10 Tangible & Thought-Provoking Ways To Practice Self-Love

Written by Nitika Chopra
Expert review by Kristina Hallett, Ph.D., ABPP
Board-certified Clinical Psychologist
Kristina Hallett, Ph.D., ABPP is a board-certified clinical psychologist, Director of Clinical Training at Bay Path University, and an associate professor in Graduate Psychology. She has a private practice in Suffield, Connecticut.

Graphic by Simon / Stocksy

Self-love is a popular concept these days, and it looks a little different for everyone. We all have a unique way of loving ourselves. If you're unsure about how to start showing yourself some love, here are some thought-starters for how to do it today and every day. Read about 'em, try 'em, and then make 'em your own.

1. Create a self-love ritual.

Turn off the TV and unplug from social media for 15 minutes to get centered while moisturizing your skin with intention. As you massage your feet, thank them for getting you to where you need to go; as you moisturize your hands, love them for all the transactions and introductions they've helped you with throughout your life. For a moment, stop taking your body for granted and shower yourself with gratitude.

2. Build a precious community.

As much as we would like to think we can, we can't do everything ourselves. We need the support and love from people around us to stay motivated and on track. Research shows that positive energy is contagious, so whether you're building a network or planning to go to a fun event, it's always important to have a community you value around you regularly.

3. Make a "What's Working for Me" list.

Truly loving yourself comes from self-acceptance. And one helpful step toward getting to that point of self-acceptance is recognizing what you already have that's great by writing a "What's Working for Me" list. Once you see it on paper and accept all of the positivity in your life, it will make it that much easier to love yourself.

4. Know that your body is a loving vessel.

Treating your body like a loving vessel will boost not only your self-love but also your energy. Be intentional about what you put into your body, not because you want to look good but because you want to feel good. Feeding your body nutrient-rich foods will have you oozing love out of every pore.

5. Clean out your closet.

Tidying is more therapeutic than you might think, and getting rid of old things will make room for new ones to come into your life. Cleansing your mind can sometimes work in the form of letting go of clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc., that remind you of a certain time in your life that links to a negative vibration. Don't chase what's already happened; love yourself enough to know the best is yet to come.

6. Don't compare yourself to others on social media.

We've all done it. Browsed through social media only to see our favorite media personalities in the middle of a photoshoot for their new books, just after they had awesome shopping sprees and right before the post about their engagements. WHAT?! But remember that these positive pics on the Internet don't always tell the whole story, and everyone—yes, everyone—has bad days.

7. Explore your spirituality.

Faith is the foundation for self-love. Whether or not you're religious, believing in something opens up your soul to the beauty of belief and trust. It will build your intuition and help you make decisions based on your intuition. When you explore your spirituality, it will also take you on a journey to learning things about yourself, and those new thoughts, feelings, passions, and raw emotions will make you appreciate yourself for being authentically you.

8. Do something you're good at.

If this isn’t the ultimate self-esteem booster, I don’t know what is! Self-esteem and self-love often go hand in hand, and participating in a hobby you're good at will not only boost your endorphins but will bring out the best version of you. If you love to cook, then cook! If you love to run, then grab those sneakers, head outside, and run.

9. Find your happy place.

Think of a place that makes it simple to just be. Sit quietly and embrace the here and now, not thinking about what's due at work or what bills need to be paid.

10. Build your letting-go muscle.

We're constantly holding onto things in our past, which can weigh heavy on our souls and even give us low self-esteem. The more blocks we clear, the more we can really live big in the area of self-love. Although we may do this as a way to protect ourselves from hurting, it's really only holding us back from moving forward to reaching optimal self-acceptance and loving who we are.

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