Your Self Love Checklist
Theresa Polley
January 29, 2021
February 7, 2023
Self Care

I know from personal experience, self love doesn't have anything to do with what your life (or you) look like on the outside, what’s going on on the inside is a completely different matter.  As children we are full of self love. When you hang out with young kids, you’ll notice how all genders are fully confident in themselves. Maybe somewhere along the way you lost your conviction that you are amazing. It’s never too late to reconnect with that. Know you are worthy of self love. If you need more than an article join us every February for our Love Yourself Retreat.

Self love doesn't mean you don't have moments of self doubt. But instead of being defined by what you doubt about yourself and your abilities, allow yourself to fearlessly show the world all of the wonderful things you love about yourself. And to truly take care of ourselves, we must stop putting ourselves down or allowing others to treat us with anything less than the respect and love we deserve.

You deserve love and respect, exactly the way you are. You don’t need fixing!

Keep reading for tips on finding and keeping self love and self acceptance. Or for an interactive experience, journal answers to the prompts in the italicized bulleted lists.

Self Love Requires

  • Self-awareness - Knowledge of your emotional state and how you’re showing up in the world.
  • Self-regulation - Your ability to control how you are showing up, and to keep your emotions in check when situations call for control.
  • Motivation (defined as "a passion for work that goes beyond money and status") - What moves you to do your best?
  • Empathy - Feeling for others when they are experiencing emotions (positive or negative) as a result of their  life experiences.
  • Social skills - Proficiency in communications and managing external relationships. 

Describe yourself without using labels (mom, nurse, teacher, friend).

  • I am a woman who…
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What is challenging you?
  • Where are you growing?

The Importance of Boundaries

Boundaries are your first step to carving out time for self love. Boundaries teach the world how we wish to be treated. If you are constantly giving to others or allowing others to take advantage of you, take a look at why you allow that. 

For boundaries to work, you must identify AND enforce them. Setting boundaries allows you to have relationships that are mutually respectful and supportive. In the best case scenario, your friends, family and partner are already honoring your boundaries. Other times we must teach others how to treat us. Sometimes it’s enough to model the behavior by respecting our loved ones,  other times we must not only put limits in place, but not allow our boundaries to be ignored.

How to Set Boundaries

  • Acknowledge that you deserve boundaries - mental, physical and emotional.
  • How much time do you have to devote to people, projects or situations outside of your immediate family and work obligations on a daily, weekly or monthly basis
  • How much of your energy are you willing to devote to those things?
  • What financial resources are you willing to part with?
  • Identify what stresses you in terms of not enough: Time, Energy and Money
  • List situations that make you uncomfortable.
  • What activities and people make you feel energized?

Forgiveness is Powerful

Sometimes it may be easier to forgive others than yourself. Once you learn the power of forgiveness, you’ll wonder why you’ve been holding on to bitterness and disappointment. What we choose not to forgive, holds us back. 

How to Forgive Yourself 

  • Make a list of people in your life who you feel have wronged you.
  • Who can you forgive?
  • What regrets do you have?
  • What choices have you made that seemingly led you in the wrong direction?
  • Can you forgive yourself?

Gratitude Turns What You Have Into Enough

Gratitude is a powerful tool for finding contentment. Gratitude, specifically, for who you are - including perceived flaws and choices that led you in the wrong direction - allows you to live life on your terms instead of someone else’s.

It’s fairly easy to find gratitude for the daily things we may take for granted. Family, friends, home, job and material things. Sometimes when we’re faced with discomfort in life, it’s easy to get wrapped up in how everything is going wrong. Facing traffic on the way to work or having difficulty with people at work can feel like too much.  I’ve found when I look at the situation with gratitude everything changes. I’m grateful for the job I get to go to. I’m grateful for the people I work with so I don’t have to do everything. A shift in mindset can change everything.

Finding gratitude for challenges may be incredibly difficult, but it is the key to surviving and even thriving when challenges arise again. Here's how to find Gratitude for who you are and your situation right now. 

A Gratitude Practice Guide

  • What skills or abilities are you thankful to have?
  • How is where you are in life today different than a year ago–and what positive changes are you thankful for?
  • What activities and hobbies would you miss if you were unable to do?
  • List five body parts that you’re grateful for and why.
  • What are you taking for granted about your day to day that you can be thankful for?
  • Who has done something this week to help you or make your life easier and how can you thank them?
  • What foods or meals are you most thankful for?
  • What part of your morning routine are you most thankful for?
  • What is something you’re grateful to have learned this week?
  • When was the last time you laughed uncontrollably—relive the memory.
  • What aspects of your work environment are you thankful for? 
  • Who has challenged you in your life - can you find gratitude for that person?
  • Can you find gratitude for a challenging situation you're facing in your life?

From Mindfulness to Intention

Be intentional with your time, your energy, with how you start your day. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and the busyness of life. If we don’t stay intentional, not only does our entire day get off track, but our life goes off track. The first step of being intentional is to be mindful - present in this moment - not looking to the past or the future. Start your day intentionally. Journal or sit quietly with a cup of coffee or tea. Watch the sunrise or sit in nature. Take a shower listening to a meditation or music.

Set aside time for yourself every day - write it on your calendar just as you would any other commitment. Time for you can be anything from a walk at lunch to break up the workday to getting together with friends on the weekend to an evening of self care - staying in with a bubble bath and a book or getting a massage or a pedicure.

Make it a point to pause before you jump in to work or family. When you start your day on your terms, everything changes. Whatever you do, don’t pick up your phone first thing. When you do that, you begin your day be reacting to what’s going on in the world or what your friends are up to. Do you really want to start your day on someone else’s terms?

How to Set an Intention

  • Who do I want to spend time with?
  • What are my priorities?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What do I want to accomplish today? This week, this month, this year, this lifetime?

Finally, know that self love is a journey that lasts a lifetime. Sometimes, self love feels like life, a few steps forward and two steps backward. Whatever you do, don’t stop. Keep moving forward. And keep repeating to yourself "I deserve self love." You do!

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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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.

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