why am i so sad

Gaston Molina

Medically Reviewed by Gaston Molina, Clinical Psychologist & Therapist

What is Self Love: Exploring the Essence of Love

what is self love

Self-love is a concept that has gained significant attention in recent years, and for good reason. It is the foundation upon which a fulfilling and meaningful life is built. But what exactly is self-love? Self-love is the deep appreciation and acceptance of oneself. It is recognizing your worth, embracing your flaws, and taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Self-love is not about being selfish or narcissistic. It is about prioritizing your own needs and happiness, while still being compassionate towards others. When we love ourselves, we are better able to love and care for others, as we are coming from a place of abundance rather than lack. Self-love is the key to unlocking our full potential and living a life of authenticity and joy.

The Benefits of Practicing Self-Love

Practicing self-love has numerous benefits that extend to all areas of our lives. Firstly, it improves our mental health. When we love ourselves, we are more likely to have positive self-esteem and confidence. We are less affected by the opinions of others and more resilient in the face of challenges. Self-love also reduces stress and anxiety, as we are better equipped to manage our emotions and prioritize self-care.

Additionally, self-love enhances our relationships. When we love ourselves, we attract healthier and more fulfilling relationships. We are able to set boundaries, communicate our needs, and make choices that align with our values. Self-love also improves our physical health. When we prioritize self-care, we are more likely to engage in activities that promote our well-being, such as exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough rest.

The Connection Between Self-Love and Mental Health

Self-love and mental health are deeply intertwined. When we lack self-love, we are more susceptible to developing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. On the other hand, practicing self-love can be a powerful tool in improving our mental health and well-being.

Self-love allows us to cultivate a positive self-image and develop a strong sense of self-worth. When we love ourselves, we are less likely to engage in negative self-talk and self-sabotaging behaviors. We are more forgiving of our mistakes and failures, and we approach challenges with a growth mindset. Self-love also encourages us to seek help and support when needed, as we recognize the importance of prioritizing our mental well-being.

How to Cultivate Self-Love in Daily Life

Embracing the present can have profound benefits for our well-being. When we live in the moment, we reduce anxiety and stress, as we are not consumed by worries about the future or regrets about the past. Instead, we are able to fully engage with the world around us, finding joy and contentment in even the simplest of experiences. Living in the moment also enhances our relationships, as we are fully present and attentive to others, fostering deeper connections and understanding.

Cultivating self-love is an ongoing process that requires conscious effort and practice. Here are some strategies to help you cultivate self-love in your daily life:

  1. Practice self-care: Take time each day to engage in activities that nourish and rejuvenate you. This could be anything from taking a bubble bath, going for a walk in nature, or practicing meditation.
  2. Set boundaries: Learn to say no to things that do not align with your values or priorities. Setting boundaries is an act of self-love and helps protect your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
  3. Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and compassion, just as you would a dear friend. Be gentle with yourself when you make mistakes, and remind yourself that nobody is perfect.
  4. Surround yourself with positive influences: Surround yourself with people who uplift and support you. Limit your exposure to negative influences, whether that be toxic relationships or media that promotes unrealistic beauty standards.
  5. Practice gratitude: Take time each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for. Gratitude helps shift your focus from what is lacking to what is abundant in your life.

Self-love Affirmations and Mantras

Affirmations and mantras can be powerful tools in cultivating self-love. They help rewire our subconscious mind and replace negative self-talk with positive and empowering beliefs. Here are some self-love affirmations and mantras you can incorporate into your daily practice:

  1. “I am worthy of love and happiness.”
  2. “I embrace my flaws and imperfections with love and acceptance.”
  3. “I am enough just as I am.”
  4. “I choose to prioritize my well-being and happiness.”
  5. “I am deserving of all the good things life has to offer.”

Repeat these affirmations and mantras daily, either silently or out loud, and notice how they shift your mindset and perception of yourself.

Ready to prioritize your mental well-being?

Self-Love Practices for Different Areas of Life

Self-love extends beyond our internal dialogue and self-care routines. It encompasses every aspect of our lives. Here are some self-love practices you can incorporate into different areas of your life:

  1. Career: Set boundaries at work, take breaks when needed, and pursue a career that aligns with your passions and values.
  2. Relationships: Surround yourself with people who uplift and support you, communicate your needs and boundaries, and prioritize your own happiness and well-being.
  3. Physical health: Engage in regular exercise, nourish your body with healthy foods, and prioritize rest and relaxation.
  4. Hobbies and interests: Make time for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, whether that be painting, dancing, or playing an instrument.
  5. Personal growth: Continuously learn and grow, set goals that align with your values, and celebrate your achievements along the way.

Overcoming Obstacles to Self-Love

While cultivating self-love is a transformative and rewarding journey, it is not without its challenges. Here are some common obstacles to self-love and strategies to overcome them:

  1. Negative self-talk: Challenge and reframe negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself. Replace them with positive and empowering affirmations.
  2. Comparison: Remember that everyone’s journey is unique. Focus on your own progress and growth rather than comparing yourself to others.
  3. Past traumas: Seek professional help and support to heal from past traumas that may be impacting your ability to love yourself fully.
  4. Fear of judgment: Remember that your worth is not determined by the opinions of others. Embrace your uniqueness and let go of the need for external validation.
  5. Perfectionism: Embrace the beauty of imperfection and recognize that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning and growth process.

Self-love Resources and Tools

There are numerous resources and tools available to support you on your self-love journey. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Self-help books: “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown, “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach, and “The Self-Love Experiment” by Shannon Kaiser.
  2. Meditation apps: Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer offer guided meditations and mindfulness practices to cultivate self-love and inner peace.
  3. Therapy and counseling: Seek professional help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in self-esteem and self-love.
  4. Online communities and support groups: Join online communities and support groups focused on self-love and personal growth. Connect with like-minded individuals who can offer guidance and support.


Self-love is a journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and growth. It is the key to unlocking our full potential and living a life of authenticity and joy. By prioritizing our own well-being, embracing our flaws, and practicing self-care, we can cultivate a deep sense of love and acceptance for ourselves. Remember, self-love is not selfish; it is necessary for our overall well-being and happiness. Embrace the power within and unlock the limitless potential of self-love.

Ready to prioritize your mental well-being?

Gaston Molina
Medically Reviewed by Gaston Molina, Clinical Psychologist & Therapist

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