Love Yourself First
Theresa Polley
October 2, 2023
October 17, 2023
Self Care

I struggled for years with self-love. I'd internalized so much negativity - insults and name-calling from childhood and well into my adulthood. Although I believed women deserved respect and love, I didn't always believe I deserved it too

You too deserve love and respect. 

Maybe it was trauma from childhood, a series of damaging relationships or something else, but acknowledging you deserve love and respect is the first step to getting it in your life. 

It took me a long time to realize Loving Myself First meant I had to put myself and my needs above those of others. I felt selfish. I realized that NO it isn’t selfish to take care of yourself. Who else will do it?!

Only by taking care of yourself, are you able to do all those things you want and need to do. We trick ourselves into believing if we eliminate “me” time we will have more time for other things. Running ourselves ragged leaves us exhausted, with neither the time nor energy to take care of anybody or anything. Eventually feelings of resentment start to come up.

"The greatest tool of self-love is self-awareness. Once you truly know yourself, love is the only option.” ~ Vironika Tugaleva

Self-love begins with self-care. It’s learning to say no to things, so you can say yes to you.  I’ve started these habits over the last few years. When I make my self care a priority, I not only feel better, but I'm able to show up in my life as the best version of myself. Once you get the self-care routine down, think about taking your self love journey a step farther by being intentional with your thoughts, your time and your energy.

Eliminate Negative Self Talk

  • Stop second guessing yourself or comparing yourself to others.
  • Don't put yourself down, EVER, even in a self-deprecating humor sort of way.
  • Find compassion for yourself.
  • Engage in activities that make you feel empowered.
  • Keep in mind, you are doing the best you can.

Set Boundaries

  • Never make excuses for other adults.
  • Remove toxic people from your life - an acquaintance, a work colleague, a childhood friend, a love interest or even a family member. Let go of the guilt. You deserve better.
  • If you're unable to remove the toxic person from your life, vow to limit your time with them.
  • Say no to things that don't serve you - obligations, meaningless connections, time on social media - so you can say yes to you.

Live in The Moment

  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Be present with each person and situation you encounter.
  • Avoid living in the past - either reliving something fabulous or thinking about what you could have done differently.
  • Beware of living in the future - anticipating conversations, experiences or life changes.

Let Go

  • What you did. What you didn't do.
  • What you said. What you didn't say.
  • Anyone who has manipulated or mislead you.
  • Regrets, missteps, wrong directions and false starts.
  • Letting go allows space in your life for new possibilities and opportunities.

Forgive Yourself and Others

  • Forgive yourself and give yourself grace for taking a wrong turn along the way - it got you to where you are today.
  • Forgive those who have wronged you. Holding onto anger and resentment towards that individual, only harms you.
  • Practice Lovingkindness Meditation to forgive and move on.

Embrace Acceptance

  • Find contentment in the way things are right now.
  • If you're waiting for everything to be perfect, there's no guarantee it will ever be.
  • Accept yourself just as you are today - flaws and all.
  • Accept friends, family and loved ones exactly the way they are - there's no need to fix anyone - it doesn't work and it's exhausting.

Make a List of 20 Positive Things About Yourself

  • If you have a hard time getting started, begin with what you like and don't like. "I like rain and the outdoors. I don't like traffic or fake people."
  • Start with a few things and allow the list to grow.
  • Sometimes a negative is actually a positive - for instance if you're stubborn, that means you're persistent!

It may be difficult at first, but know that, yes, there are 20 positive things about you!

I did this exercise several years ago and it was incredibly difficult at first. I had no trouble listing 20 positive things about everyone in my life. Just as I was taught to sacrifice myself for others, I was also taught to always see the best in others. I realized, it was just as important to see the best in myself. I try to do this exercise every few months. It reminds me of my self worth and to make myself a priority.

If you want to take your Love Yourself First journey even further join us for our three night Love Yourself Retreat in February or one of our two night Self Love & Acceptance retreats held throughout the year.

The journey to loving yourself is like anything else - it starts with baby steps and can be a few steps forward and just as many steps back. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, "Smile, Breathe and Go Slowly."

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

Share this Story

Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

Retreat With Us

All Women Welcome
No Judgments
No Expectations
Join Us