How to Love Yourself Again (Or for the First Time)
Nina Herndon
February 1, 2023
February 28, 2024
Year of Self Care

We’re in month two of our Year of Self Care, and we’re talking about one of my favorite topics: self love. 

As children we are full of self love. Maybe somewhere along the way you lost your conviction that you are amazing. It’s never too late to reconnect with the undeniable truth you are worthy of self love, in spite of messages you may have received over the years.

It’s no mystery that self love is an important part of self care, but what does it mean to love yourself and where do you start? Self love is showing yourself kindness and respect, fully accepting yourself just as you are, and intentionally nurturing your growth and wellbeing.

If you’re learning how to love yourself again, for the first time, or just wanting to brush up on your practice, this guide is for you.

“Be very very very gentle with yourself. The world is very very hard on you.” ~ Srividya Srinivasan

Notice Your Negative Self Talk

Whether you’re talking to yourself out loud or in your head (or you hear the voice of someone else telling you you’re not good enough), you’re giving power to those negative words This voice in our head is impactful, and if we’re not mindful of what we say to ourselves it can harm the way we see ourselves

How to Identify Negative Self Talk

  • Are you putting yourself down, maybe even jokingly?
  • Do you use harsh words with yourself when you make a mistake?
  • When you look in the mirror, are you criticizing yourself?
  • Are you judging or second-guessing yourself?
  • When scrolling on social media or talking to your friends, do you compare yourself to them?

Notice or even write down the negative self talk, we'll come back to it. And remember, you are doing the best you can—and that’s enough.

Practice Forgiving and Accepting Yourself

We say a lot of negative things to ourselves but rarely do we take the time to forgive ourselves and accept ourselves exactly as we are. Maybe it’s because we struggle to forgive others—especially the people who’ve hurt us. Regardless, the lack of self  compassion for ourself may be one of our biggest obstacles to self love.

Ways to Forgive Yourself and Embrace Acceptance

  • Give yourself grace for taking “wrong” turns along the way, you are stronger and wiser today because of them. 
  • Acknowledge that others have wronged you, and forgive them—even if you don’t feel like they “deserve” it. By holding onto anger and resentment towards others, you are only harming yourself.
  • When you notice negative self talk, find acceptance with a positive affirmation.
    Here’s an example:
    Negative Self Talk:
    I can’t believe I made that mistake, I’m such an idiot!
    Positive Affirmation:
    I am human and make mistakes. I will learn from this.

Rewrite your negative self talk list from earlier into positive affirmations or write a forgiveness letter to yourself. Just remember, you are enough—exactly as you are.

Explore More Ways to Love Yourself

Learning how to love yourself again (or for the first time) is a practice, some days you move forward and other days you slide back. Don’t be hard on yourself. And if you want to take your self love practice deeper, check out our Self Love Checklist and Love Yourself First posts.

Other Ways to Practice Loving Yourself

  • Take a Digital Detox: If you start to notice yourself negatively comparing yourself to people on social media, take a little break. (And remember, most of social media is not reality!)
  • Start (or Keep) Setting Boundaries: If you feel like you don’t have the time to love yourself, you probably need to set some boundaries. Your time and energy are limited, girl!
  • Write a Self Love Gratitude List: Write down things you’re grateful for about yourself. I know this can be hard, especially if we’ve spent a lot of time listening to our negative self talk. I’ve found this especially helpful when it comes to things about my body and my appearance. Expressing gratitude allows me to find acceptance (which ultimately leads to love) for those parts of myself. 
  • Go on a Retreat: We host a 4-Day Love Yourself Retreat every February around Valentine's Day, and we now have a mini-version, the Self Love & Acceptance Retreat. But you can start your self love journey by choosing to take a weekend just for you at any one of our upcoming retreats for women.

Come Back For More

This collection is part of our Year of Self Care Guide. Each month, you'll find a new collection of simple practices that will help you honor, love, forgive and prioritize yourself, week by week.

This blog is intended to provide helpful suggestions for self care and overall well-being. I am not a mental health professional. If you’re struggling I encourage you to seek the help of a professional. Find a Mental Health Professional | National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Dial 988

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Nina Herndon

Nina believes women have an incredible ability to help one another, and is driven to cultivate safe spaces for them to do so. Over the years she has helped her mom to grow Retreat in the Pines to reach as many women as possible.

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