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Article: How to Love Yourself First: 4-Step Guide

How to Love Yourself First: 4-Step Guide

How to Love Yourself First: 4-Step Guide

All of us have been raised into a system where romance is considered the ultimate goal of our lives, which is why most of us are conditioned to seek it as a means to happiness.

Love with another person can certainly be a lot of fun, however, the rules are changing for Millennials and Zoomers - we are starting to understand that in order to have a good relationship with someone else, we must first have a good relationship with ourselves.

That means that it is much more difficult to find success in our relationships before we focus on self-love. We must stop looking to our relationships for validation and happiness because this starts within.

Learning how to love yourself is step one in finding a good relationship so let’s look at how you can really do that without sugar-coating it. In today’s article, we will be discussing four actions you can start taking today to get closer to that fun movie romance you always dreamed of.

Wall art that says 'Self Love' in blue and gold.

First: What Loving Yourself Isn’t

Let’s start with what we know is true: what being in love isn’t.

Comparing yourself to others is the antithesis of self-love. Having a role model is one thing, but putting yourself down because you’re not doing what someone else is, or because you don’t look like someone else, is not helpful and even if everyone you know does it, it’s not necessary!

That leads us to the next major thing that is not self-love. Equating your self-worth with how you look is not at all self-loving. We are so conditioned to participate in this false hierarchy of looks that we don’t often realize ourselves doing it subconsciously. We are constantly thinking about how we look and it can steal our happiness to let these types of self-critical thoughts have dominion over our happiness.

Thinking someone else will make you happy, is also not self-love. This means you’re giving someone else the power that only you have. Stop looking for happiness in someone else and notice how people around you repeat this behavior in conversations, life goals, and other actions. Our society is built on this house of cards idea that someone can complete us which isn’t a smart concept because there is no emotionally strong foundation or structure that is unchanging.

Another thing that is not self-love is doing things to please others. Stop being a people pleaser whether it’s with people who are not even nice to you in your own family, friends who don’t make you feel truly seen, or doing things you really don’t want to do.

4 Simple Steps To Love Yourself First

Now it’s time to look at how to fall in love with yourself. Have you ever stopped to ask how do you love yourself?

We’ve looked at things you need to stop doing and now you’ll know what to replace those things with. After you read this simple self-love guide, you’ll know how to love yourself more.

You’re embarking on a journey that will break those cycles of feeling powerless, pining after the wrong people, or feeling sad when you’re single. If you don’t love yourself right now, it’s not hard to change that.

A sign on the side of the road that reads

Step 1: Notice Where You’re Overly Self-Critical

When you find your negative self-talk creeping up on you - make note of where this is coming from. Write it down and get to the root of how you can make changes. Allow yourself to confront these criticisms and make positive changes in your mind, body, and soul - this growth is critical in self-love.

When in your day are you being critical of how you look, how much money you make, how nice your home is, and other non-essential self-judgments? Is it when you’re getting ready and looking in the mirror at all the things you want to change? Is it when you’re at the grocery store and thinking about how you fall short compared to people who seem to ‘have it all together? 

Recognizing where you are not nice to yourself is going to help you dig out the roots of your lack of self-love.

Step 2: Find Things You Enjoy On Your Own

Instead of relying on other people to feel a sense of enjoyment, start to rely on yourself.

If you can’t go out, learn a new hobby or start a new routine. Adding a walk to your day with your favorite podcast or audiobook can really give you time to settle in with yourself and expand your interests while doing so. Treat yourself to dinner by making a new recipe, learn a new dance from Tiktok, try to make new types of coffee - find ways to make yourself laugh while self-dating.

If you can go out, take yourself to the movies and splurge on popcorn, go out to a trendy underground jazz concert and dress up, do what you would do with someone you were head over heels for but with yourself. Make your house nice, just for you, and enjoy your own company by playing music, eating chocolate, and taking care of your health for you.

Required reading: I Am My Own Best Friend: A Journey Into Self-Reliance

Wooden scrabble pieces that spell out

Step 3: Develop A Passion That Channels Your Creativity

Instead of letting society define your idea of success, determine that being successful is about being kind, having great energy, and taking care of yourself. We have a lot of energy that can help others and if we pour it into something, we have that outlet for our love that will make us feel proud of who we are.

You don’t need to find one overnight, instead try things out and enjoy the process of getting to know yourself. Even if you hate something, you’ve learned more about who you are separate from others, which is an accomplishment in itself.

That means, having a passion will keep you from feeling you have to find someone to complete you. You can do that all on your own.

Step 4: Check-In With Your Intuition to Set Boundaries

Self-love is all about taking care of your energy so you feel good. Boundaries are the most important thing you can bring to love, whether this is self-love or love with other people. Without them, our personal values and well being can be at risk because we are unable to say no to things that do not serve us.

That means skipping out on the unhealthy social gatherings to workout (if you want to) and making sure your boss gives you the lunch break you’re entitled to so you can get regular movement. It means saying no when someone is trying to guilt you into staying up until 2 am on a weekday and being perfectly content blocking someone who is making you feel uncomfortable on social media.

While we often may view self-love as a “yes” kind of movement, saying no to others is actually the first step to finding self-love.

Read this next: Self-Partnering: Taking Self-Love To The Next Level


There is a whole lot of research, books, courses, and experts on the topic of self-love, and diving into them will help you find where your blind spots are. We may get to our yoga classes, drink our green smoothies, be selective in who we date, but still not truly love ourselves.

Looking at these topics more in-depth can help you get to the bottom of thoughts that you may be so used to having, you don’t even realize they are there. Being around people who practice self-love will also help you develop this style of thinking and we really need to look at the people we spend time with and if they are helping our relationship with ourselves or encouraging us to give our power away by buying into societies illusions of needing a soulmate.

Taking this one step further is looking at self-love for your soul and cultivating a relationship with your spiritual side. Taking time to meditate each day and check-in with yourself about who you feel in your heart you want to be will help you align your life, relationships, and thoughts to the highest good for you even if it means letting other people’s expectations of how your life is supposed to look go.

Related Article: Guide to Body Positivity: Tips for Body Appreciation

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