First of all, a disclaimer: I am by no means a licensed professional and this is all from my own personal experience. I know what you are thinking: “Lauren, what do you mean ‘how to fall in love with yourself’? Why not just say ‘love your body’ or ‘love yourself’?” These are excellent questions. First of all, these phrases imply that loving yourself is a set place that you can get to, which is just not true. Properly framing things is half of the battle. Secondly, these phrases only focus on certain elements of yourself that you can ‘improve’ instead of shifting the focus to accepting what you already have before you try to ‘fix’ yourself. Finally, these terms only focus on the end goal rather than helping you to enjoy the journey. So, strap in, smell the roses, and follow these simple steps.

how to fall in love with yourself: neon sign that says "love 24 hours"
Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash

Date Yourself

Crazy as it sounds, this is the most effective way to fall in love with yourself. Take yourself on dates, give yourself little random gifts, wear your favorite outfit and hype yourself up, buy yourself flowers, learn more about yourself, spend some alone time with yourself, etc. Any kind of relationship requires time and effort to properly forge.

Treat Yourself How You Would Like to be Treated

The golden rule applies to you just as much as it applies to others. My therapist called this “self-compassion”. You would never tell a friend half of the stuff that you tell yourself daily. When you have a negative thought ask yourself  “ Would I say this to my friend? ” For example, would you tell your friend that the project that they spent weeks on turned out awful and that they should just quit? Probably not. So why would you tell yourself that? This is one of the hardest steps in this list, so remember to be patient with yourself through this process!

Pretend You are Already in Love with Yourself

‘Fake it until you make it’ is always an effective method, but only if it is done right. You can’t go in with the expectation that you will eventually ‘make it’ by only ‘faking it’ and nothing else. You attract the energy that you put out into the world, so if you project positivity and confidence you will be more likely to become surrounded by people and environments that are supportive and helpful. Remember that ‘faking it’ is a quick fix, but not a permanent one. You have to do the heavy lifting behind the scenes.

person looking up at colorful night sky
Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Become More ‘In Tune’ with Yourself

How can you fall in love with someone you don’t even know? Learn more about yourself! Find out your likes/dislikes. Exercise. Meditate. Take silly internet quizzes like this one. It is important to check in with both your mind and your body. Instead of exercising with the purpose of ‘losing weight’ or ‘looking better’ exercise with a goal of actually being healthier or being more aware of/comfortable in your body. You’ll be amazed what your body can do if you give it a chance!

Have a Photoshoot

Okay, so hear me out on this one. I know that taking and viewing photos of yourself is the LAST thing you want to do if you are unhappy with what’s in the mirror, so bring someone else along for the ride! Put on your favorite outfit, find a fun location, and pose your heart out. Make sure that the place you are in and the person that you are with make you feel safe enough to try new things. Give yourself a space where you feel beautiful and confident, if only for a few frames. 

It might seem superficial, but there is real value in having physical evidence of times when you looked and felt your best for when you are at a lower point. It can help you acknowledge that the way you feel at a low point is not how you felt in the past and is not how you will feel in the future.

Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

You may not trust me because this is exactly what all of those white guy ‘self-help’ books say, but I promise this one works. It is cliche for a reason, okay? The best way to find out more about yourself is to try new things. You will be stuck in the same dark place you are if you are too scared to leave it. 

Start with small things: try a new food, go to one club meeting before fully committing to it, watch a show that is outside of the genres that you usually watch, listen to a new artist. My best tip for going to new events/places is to bring someone you trust with you (if possible) and to have an “escape plan” in case you truly don’t like the experience or if you bit off more than you could chew. 

vegetable train on cutting board
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Be Alone with Yourself

Now that you are comfortable with being uncomfortable, you must do the thing that many people avoid for their whole lives: be alone with yourself. I know that being alone with your thoughts can be a very scary thing, especially during a ‘rainy day’, but you have to check in with yourself from time to time. I personally try to do this once a week. No distractions, just your thoughts.
Life can get crazy, and you need to actively build time into your schedule to reflect on what has happened to you and properly process your thoughts and emotions. What good things happened recently? How did you handle a difficult situation? What can you do in the future to avoid that negative outcome? Do you like the path you are on or is it time to switch gears? What steps can you take to stay or go?

Fall in Love with Your Environment

Time to Marie Kondo this ‘falling in love with yourself’ process. Use her technique of only keeping things that spark joy in your life and surroundings. Are the people that you choose to surround yourself with nice and helpful? If not, it might be time to get rid of them. Do you like your living space? If not, switch it up as much as you can. Every situation is different, but having at least one or two things that have no purpose other than making you happy can do wonders for your mental wellbeing. 

If possible, change your environment. Go outside. Take a daytrip. Slap on a new coat of paint. Break up with them. People are often products of their environment, so try changing yourself by changing up the people and places that you see day-to-day.

Challenge Your Thoughts and Beliefs

The best way to be a well-rounded person is to experience as much diversity as you can. Genuinely listen to others and think critically about what they have to say. Talking to people that are different from you can give you valuable insight and solutions that you could have never come up with on your own. They are approaching you with experiences and thoughts that you have never, and possibly will never, encounter in your life. It also helps to know that the world is so much bigger than you and your problems. Without minimizing your issues, you can see what obstacles others have overcome and incorporate that into your strategy. You will never change if your way of thinking always stays the same.

diverse group sitting in a lecture
Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash

Remember that Loving Yourself is a Process

The most important takeaway from this is that to truly fall in love with yourself you need patience and compassion. Think more sine graph and less line graph. Everyone has their ups and downs, no matter how confident you think they are. It’s all about balance: you can’t have ups without downs, and you wouldn’t be able to tell what a good day was without bad ones. The key is being able to recognize that you are just as worthy and loveable on your rainy days as you are on your sunny ones. Remember that you are allowed to feel negative emotions at any stage and that those feelings don’t automatically erase all of the hard work that you’ve put in. Most importantly, there is no one, defined end goal. Every word you use to put yourself down and build others up is subjective, so fit your own definition. You can be cool, attractive, helpful, etc. in your own unique way!

I’m so proud of you for taking initiative! You’ve got this. Go forth and use you newfound powers for good!