10 Signs You Need To Practice More Self-Love.

2022-12-08T10:33:37-07:00November 29th, 2020|

A deep inner peace arises when we learn that self-love is the key to all that we long for in life.

Many women turn their backs on self-love because they don’t want to appear selfish, self-centred, or self–absorbed.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that putting others first and meeting others’ needs is kind and compassionate and that if we spend too much time focusing on ourselves, we’re selfish.

At an intellectual level, we may believe that self-love is important, but at a subconscious level, we have barriers preventing us from practicing self-love.

If we believe that loving ourselves is essential, we find it almost impossible to act in self-loving ways. Come to think of it, most of us don’t even know what self-love looks or feels like.

I have the privilege of teaching meditation and mindfulness to women. I began to see a pattern that seemed to be the norm for most women. Many of us have a difficult time loving ourselves. This lack of self-love causes all sorts of problems in our lives that we attempt to fix by manipulating our external circumstances.

Most of us aren’t aware that to have the relationships, health, prosperity, contentment, and peace of mind we desire, we MUST first learn to love ourselves. We must love ourselves, not because we want to be selfish, but because we want to be whole.

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, known for his bestselling writing on mindfulness and peace, put it this way:

If we do not know how to take care of ourselves and to love ourselves, we cannot take care of the people we love. Loving oneself is the foundation for loving another person.

Doing the work to heal whatever needs to be healed to love oneself fully is the greatest thing we can do for others and ourselves.

I find it helpful to think of self-love as a way of being that honours the deeper essence of our souls.

It’s often easier to identify what a lack of self-love looks like in our lives and then build from there.

What does a lack of self-love look like in our lives?

  1. Saying “yes” when you want to say “no” or feeling guilty when you DO say “no.”
  2. Anger, resentment, anxiety, stress, jealousy, and excessive worry.
  3. Tolerate and accept being treated poorly by others.
  4. Putting the needs of others before your own.
  5. Keeping yourself so busy you don’t have to spend time with yourself.
  6. Hanging out with people leaves you feeling drained.
  7. Taking on other people’s problems as if they’re your own and feeling you need to solve them.
  8. A pattern of unhealthy relationships where you lose your sense of “self.”
  9. An illness that can be either physical or emotional.
  10. Going with the flow at the expense of what your wants, needs, and dreams are.

I’ve come to understand that we can’t love others or show genuine compassion when we haven’t done our work. When we haven’t done the job and moved into a place of self-love, our demonstrations of love are made to fill ourselves up and have everything to do with us and very little with the other person.

I love Maya Angelou’s quote:

“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me ‘I love you.’… There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”

Instead of looking at self-love as selfishness or being self-centred, we can view it as the most loving thing we can do.

People that love themselves don’t enter into relationships for others to fill up their love tank. Their love tank is already complete, and they can express genuine love and compassion for others from a place of wholeness.

Practicing self-love isn’t easy. It requires being honest about our beliefs, behaviours, and relationships.

It requires a lot of reflection and a conscious commitment to changing beliefs and patterns that are firmly established. It’s challenging because, at some level, many of us believe that we are better people for putting others first.

Self-love is recognizing and believing that when we put ourselves first, it doesn’t mean we’re putting others second.

One of my clients asked a compelling question: “If we’re not full of self-love, what are we full of?”

I daresay that many of us are full of guilt, anger, resentment, regrets, sadness, and countless misbeliefs about how we should be.

Self-love is a daily practice that can be cultivated. It creates a ripple of healing, and then slowly, over time, we grow into a loving way of being and come to believe we are worthy of our love. A belief that penetrates every corner of our lives, leaving us feeling alive, nourished, and connected with ourselves, others, and our life’s purpose.

The first and most crucial step in the journey toward self-love is self-awareness.

Are you able to look in the mirror every morning when you wake up and say, “I love you…?” If you find this difficult, you are not alone. Many healthy and prosperous women I work with have a hard time with this one.

The following is a great TED Talk by Shauna Shapiro, “The Power of Mindfulness: What You Practice Grows Stronger.”

At the end of the video, Dr. Shapiro invites us to put our hands on our hearts and say, “I love you.” I have also found it powerful to add-“I am enough” at the end of the “I love you.”

It’s amazing how incredibly freeing and nourishing it feels to know that we are enough, worthy, and loved just the way we are.

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About the Author:

Bev's a former nurse turned certified meditation teacher, coach and author who serves clients in Calgary, AB and beyond who need tools to be resilient and live healthier, happier and more fulfilled lives. Bev's taught and coached individuals and groups a transformative and holistic approach to meditation and mindfulness since 2014. Bev's on a mission to share knowledge, inspiration and practical tools to alleviate the widespread unnecessary stress and suffering so many are feeling and to support human flourishing. Bev's the author of Awakening a Woman's Soul: The Power of Meditation and Mindfulness to Transform Your Life.


  1. Arne K Jessen May 18, 2021 at 12:24 am - Reply

    In the older black Lutheran hymnal self-love was confessed as a sin before communion. i wrote a Master’s Thesis in 1964 on “Sermons and Selfconcepts” for Luther Semina;ry. Augustine, Martin Luther and other theologians confused self-love and selfishness teaching they were the same when in fact they are opposites. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Frued said if we did that we would kill our neighbor. Such are the distortions of earlier times. Thanks for new reseasrch and thinking.

    • Bev Janisch May 18, 2021 at 1:19 pm - Reply

      Hi Arne,
      Your Master’s Thesis sounds fascinating and very significant in highlighting the confusion between “self-love and selfishness.” Thank you for drawing our attention to this very important distinction and as you say distortions arising from earlier times. This is SO vital for our healing, growth and transformation. I love how you included Freud’s perspective. In deep gratitude, Bev.

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