If you display these 6 behaviors, you’re starting to love yourself

Have you ever caught yourself in a whirlwind of self-criticism, wondering if you’ll ever truly appreciate who you are? I’ve been there. 

For the longest time, I wouldn’t say I hated myself, but let’s just say, my inner dialogue wasn’t my biggest cheerleader. 

It took a journey of ups and downs to realize that the way I treated myself mattered. And now, looking back, I can see how far I’ve come in my journey of learning to love myself. 

This progress didn’t happen overnight, but through consistent, healthy habits. Let me share with you the 6 behaviors that signal you’re starting to love yourself.

1) Setting healthy boundaries

Boundaries are like invisible lines we draw around ourselves to protect our well-being. 

Imagine them on a spectrum: On one end, there are firm boundaries, rigid and inflexible, sometimes even tipping into unfairness. On the other, porous boundaries, where we try to assert ourselves but falter, letting others overstep. 

In the most extreme case, we find nonexistent boundaries, where the line between us and others blurs entirely. But what we should aim for is the golden mean: healthy boundaries.

It took me a long time to learn this. Through a relationships course, I realized my boundaries were porous. I set them, but they crumbled at the slightest pressure, leaving me frustrated and resentful. 

Then, I overcorrected, swinging to the other extreme with firm, inflexible boundaries. This phase, though not ideal, was still useful. It was like training wheels, helping me gain confidence and assertiveness. 

Gradually, I found my balance — establishing healthy boundaries that safeguard my needs, priorities, and values, while still being open to adaptation and healthy compromises. 

It’s a path that continues to have some bumps and sudden turns, but is super satisfying and fulfilling to walk down. 

2) Positive self-talk

My journey towards self-love hit a major roadblock in the realm of self-talk. If asked about my strengths, I could list a few, but the list of what I disliked about myself was alarmingly longer. 

I realized I was my own harshest critic, berating myself for things I would easily forgive in others. It was a sobering thought: If I had spoken to anyone else the way I spoke to myself, they wouldn’t have stuck around for long.

But obviously, you can’t escape from yourself. So this harsh inner dialogue was like a relentless shadow, damaging my self-perception and relationship with myself. 

This realization was the turning point for me: if such talk is unacceptable towards a friend, why should it be acceptable towards myself? I deserved the same love and compassion I readily offered others.

A valuable lesson from a relationship course illuminated my path further. It taught me that the goal isn’t to completely silence the negative inner voice — that’s near impossible. 

Instead, it’s about learning to recognize and acknowledge it, but then consciously choosing not to heed its destructive advice. 

It’s akin to not letting a drunk friend drive — you acknowledge their presence but don’t hand them the keys. 

Positive self-talk takes conscious effort, and like any habit, a lot of time to establish. The first great sign is that you start challenging the negative thoughts when they come up. 

3) Celebrating your achievements

When you’re too hard on yourself, it’s like wearing blinders that only reveal failures, making you your own harshest critic. 

I used to think this was having a self-improvement mindset, staying focused on what I wanted to do better at. And well, it is indeed necessary to be honest with yourself about your weaknesses. 

But being hyper-focused on them just slows you down. You become like a stern coach, rolling their eyes at every missed goal — how motivated do you think the students will be?

Even when I did achieve something, I barely paused to acknowledge it, immediately moving the goalposts to the next, loftier target.

However, as I started focusing on self-love, my perspective shifted. Celebrating my accomplishments became a newfound joy. 

It wasn’t about grand gestures like lavish dinners for every success — though that’s not a bad idea! It was more about acknowledging these victories, big or small, and allowing myself to bask in the pride of these moments. 

This practice isn’t just about giving yourself a pat on the back; it’s about recognizing your progress, valuing your efforts, and understanding that every achievement, regardless of size, deserves to be noticed.

4) Choosing instant gratification over long-term gains (sometimes!)

In the relentless pursuit of self-improvement, it’s easy to fall into the trap of living for a future that’s always just out of reach. “One day, when I’m fit, wealthy, multilingual, certified, with a house and a family, then I’ll enjoy life,” we tell ourselves. 

But these milestones can take years, even a lifetime, to achieve. And as we tick some off, the list inevitably grows.

Don’t get me wrong, striving for goals is essential. A life devoid of discipline, dedication, and incremental steps towards grand ambitions would be without purpose. 

Yet, it’s crucial not to lose sight of what we’re living for. Why postpone joy and contentment to a distant “one day”? Why not find moments of happiness along the way?

Life, as clichéd as it sounds, is indeed more about the journey than the destination. And since the journey constitutes most of our lives, it’s imperative to make it enjoyable, not a relentless grind. 

So, occasionally give yourself permission for a guilt-free indulgence. Be it a lazy nap just because, watching a movie for fun, scrolling through social media, or savoring your favorite dish at a restaurant — just do it in moderation. 

5) Dealing with past pain

Consider this: if you had a child, pet, or even a plant suffering from an ailment, you wouldn’t just stand by and watch. You’d take immediate action to alleviate their pain. This instinct to care and heal is a profound expression of love. 

With this in mind, we can understand how confronting and healing past trauma or pain is an ultimate act of self-love — though it’s often overlooked.

Many of us bury painful memories deep within, believing it’s kinder to ourselves to leave them untouched. Yet, these unresolved issues often control us subtly. 

They create triggers, evoke unexpected emotions, and influence our decisions in regrettable ways. 

Loving yourself means caring deeply about your well-being, which includes addressing and healing from things that cause you harm or pain. It’s a challenging process, no doubt, but it’s also a path to freedom and inner peace.

Healing is always possible, regardless of what has happened — I’ve found forgiveness to be one of the most powerful medicines. 

Healing can happen with the help of a therapist, or with wisely structured journal prompts and self-reflection. Remember, this is in no way a weakness — it’s recognizing that you deserve to live free from the shadows of past hurt and allowing yourself to heal and grow.

6) Cultivating a relationship with yourself

Imagine never spending quality time with a close friend and still expecting your relationship to thrive. It sounds unreasonable, right? Similarly, nurturing the relationship with ourselves is essential, yet often neglected. 

It might feel odd to consider “spending time with oneself,” but it’s not about literal solo dates or talking to your reflection (unless that’s your thing, of course!).

In the relationship course I mentioned earlier, I discovered a wonderful concept: estimable acts. These are actions that boost your self-esteem and strengthen your sense of self. 

For me, it’s journaling in a cozy setting with soothing music and flickering candles. For others, it could be listing qualities they love about themselves, practicing yoga, or cooking a favorite meal.

This practice has a beautiful side-effect: you become more comfortable with solitude. Suddenly, being alone at an event isn’t awkward but akin to sitting with a best friend.

This comfort with oneself extends to social situations, too, making interactions with others more relaxed and genuine. 

So as you can see, this self-relationship isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a cornerstone of a fulfilling, self-affirmed life.

Embracing the journey to self-love

If you’ve been tough on yourself for a long time, remember, it’s never too late to change the narrative. 

The mistakes and missteps of our past are not anchors but beacons, letting us discover (firsthand) who we don’t want to be. They empower us to make conscious choices about our future selves. 

As you start adopting these habits of self-love, understand that every step, no matter how small, is a leap towards a more compassionate and loving relationship with yourself — which also lets you be a better person to the world around you. 

Remember, you are always worthy of love, especially from the person you spend every moment with – yourself. 

Start this journey with kindness and patience, and watch as the path unfolds to a more fulfilling and self-affirming life.

Struggling to Love Yourself? This Quiz Reveals Why and Shows You How

Do you sometimes feel unworthy, flawed, or not good enough? Like you’ll never measure up no matter how hard you try?

Most of us grapple with self-doubt and low self-esteem at times. And when we don’t love ourselves, it permeates everything – our relationships, our work, our inner peace.

But why is self-acceptance so hard? And how can we move from self-judgment to self-love?

That’s what this illuminating quiz dives into. It’s designed to uncover the specific barriers holding you back from embracing who you really are.

In just a few minutes, you’ll gain priceless insight into:

  • The root insecurities driving your self-criticism
  • How past emotional wounds shaped your self-perception
  • Ways you unconsciously sabotage your happiness

With this valuable self-knowledge, you’ll be equipped to start the healing process and develop true self-love.

Stop feeling plagued by not being enough. Take the quiz now to pinpoint what’s distorting your self-image so you can reclaim your sense of self-worth.

The first step is bringing awareness to the problem. The solution will follow.

Take the quiz now.


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