Loving Yourself First

By UB’s Andrea Watkins, LCSW

Love is an all too common missing piece to many of my depressed and stressed clients. Not just others giving my clients unconditional love, but my clients loving themselves unconditionally. Often I hear “I don’t know how to love myself” or “I’m not capable of loving myself” and it makes sense for how these thoughts would lead people to such dark places. With no self-love, how will you have motivation to set and reach for goals or dreams? How will a healthy and fulfilling relationship happen without knowing the ultimate love of oneself?

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when we probably all aren’t happy with ourselves and want to throw out the day and start a new one, but these days shouldn’t ruin you —  if  internal dialogues with statements like “I’ll never be good enough,” “I’m always wrong” or “this is why I’m a loser” happen after bad days, or even on a daily basis, I want you to really consider how tough you are being on yourself. We all have bad days, but they don’t define you and certainly should not let these days interfere with how you value yourself as a person.

What I want to see are more pats on your own back, valuing the smallest accomplishments, learning that sometimes saying “no” to others is saying “yes” to yourself and being proud of showing off what makes you YOU!

If you’re feeling like you need a little TLC to yourself and working on the love portion, try out these tips below:

  • Expressing your most authentic self. Sometimes we are too scared, embarrassed or shamed by qualities, talents and traits that make us unique, so we hide them away in order to blend in with the masses. Showing your true self can lead you to better self-acceptance and find an audience that appreciates you. Whether it is your creative side, a hidden talent that makes you feel special or finding a way to expertly expressing who you are, let yourself shine. Accept yourself for who you are – You are awesome!
  • Recognizing and listening to your needs. Self-care is not a selfish act — it means that you are taking stock of what you need, rather than always being on-call for everyone else’s needs. You can’t always share yourself and not expect to feel some burn out symptoms. So take care with self-care and nurture yourself – take bubble baths, go to the movies by yourself, sneak a big piece of chocolate cake, if these things make you feel good!
  • Caring for yourself with the same level of care you have for others. For some, it is easy to provide that love to another, those gentle reassurances or comforting comments… But would you treat yourself the same? There is nothing selfish about giving yourself love (as stated before) and loving yourself as you would your best friend or child will nurture that heart of yours. So next time, listen to your own advice and send love back to yourself.
  • Learning to say no to others. You are not the sole responsible party for others happiness, needs, etc. It is important to protect your boundaries and know when saying “yes” to too many things is starting to burn you out. Like I stated above, saying “no” to others sometimes translates as saying “yes” to yourself.
  • A meaningful relationship. Some experts say that true intimacy and love has to be learned, where we can have the opportunity to open our hearts up to be loved and know what this feels like. Consider your friends, family others in your life that show you true unconditional love, and stick with those people.



Page, K. “How To Love Yourself First.” 14 May 2011. Psychologytoday.com. Retrieved from  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/finding-love/201105/how-love-yourself-first

Coster, D. “Self Love Is Not A Crime: Learning To Love Yourself. 23 May 2013. PsychCentral.com. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/05/23/self-love-is-not-a-crime-learning-to-love-yourself/

Ward, D. 17 Jan 2014. “3.WYs To Learn To Love Yourself.” Psychologytoday.com. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sense-and-sensitivity/201401/3-ways-learn-love-yourself


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