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Your Guide Self-Love

Discovering Self-Love

Love is such a tricky topic—especially when it comes to loving someone else. Some of us declare our love easily and liberally, and others are cautious and slow to profess adoration for another. But when it comes to loving ourselves, I think it’s safe to say, almost all of us struggle at least a little.

Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time considering the importance of self-love. I truly believe it’s difficult to fully and rightly love someone else when we don’t truly love ourselves. Lack of self-love simply translates to low self-esteem, and low self-esteem shows up in our lives in some of the following ways:


7 Ways Low Self-Esteem Manifests

  1. Lack of boundaries
  2. Anger
  3. Sensitivity
  4. Indecisiveness
  5. Feelings of worthlessness
  6. Feelings of defeat
  7. Shame

Lack of Self-Love & Relationships

Low self-esteem affects women in relationships in the following ways.

  • They are more guarded.
  • They may become clingy or chase a potential mate
  • They test relationships in unhealthy ways
  • A woman may gravitate towards a relationship that reaffirms her belief in her own worthlessness
  • A woman with low self-esteem is more likely to enable a partner’s bad behaviors
  • Women with low self-esteem are more likely to avoid genuine intimacy
  • They tend to fall for partners to hard, too fast

How do you really feel about yourself? Are you feeling the love, or displaying symptoms of low self-esteem? Regardless of where you think you are at in your own journey of self-love, there’s always room to love yourself more.


10 Ways to Practice Self-Love

I’ve put together 10 ways you can practice self-love. Remember, the more you love yourself, the more likely you are to manifest the kind loving relationships you’ve always wanted.

  1. Take a moment each day—especially when you find yourself feeling insecure—to meditate on all of the things you value about yourself.
  2. Our body-shaming culture is all about denying ourselves the foods and beverages we love most when our bodies don’t look a certain way. Refuse to take part in this practice. Give yourself permission to enjoy your favorite things. Simply practice moderation.
  3. Surround yourself with people who love and support you. These are the people who you feel your best around because they accept you for who you are and never judge you.
  4. Walk away from unhealthy relationships. Do you have someone in your life who makes you feel unsure about yourself or belittles your decisions, actions or efforts? It might be time to take some space.
  5. Create boundaries and enforce them. The wonderful thing about boundaries is that they can change over time and at any time. Honor your personal needs all of the time. Knowing your boundaries in love, friendship, and with family helps you create healthy relationships and quit unhealthy ones.
  6. Celebrate yourself frequently and for any and every reason that pops up. When you have a small success at work, take yourself out for dessert or get that outfit you’ve been eyeing for the last month.
  7. Invest in self-care. You deserve to be taken care of physically and emotionally. Stay on top of your physical health with regular checkups, daily workouts, healthy meals, and a proper amount of rest. Fortify your emotional health by choosing healthy relationships, incorporating meditation-like practices into your daily life, and asking for help when you are feeling down or anxious. No one else can do this for you. This is your responsibility. Say no to any lifestyle or relationship that puts your physical or mental health at risk.
  8. Tune into your self-talk. Do you say mean things to yourself? Are the words you use when you talk to yourself the kind of words you’d use with those you love most? If not, it’s time to change that.
  9. Show yourself compassion when you mess up. Learning to be compassionate with yourself translates beautifully when dealing with others.
  10. Create the personal space you deserve. How you feel about yourself is likely to be reflected in your personal environment. Recruit helpers to clean, organize and decorate your home, apartment or bedroom in a way that reflects the beautiful person you are and the gifts you have to share.


Self-Love & Mary Oliver

In her Poem, To Begin With, the Sweet Grass, Mary Oliver says, “Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.”

It’s such a simple line that says it all. Today as we consider love, the love we have and the love we want, we should first consider the love we give to ourselves. Without it, we can never truly experience the enormity of love that is out there and waiting for us.

I am by no means a master at loving myself, but it’s something that I’m working at every day now. I hope that some of the ideas above help you on your own journey.

I’ll leave you with Mary Oliver’s beautiful thoughts on loving it all.

Happy Valentine’s Day,


To Begin With, the Sweet Grass

by Mary Oliver
Will the hungry ox stand in the field and not eat of the sweet grass?
Will the owl bite off its own wings?
Will the lark forget to lift its body in the air or forget to sing?
Will the rivers run upstream?

Behold, I say–behold
the reliability and the finery and the teachings of this gritty earth gift.

Eat bread and understand comfort.
Drink water, and understand delight.
Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds
who are drinking the sweetness, who are thrillingly gluttonous.

For one thing leads to another.
Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.

And someone’s face, whom you love, will be as a star
both intimate and ultimate,
and you will be both heart-shaken and respectful.
And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper:
oh, let me, for a while longer, enter the two
beautiful bodies of your lungs.

The witchery of living
is my whole conversation
with you my darlings.
All I can tell you is what I know.

Look, and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for the eyes.

It’s more than bones.
It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
It’s more than the beating of the single heart.
It’s praising.
It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.
You have a life—just imagine that!
You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe still another.

Someday I am going to ask my friend Paulus,
the dancer, the potter,
to make me a begging bowl
which I believe
my soul needs.

And if I come to you,
to the door of your comfortable house
with unwashed clothes and unclean fingernails,
will you put something into it?

I would like to take this chance.
I would like to give you this chance.

We do one thing or another; we stay the same or we change.
Congratulations if you have changed.

Let me ask you this.
Do you also think that beauty exists for some fabulous reason?

And if you have not been enchanted by this adventure—your life—
what would do for you?

What I loved in the beginning, I think, was mostly myself.
Never mind that I had to, since somebody had to.
That was many years ago.
Since then I have gone out from my confinements, though with difficulty

I mean the ones that are thought to rule my heart.
I cast them out, I put them on the mush pile.
They will be nourishment somehow (everything is nourishment somehow or another).

And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope.
I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is.
I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned,
I have become younger.

And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world


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Annette Benedetti
Annette Benedetti
Annette is a writer, editor and photographer from Portland, OR. Her work appears in a variety of publications including Bust, Red Tricycle, Motherly and Domino. When she’s away from her desk she can be found teaching women yoga at wilderness retreats, exploring new cities across the states and hiking the trails at Mt. Rainier—one of her favorite places on earth.