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Learning How to Love Yourself

Updated: Nov 3, 2021





Do I look good today?

Should I have worn a different outfit?

I’m not as pretty as my friends.

I wonder what my friends think about me.

What does everyone else think about me?

I’m not good enough.


I’m sure most of you, if not everyone, have had at least one of these thoughts cross their mind. As author Leo Babauta says, “There isn’t a person amongst us who doesn’t have insecuritiesーsome are just better at dealing with them, or perhaps hiding them1.” Insecure thoughts may be scary, intrusive, and even destructive to your physical and mental well-being. It may lower your self-esteem, affect your relationships, and lead to feelings of loneliness2. I know this all sounds alarming however, buried deep within this mess lies some comfortーcomfort in the fact that you are not alone as everyone is challenged by their own insecurities. In fact, it was found that approximately 85% of the world’s population is affected by low self-esteem.3 We worry about what others think of us, doubt our skills, and question if we are good enough. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Not only are we good enough, but we are more than that. If we believe that we are the best person to be in this role, that we are the best person to complete this task, and that we are the best person to be around; then we will by nature become that person. Having insecure thoughts may seem daunting at first, but it is an opportunity to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and to love yourself. However, to accomplish this challenge, some time and energy must be invested.


How many hours in a day do you spend on self-care activities? I’m sure many of us have skin-care routines in the morning and at nighttime, take regular breaks throughout the day, try to eat healthy, and exercise when we can. Now, how many hours in a day do you spend on self-love activities? I’m willing to bet that the answer is significantly lower than the time spent on self-care activities. Self-love is crucial for our physical and mental well-being as it propels us to be the best versions of ourselves. As author Isabella Mena says, “self-love is the complete acceptance of who and what you are4.” Learning to love and appreciate the good, the bad, the fair, and the ugly, leads to an unconditional support that will in turn, increase your self-esteem and overall happiness. When you fully commit to loving yourself, you view the world with a deeper sense of compassion and are more equipped to take care of your loved ones4. That being said, here are a few short tips to keep in mind on your journey to self-love and overcoming insecurities.




  1. Self-love takes practice: It is a gradual process that requires time and effort. Try to practice self-love activities such as writing positive affirmations, reflecting on your strengths, creating a gratitude journal and much more. This will help you implement it into your everyday life4.


  1. Don’t be a perfectionist: Often times it is the lack of perfection that drives our insecure thoughts and worries but we don’t live in a perfect world. Don’t beat yourself up over little mistakes as they can lower your self-confidence. Instead, try to forgive yourself and view the mistake as a learning opportunity to grow6.


  1. Practice mindful self-compassion: Self-compassion is a form of kindness to ourselves that allows us to understand and forgive our mistakes. It helps us to cope with our failures, disappointments, and feelings of inadequacy in a healthy manner. Mindful self-compassion allows us to become aware of our good qualities and appreciate them on a deeper level. You can practice mindful self-compassion by doing a loving-kindness meditation, affectionate breathing techniques, self-compassionate letter writing and more.6


  1. Listen to yourself: Paying attention to how you internally talk to yourself can tell a lot about your self-love. Be mindful of your thoughts and the language you use when you make a mistake or notice a flaw. If you tend to insult yourself and use hurtful language, challenge yourself to use a kind and understanding tone during these situations.6


Remember, at the end of the day, you are your number one support system. It is crucial that you take care of this system and ensure that it is capable of handling any challenges life has to throw at it. Learning to love yourself will lead to a life filled with happiness and gratitude and I’m positive we will all be able to achieve it.


Written by: Sapna Singh

Year III, Honors Life Sciences

McMaster University


___________________


1 https://zenhabits.net/insecurities/

2 https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/insecurity

3 https://www.self-esteem-school.com/self-esteem-statistics.html

4 https://ucsccaps.wordpress.com/2019/05/29/the-importance-of-self-love/

5 https://positivepsychology.com/self-esteem-worksheets/

6 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321309#Moving-away-from-perfectionism



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