

Link to comment
It's Buddhist, if you're OK with that, but you can take from it what you want and leave aside the spiritual part of it. In that faith, you love everybody and everything which INCLUDES yourself (I am vastly simplifying things here so dont freak out people who do this)


I'd say it's something to look into for sure.


Ya, I'm not interested in the faith itself, but I think meditation in any degree (I haven't done any myself) might be good to relieve stress. This specifically looks interesting for my situation.

Link to comment



I wish I had some advice for you, but all I've got is commiseration. I ask myself the same kinds of questions all the time, and probably for the same reasons. I'm not particularly handsome, or smart, or witty, or rich, or successful. The things I've accomplished, millions of other people do every day.


What about me makes me lovable, or special, or unique? I don't have an answer, and I'm left with the awful conclusion that I really am nothing special after all.

Link to comment

'You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else' makes no sense to me and logically has not support. It's probably a one liner that people flap around all too often without even being able to exlain why it holds true. I would like someone to explain to me why the above statement about loving yourself before you can love someone else is true.


Here is something for thought. My oldest sister hated herself for as long as I can remember. She had issues as a kid and suffered from depression on and off which got worse as she got older. She was the kindest to everyone else but didnt like almost anything about herself and openly admitted that she never loved herself and never will. She is now married to the guy who she has been with for 10 years, has four amazing children and Ive never seen anyone love so much as she loves her husband and her kids and they love her right back. She always said this, the love I lack for myself I project in addition to the love I show towards my kids and my husband. Now where in the heck does the line loving yourself apply here, it doesnt and I can tell you her husband costantly says that she is the most loving person he has ever known and is head over heals over her even after 10 years.

Link to comment

Well I can only tell what I personally have done to make my way out of the well of self loathing that I had been firmly entrenched in for at least 10 years.


And I will be honest and say that the love that I have for myself now is still not perfect; but it is much healthier. In fact, I think a bit part of the battle is accepting and understanding that loving as a person can't be perfect: there will some days that we feel more loving than others, but what matters is how we act.


See, I used to evaluate myself a lot more on ambiguous things: how I felt, how I saw things, how I figured I measured "up".


Nowadays, I do a lot more dealing with facts. It's helped my depression and anxiety/loathing towards myself a great deal.


Here is a basic rundown of the HOW I've worked at loving myself more:


1) Commit. Commit to stick it through until it is done - and beyond that. Commit to a lifetime of taking care of myself (even when I don't feel like it).

Basically, it's like a marriage! lol.


2) Write out action steps. You can get help with your therapist to come up with some good ones to start if you are having trouble with it right now. Needs to be measurable, and needs to be things that are going to make the biggest impacts with the least amount of effort to start (helps build your confidence and good feelings about it).


3) Regular rewarding and acknowledging the good stuff. Is this hard as heck to start? Was for me. But just do it every day. Do it in the middle of a stress attack, a hate attack - just take some breaths and think of a FEW things at the least that there is to be grateful for and that you are doing well at .


4) Friends and family and community - make a list or action plan of actual things you can do for others that would make you feel good and that address their needs. Practice looking past people's imperfections and outside and to the good in every one you meet - start with the easy ones (people you like and love) then start moving on to more 'challenging' people (people who maybe aren't so obvious to you that there is something good in them). Make a game of it.


Well, maybe some of that will help you. Good luck. And remember - no one moment or span of time defines you. At any moment you can be something else by doing something else. Realizing that was one of the most liberating things ever - maybe it'll help you too. (even if it takes a while to start believing it. You are in control and can change this. One day at a time, you'll do it.

Link to comment

You seem to know that you are really a good person, and I can understand that it must frustrate you even more that you feel like you aren't.


It sounds like you are quite a selfless person... you are a clearly a devoted and altruistic mother and your selflessness has made you question yourself as you strive to be as selfless as you possibly can.


Perhaps you need some time to think of yourself... perhaps people around you aren't giving you the praise you deserve for what you do. Bringing up a child is no mean feat and it makes you forgo your own needs. You need other people to help you realise your own needs.

Link to comment

My heart goes out to you. Your meditation idea is a great one.


The good news about self-loathing is that you've already met the enemy. You don't need to worry about what anyone thinks of you because you face off with your harshest critic every day. To be honest, hatred requires an energy most people won't spare--nobody else really cares enough to hate you all that much.


That was my payoff with self-hatred: intensity. Where else could I find such a focused degree of attention and emotion? Sure, when I'm less invested in my negativity, it loses it's value and becomes too unimportant to hold onto. I can just be. And frankly, there's not much drama involved in neutralizing that energy. That was my biggest hurdle. Without my own manufactured misery, what else could there possibly be for me?


Meditation helped me to become invisible. There is a certain power trip to that. I could stop making everything about me, and I could operate as an observer in the world. I started understanding meanings 'behind' the words and behaviors of people, and I stopped being so critical of appearances. I started to feel compassion--for all people, including me. We're a bunch of frightened human animals struggling to do the best we can with whatever we know at any given time. Nobody's really got one up on anyone else when it boils down to that.


As I started learning to look past the flaws in people, I started giving my own self a break. I dropped my best paste-on personality and stopped comparing and manipulating. I considered the idea that I'm no better or worse than the next person, and maybe my purpose on this planet is slightly bigger than dwelling on my own shortcomings to prevent myself from extending an ounce of effort to help the next person through this.


Whenever self-love feels foreign to me and insecurity runs high, I work backwards. I drop my attention-seeking devices and I sink into the comfort of invisibility. I listen to people instead of trying to control them. I find qualities in people I wish to adopt for myself. Somehow I end up smarter and stronger--and somehow, I end up useful. I think of self-love as the most generous thing I can cultivate because it enables me to extend myself in ways that my self-preoccupation would otherwise squelch. It gives me broader vision and a constructive way to channel my energy, and it serves as a reasonable foundation for building my life instead of tearing everything down.


I admire your honesty and I hope you'll keep writing. Nothing is ever wasted.


In your corner.

Link to comment

Your story is excellent, and you have a good point. At the very least, maybe self-love can free the people who love us from feeling a responsiblity to compensate for our lack? In other words, maybe it prevents me from dumping a groaner on my family. Guilt isn't really inspirational. I mean, sure I can still be a self-hater and a giver at the same time, but one self-hating comment can sure be a buzz kill.


As for loving someone else, I can only speak for myself. My lowest times of self-loathing prevented me from inflicting myself on anyone. How could I claim to love someone if I was willing to suck up their time on someone who's not worthy?


My best,


Link to comment

Thanks for all the responses. I am not the only one struggling with this, but I know it's the reason the rest of my life is hindered. I lead a rather lonely life. No friends to speak of and a family that is superficial at best. I am going to actively change the way I feel about myself. Diet and exercise I think are a good start and hopefully this metta meditation will help.

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...