Self Love Can Be Challenging – Try this life changing alternative

We all can appreciate self-love for what is it, a way of loving different aspects of yourself.

Photo by Sarah Wolfe

This can be your body, your mind, your personality, etc.

But, sometimes forced self-love is more harmful than helpful. Negative emotions towards yourself don’t just disappear with a few positive affirmations, and there may be days when it feels harder to love yourself.

Everyone, no matter who you are, compares themselves to others. Everyone has something about themselves they’d want to change or something they just don’t like.

On days where these thoughts intrude, self love can feel fake.

Instead, keep reading to find an alternative mentality to adapt on days where self love feels out of reach.

What is Self-Love

Self-love is the state of appreciating and loving yourself, from your physical self to your mental self. It is often associated with taking care of yourself and putting yourself first.

This is not to be confused with narcissism and ego, as those stem from an inherent belief that you are better than others.

Self-love can be great for mental, emotional, and physical growth, as it drives us to appreciate our worth and care about the state of our being.

What is Self Care

Self-care is usually a practice or action taken to benefit yourself. In self-care, you are taking on the role of providing your own wellbeing and happiness.

This can also encompass physical, mental, or emotional aspects.

For example, maybe you treat your body to a massage because you feel like you deserve it, maybe you drink a healthy shake to nurture yourself, or maybe you enjoy an extra piece of cake.

It can even be voicing your boundaries or making a nighttime routine to make sure you sleep well.

Self-care can look different for different individuals.

Why is Self Love or Self Care Hard Sometimes

Sometimes, it feels harder to love yourself, especially if you have had the habit of speaking about yourself a certain way:

  • Oh, I don’t like my thighs
  • I shouldn’t have said my opinion
  • I feel so bad after eating that dessert
  • I wish I looked like that Instagram model
  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m not doing enough
  • I don’t deserve this

This can stem from insecurities about the way we look, our profession, what we eat, or a million other reasons.

There are times when we compare ourselves to others and find ourselves lacking

Other times, we set expectations of ourselves that are unfair. I’ve seen a tendency to treat others better, to prioritize others, to put others before yourself. This is a lovely habit, admirable in it’s practice.

But where is that same kindness and respect towards ourselves?

What is Self Respect

Self-respect is actively treating yourself the way you want others to treat you. It doesn’t have to be forcing yourself to have positive thoughts, nor does it have to be enjoying every second of the day. Toxic positivity may do more harm than good.

Self-respect is simply acknowledging that you have worth by existing and because of that simple fact, you deserve respect.

It can be as simple as:

  • My hands did a lot of work today, I appreciate them
  • I enjoy the way my legs get me from point a to point b
  • I’m allowed to simply exist
  • I am a work in progress, it’s ok to still be growing
  • I will set this boundary and make sure it’s enforced
  • I’m allowed to say no

And on days where negative self-talk invades, ask yourself, would you ever speak to a child the way you speak about yourself?

The Different Between Self Love, Self Care, and Self Respect

Self love is genuine love and appreciation towards who you are as a person. Self-care is an act you do to nurture your wellbeing, and self-respect is honoring who you are.

Through self-respect and acts of self-care, we may be able to reach self-love.

Self-love is great and amazing but is not always feasible, nor is it possible to expect a constant positive mentality.

On days where self love is hard, self-respect can help change the way you think about yourself from negative to positive.

5 Ways to Show Yourself Self Respect

Here are 5 simple habits and tips to finding self respect.

Be Honest on How You Feel

When we are honest about our negative thoughts, we are more likely to overcome them. Since we live in a society, we will always have at least a bit of pressure to perform a certain way and tend to evade our negative feelings.

Let yourself feel them, without judgment; you are not less of a person for feeling that way.

Try to analyze what made you feel negative, what you can control about it, and learn to release what you cannot control.

Set Your Boundaries 

Setting your boundaries can be a great way to show yourself respect. 

When you can distinguish what fuels you and what makes you feel down, you can better take steps to grow as a person.

Say No

Being a people pleaser is tough, it usually takes control out of your hands and puts it in the hands of others.

When you start saying no to things you do not what to do and start saying yes to things you do want, you can work on finding the things that make you happy or content.

Saying no is a type of boundary you can set.

Appreciate Parts of You

We tend to set unrealistic standards for ourselves in many aspects of our lives, physically, career-wise, emotionally.

Instead, try to appreciate what you are doing. If you had extra vegetables, feel content that you fueling your body well, if you exercised today, truly feel appreciation that your body was able to do so.

You can just exist and even that is enough for you to feel pride.


That is to say, apologize for the way you speak about yourself sometimes.

  • I hate my stomach
  • I wish was blonde
  • I need to work harder

Turn this to 

  • I know my body holds the food that fuels me well.
  • I don’t have to change, no one is forcing me
  • I am doing the best I can

Turn toxic thoughts into neutral thoughts. In a neutral mentality, it is easy to reach positivity.

The Takeaway

We will not always be positive and that’s okay. Practicing self-love and having high self-esteem is something everyone wants but you don’t have to feel bad for feeling bad.

Learning about self-respect and adopting a neutral stance on aspects of yourself can help you cultivate better feelings in the future.

Move from self-respect to self-care to self-love.

It’s hard to skincare routine your negative emotions away (I’ve tried!).

It might be better to learn an appreciation of your self-care acts towards self respect, not self love.

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