Thought Catalog Agency

How To Love Yourself When You Suck At Self-Love

Loving yourself is a journey. Think of your life, the spread of it over the years that have happened and the years still left to come. Your self-esteem will wax and wane in that time, just like the phases of the moon. You’ll have moments when you feel great about yourself and moments–sometimes spread over years or decades–when you aren’t exactly your biggest fan. Everyone struggles with this. We all have our dark times, but there are ways to get through it. It’s time to love yourself, even when your self-love is at rock bottom.

Remember that you’re human.

Bad self-esteem is a vicious cycle. You feel bad about yourself, then you beat yourself up for not having the seemingly endless self-confidence you see in other people. So you feel even worse. Here’s the thing: No one feels 100% about themselves 100% of the time. Not a single person. So accept that sometimes you’ll feel like shit. That’s okay. Just pull yourself back from the abyss rather than tumbling down that endless well of self-loathing. We’re all human, and sometimes we all feel like we’re terrible.

Know that people aren’t seeing what you’re seeing.

You see the hairs on your chin and the wrinkles forming around your eyes. You see the way your back fat hangs over the top of your bra band or the little scar on your forehead from when you fell off the top bunk. And you worry that everyone is seeing these things and judging, judging. But you’re looking at yourself with that critical eye. You’re looking at yourself under a magnifying glass that no one else has access to.

…And everyone’s more focused on themselves than on you.

All that worrying you’re doing? You’re not the only one. While you worry about what other people think, other people are doing the same thing. They have no space left to have an opinion on the pajamas you’re wearing to the grocery store.

Accept the compliments people give you, at least verbally.

The biggest step you can make toward loving yourself is to accept that people mean it when they compliment you. How? Say thank you. Don’t argue. Don’t tell them they’re wrong. If you do it for long enough, you might even start to believe it. And guess what? You’re making the person feel good by accepting it.

Don’t listen to media that encourages you to hate yourself.

Our society certainly wants to keep you down. They shame everyone–women especially–just for existing. Just for being yourself. So when you listen to On Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful,” you’ll be skeptical when they say, “you don’t know you’re beautiful / that’s what makes you beautiful.” The only thing making her beautiful is low self-esteem? Big yikes, boys.

Treat yourself like your own best friend.

All that bad self-talk? If you wouldn’t allow someone to say that kind of thing to your best friends, you aren’t allowed to say it to yourself. Okay?

Fake it ’til you make it.

Awesome self-love doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s a process. But in the meantime, live your life as if you have heaps of confidence. Wear the thing that scares you. Ask that person out who feels like they’re out of your league. After a while, you won’t be faking it anymore.