99 Ways To Love Yourself A Little Better
I used to think humility as a virtue meant putting myself last. I downplayed every accomplishment, every talent, and everything that made me uniquely me. Humility meant becoming exceptionally unremarkable. It meant I needed to dislike myself.
But, surprise, that felt awful. As I got older and aged into myself, I realized that it’s okay to have a healthy sense of self-worth. In fact, the greater love I have for myself, the easier it is for me to maintain healthy habits that allow me to better serve and support my friends, coworkers, and community.
It’s not always a steady resource, though. Self-love can ebb and flow with the seasons, or with the hours of the day. It’s so easy to go into autopilot mode that we forget this is an intentional practice—I know that I’ve gained and lost my self-love many, many times throughout the past couple of years.
So here’s a list of suggestions to help you practice a little bit of love for yourself that goes beyond indulging in chocolate and flowers. What are your favorite ways to nurture your self-worth? How are you loving yourself right now? Share in the comments below. 💐
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2. Be the adult you always needed—to yourself. Tell yourself the words that a younger version of you always needed to hear, and even learn about reparenting if that’s relevant for you.
3. Put your boundaries into words like “I can do that next week” or “can you send me a few times that work for you to discuss this further?”
“Be the adult you always needed—to yourself.”
4. Learn how to physically process traumas. This book can help you get started.
5. Call your experiences what they were (and are) without sugar-coating, without minimizing them.
6. Create a playlist with a hodgepodge of your favorite songs and put it on each morning.
7. Mark notable personal days on your calendar and celebrate them in a way that makes you feel good—the first day of your dream job, the last day of a terrible job, the day you spoke up against a toxic person, or the day you learned to salsa dance.
8. Create a list of your all-time favorite movies—you know, the ones that make you most nostalgic. Allocate a few Fridays this year for you, your favorite films, and a big bowl of popcorn.
9. Similarly, listen to an album that reminds you of a specific time and place in your life. Plug in and listen to the album straight through—who were you when you fell in love with that album? Who are you now? Even if you’ve felt stagnant, you’ll see growth here. You are growing; you are going in the right direction.
10. If you have children in your life, allow yourself to recognize the things you love about them that they inherited or learned from you. Love it for both of your sakes.
11. Create a ritual that celebrates your divinity—whatever that means to you.
12. Embrace empathy for others, and release assumptions about them. This helps you do that for yourself, too.
“Admit your successes openly, out loud, to others.”
13. Carry around a poem that is meaningful to you. Re-visit it in moments of quiet or in moments of stress.
14. Thank your body for carrying you through the day. No matter what your body looks like, it is a miraculous and complex thing.
15. Do not feel pressured to pick up the phone or answer the text message until you are able to do so; you do not exist at others’ convenience.
16. Admit your successes openly, out loud, to others.
17. Envision yourself physically embracing a tender version of your past self. They have made it, to the here and now.
18. Learn a craft that uses your hands—like embroidery, ceramics, or crocheting—and freely create without a pattern or a guide. Let your hands go where they want to go, and reach for colors and textures that catch your eye.
19. Develop a set of personal policies that help you establish boundaries, such as not responding to every email, only answering phone calls during certain hours, and only accepting social invites from people who energize you and build you up.
20. Practice manifestation.
21. Determine how you best cope, de-stress, and restore yourself. Can you track it? Can you celebrate it? Can you do it more often?
22. Examine your daily routine. Is there anywhere you’re forcing yourself to suffer that you have the capability to change? This can be a pair of uncomfortable shoes, a non-essential and stressful social interaction, or skipping breakfast. You do not have to suffer at your own hand.
“Let go of the suffering you are carrying from generations before you.”
23. Let go of the suffering you are carrying from generations before you. This is difficult and can require the support of a therapist. But you do not always need to continue carrying what has been passed down to you.
24. Set up an online presence, whether a blog, portfolio, newsletter, or social media account, to showcase who you are and how you perceive your everyday. Feed it, but don’t let it consume you. Share your perspective with the world. We want to hear it.
25. Remember there is no scarcity—if someone else deserves love, it doesn’t mean that we are less worthy of that same love.
26. When you’re absorbed in gossip and hearsay about others, take inventory of what it feels like in your heart. It’s heavy, right? Turn it over in your head with compassion and use those thoughts as a lens to find what you really need right now, instead of criticizing the things that others need.
27. Tell a trusted friend your honest feelings; open up to them if you are finding it challenging to love yourself right now. Speaking difficult feelings aloud can dust the shame off of them and be the first step towards healing.
28. And uplift those same friends when they’re feeling down. Let the words of encouragement and kindness you extend to them apply to you as well.
29. Practice self-validation.
30. Self-love can mean self-control when it comes to caring for ourselves. Practice telling yourself “no.” A little self-discipline helps with balance.
“Take a vocal lesson and learn how to speak confidently about your wants and needs.”
31. Forgive yourself.
32. Forgive others, when you can. You do not need to carry the weight of what they said, did, or thought of you; that is a burden for them alone to hold.
34. Take a vocal lesson and learn how to speak confidently about your wants and needs.
35. Repeat after me: You are not broken. You are not bad. You are not broken. You are not bad.
36. Give yourself regular hugs and self-massages.
37. Engage in self-pleasure, and learn how your body enjoys (or doesn’t enjoy) sexual pleasure.
38. Give yourself permission to be sad, angry, overwhelmed, disappointed. These feelings are not failures. They are just that—feelings that are allowed to be felt.
39. Keep a self-compassion journal. Note your wins (even small ones), keep track of your proudest moments, and write down what you like most about yourself.
40. Put your skin in the sunlight. Let it drink in those rays—you deserve the warmth you receive.
41. Write a letter to your future self. What will you be proud of yourself for?
“Put your skin in the sunlight. Let it drink in those rays—you deserve the warmth you receive.”
42. Write a letter to your past self. Who were you then, and how did you overcome all you navigated to get here today?
43. Write a letter to your current self. How can you celebrate yourself?
44. Accept that medication might work for you—or maybe it won’t. Trust your gut, and trust your doctors.
45. Cancel the last item on your to-do list for the day, if you can. Go to sleep earlier than you would have otherwise; most things can wait, and your wellness does not have to be one of them.
46. Similarly, try creating a to-do list if it’s not your usual thing. One way we can care for and love ourselves is by using our time wisely and with purpose.
47. Carry a trinket that reminds you to ground yourself. This can be a small stone, a pendant necklace, a small toy, a piece of paper or fabric. Just something physical that you can pair with a reminder that you are enough as you are.
48. Nourish yourself. This doesn’t mean juice cleanses and raw everything. Feed yourself flavors that ignite your senses, and feed yourself with good friendships and encouraging media.
49. What is your roadmap out of a shame spiral? If you don’t have one, consider how you can slow down shame or self-doubt when it creeps in.
50. Go somewhere alone. Practice being alone, without your phone. Start simple with a walk around the block, and work your way up to dining alone. Then take a trip to the movie theater solo. It is okay to be one-on-one with yourself.
51. Create a script for yourself when negative thoughts sneak in. My favorites are simple: “you are okay,” “you are safe,” “you’ve been here before, and better lies beyond.”
52. Or, whenever you’re feeling self-critical, gracefully reframe your thoughts. Instead of “I am a mess,” consider saying, “I am excited to learn more about organizing myself in a way that works for me.”
53. Yep, I’m going to say it: Dance like nobody’s watching. Dancing is a great way to get in touch with ourselves, and listening to music we love can uplift and encourage us through the coming days.
54. Do you know your personal values? Here are some journal prompts to help you figure them out; use these to help you create self-care habits that support what’s most important to you.
55. Pick out a soothing scent you love and wear it on your best days like graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, or other happy personal events. Later, when you may be feeling down on yourself you can spritz that same perfume and take a few moments to practice gratitude and invite a smile.
56. Practice loving kindness meditation. Love and kindness for ourselves and for others are intertwined.
57. Wear clothing that you like, in the way you like. You do not need permission from others to dress colorfully, to dress in monochrome, or to dress modestly or not. It is okay to follow your heart when you’re building your wardrobe.
58. Journal out the affirmations and words of support you’d like to hear right now from your friends, family, partners. Practice saying them out loud to yourself.
“Create a script for yourself when negative thoughts sneak in.”
59. Regularly move your body through exercise or stretching—however works and feels best for you.
60. Allow yourself to splurge now and again, as means allow. Book yourself a facial, buy the local coffee beans, indulge in the fancy bath salts.
61. Be kind to yourself by working through one challenge at a time. The path to self-love is not direct, and setbacks will happen. One step at a time, and be gentle with yourself if you ever feel like you’ve failed.
62. And don’t forget to celebrate the little wins! Lacing up your shoes and leaving the house may not feel like a big win to some, but for others, it is monumental. Be your own cheerleader.
63. Swap your phone for an alarm clock; your morning routine will thank you.
64. Schedule self-encouragement emails that you can send to yourself for when you most need a pick-up during the week.
65. It’s okay to invest in your health and wellness and to find the physicians that most care for you and you feel comfortable with. If funds or insurance coverage allow, visit the chiropractor, physical therapist, or acupuncturist to help you feel your very best.
66. Meet yourself where you are at—and work with what you have. Focus on the strengths you have at your disposal and not on characteristics that you believe are “flaws.”
67. Invest in your home and your routines if resources allow—instead of disposable items, opt for reusable, and go for quality instead of cheap, ineffective products. You deserve goods that work.
“Schedule self-encouragement emails.”
68. Look at your budget (or create one). Get familiar with your wiggle room, if any, and start practicing things like saving for your future self or allotting yourself a weekly allowance for small luxuries. Knowing what resources you have can be grounding, especially in rockier times.
69. Get comprehensive bloodwork done at your next physical exam. Discuss the results with your doctor and create a physical self-care plan informed directly by your specific needs.
70. Create a resume of everything you’re proud of—not just of the jobs you’ve held, or projects you’ve completed, or degrees you’ve earned. Document for yourself the days where you didn’t give up, the moments you asked for help, the times you spoke up for change. This resume may not land you a job, but it’ll remind you of your humanity and progress when you’re having a rough time.
71. Learn to take responsibility for your mistakes. Admit them honestly to yourself and to others without forcing excuses, especially when it comes to people you love.
72. Self-deprecating jokes can help us not take ourselves so seriously. But you don’t have to internalize them. Work on recognizing when you’re perpetuating negative self-talk through your humor.
“Look back at old photos and speak kindly of your past self. ”
73. Likewise, don’t jump on the “self-deprecation” bandwagon. When a friend is expressing something they dislike about themselves, you don’t have to affirm that critique. Practice building them up—and yourself, while you’re at it.
74. Examine your ego and your intuition, and learn when your gut is leading you in the right direction—and when ego refuses to allow you to do what you know to be right.
75. Take selfies for no one but your future self. Revel in documenting your life as it is.
76. Look back at old photos and speak kindly of your past self. Conjure up happy memories from when the photo was taken, if they’re available.
77. Sometimes self-love looks like getting out of your own head. Spend some time in service of others and reflect on how that impacts the way you’re feeling.
78. Practice self-talk in the mirror. Introduce yourself as you want to be introduced: with self-respect, affirming language, and confidence.
79. Give meaning to mundane daily practices. For example, when you add creamer to your coffee, remind yourself it’s because you enjoy the richness it brings to your morning. Or when you apply facial oil, remind yourself it’s because your body deserves to glow. Self-love can look like everyday habits, practiced with presence.
“Self-love can look like everyday habits, practiced with presence.”
80. Get lost in thought, and don’t judge where it takes you! Just let your mind flow freely.
81. If you’re feeling envious of others, or find yourself in a comparison trap, consider what it is about that person’s life you find appealing. Simplify it, and simplify it again. Maybe it’s security, support, or loving relationships. How can you offer those things to yourself, even if it’s only in small ways?
82. Read a (fiction or nonfiction) book about someone who is similar to you and whose values you admire. Envision how that character might love themselves—and build that up for yourself.
83. If you grew up with bedtime stories, try reading to yourself again. Find a new children’s book (like Karen Beaumont’s “I Like Myself”) to read aloud in bed or listen to an audio story as you fall asleep.
84. Decorate your home and body in ways that feel authentic to you. You do not need to bend to the trends, unless you like them.
85. Cut down on social media or influencer accounts you follow that make you feel “less than.” Instead, look for inspiration and encouragement; or, if you’re having trouble finding it, allow yourself to let go of your Instagram, your Twitter, your TikTok. Your world will continue, and you will not be forgotten, I promise.
86. Keep a folder on your desktop that documents compliments you’ve received from others. Screenshot the praise you receive for a job well done, love notes, and encouraging text messages. Revisit it when you’re having a difficult day.
“Cook yourself a meal. Offer it up to yourself as a service to your body, mind, and heart.”
87. Cook yourself a meal. Offer it up to yourself as a service to your body, mind, and heart—you are deserving of a warm homemade meal. You are worthy of the rich aromas of your favorite spices.
88. Plan a vacation for yourself. It could be a “someday” vacation or one officially on the books. If you can’t do this right now, plan an afternoon for yourself. You are someone who deserves structure, who deserves having good things to look forward to.
89. Find things that make you laugh, and spend time allowing yourself to do so. Podcasts, comic strips, movies, and even sketches on YouTube all offer a reminder that there are things worth smiling about.
90. Crying is okay, too—the physical release of letting out your tears can calm us and relax us during times of stress. Allow yourself compassion and softness, and make some hot cocoa.
91. Stay home. If the outside world is too much today, stay put.
92. Or, go out. If your internal world is too much today, enlist a friend and engage in a positive distraction like dinner and a movie, dancing, or a study date at the library.
93. Self-love doesn’t always happen in quiet moments alone. It can look like taking up physical space on the sidewalk, speaking up for ourselves, or singing along at a concert.
94. Have you messed up the same way a thousand times? Me too. Have patience with yourself. Be firm in your growth and your values, but also allow for error. We are all just messy people trying our best at the end of the day.
“Be firm in your growth and your values, but also allow for error.”
95. Write it out: Who are you beyond your job, beyond your family role, beyond your age? While we can’t always extricate ourselves from these identities, we can journal through our thoughts on who we are before all the additional layers get added. (The enneagram is a nice way to help frame things up—but even then, we are more than our number).
96. When I’m feeling low, I imagine myself as a strange creature that’s been entrusted to my care. (It can sometimes help to get out of our heads and tend to our physical needs first.) Feed yourself fruits and veggies, fix yourself a cold glass of water, wrap your body in blankets.
97. Self-love can look like knowing when to move on. If your gut is telling you to quit a job, leave a relationship, or stop a specific habit, listen to it. Ends are just boundaries in disguise.
98. Self-love can look like beginnings, too. Start those things that fear would have you avoid; permit yourself to live your life in the way that only you can. Say yes to the date, accept a challenging new role, embrace a new routine. Beginnings are boundaries, too, but with hope and optimism for what lies ahead.
99. Finally, the fact you’ve read this far shows me you want to love yourself better. Embrace that, accept that, and acknowledge that you are worthy of a healthy and fulfilling relationship with yourself.
Emily Torres is the Editorial Director at The Good Trade. Born and raised in Indiana, she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her in her colorful Los Angeles apartment journaling, caring for her rabbits, or gaming.