How to Cultivate and Nurture Self Love – Self Love Story

“My primary relationship is with myself – all others are mirrors of it. As I learn to love myself, I automatically receive the love and appreciation that I desire from others. If I am committed to myself and to living my truth, I will attract others with equal commitment.”~Shakti Gawain, Reflections in the Light

Self love is at the very core of wellbeing, joy, self-empowerment, and your ability to create and enjoy the kind of life you want. You cannot enjoy happiness if you are not at peace with yourself. Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you’ll ever have.

From the spiritual perspective, it is by turning your attention inward to yourSelf that you are able to experience your connection with Life, with God, with All That Is.

From the human perspective, every relationship you ever have with someone else exactly mirrors one or more aspects of the relationship you have with yourself.

Yet, how often have you heard yourself say, “I am my own worst enemy”? If your goals involve raising your confidence, ending depression, moving beyond diets or overeating behaviors, or just plain wanting to live a happier, fulfilled life, you have to know what self-love looks like. Learn how to define self-love and then how to bring it into your own life!

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” ~Oscar Wilde
Love is a mystery and not easily definable. However, it does have certain characteristics. Self-love is a consuming passion for your own happiness. It is an ongoing choice you make to be glad to alive, here on Earth, in your own body.

Self-love occurs when you decide who you are and what you want is important. It is an inner state of being which develops as you decide it is all right to build a kind, sensuous, and meaningful partnership with your self. Self-love involves deciding to connect with your dreams and then supporting yourself with encouraging thoughts and empowering self-supportive actions.

My Self Love Story: 21, lost in the middle of nowhere, I discovered positivity. Surrounded amidst crowds, I began loving myself. As I began my spiritual journey many years back, I came to the conclusion that I did not ‘need’ anything except love to survive. I had long given up on material and superficial wants. Its during this time that I began rekindling and acting on my passion to help people. I started doing a lot of charity work, social work…I just let myself be immersed in the crowd. At one such place, while I was playing with a few kids at an orphanage, a little girl came up to me and said, “Didi(means big sister in hindi) you are so nice. I feel very loved when you come over to play with us. Where do you get so much love from?”(this conversation took place in hindi, am translating it here). The little girls question got me thinking…and made me realize that I had infact began loving myself, compared to how much I was blaming myself a few years back. That love although a Divine blessing, had helped me inturn love so many more. My own self had bloomed at this realization…after which my own little love affair with myself and the world continues to this day. Very happily so 🙂

How I Define Self-Love?
Self-love is not so much a feeling as it is a decrease of self-doubt and self-disapproval. It involves an ever-growing sense of balance and belonging. Respect, responsibility for self, and feeling good are important values. Self-love means that your well-being matters to yourself unconditionally and in practical terms.

The following are some characteristics of self-loving people:

  • Self-loving people focus on feeling good.
  • Self-loving people allow themselves to be happy and to share this with others.
  • Self-loving people tend to treat themselves well.
  • They see enjoyment of life as a primary goal most of the time.
  • They do not remain in mistreatment by others.
  • They are caring towards others. (Because it feels good to do so).
  • They put themselves first.
  • They find a thought that feels good, and practice it.
  • They let themselves succeed.

My Basic Principles of Self Love

  • Who you are is more important than what you are.
  • You are valuable. Nothing can change that.
  • What you want always matters.

How to Cultivate and Nurture Self Love?
Increasing your love of self involves an intention to become more self-loving and then following up this intention with reinforcing actions. An intention involves a conscious decision to be happier and more fulfilled in your own life. You make a new decision to be alive . . . and then accept personal responsibility to make your life a better, more enjoyable experience. It may take considerable effort to pry yourself out of a life that feels less than joyful, but it is entirely possible to have the kind of life you want for yourself.

Below are some practical ideas of how to begin expanding your love of self:

  • Acknowledge and verbally praise yourself.
  • Have fun more often.
  • Learn new ways to relax and release tension.
  • Practice conscious, deep, full-bodied breathing several times each day.
  • Think inspiring thoughts.
  • Instead of always focusing on the problem, decide to focus on desired outcomes.
  • Fill your life with beauty, such as times of silence, beautiful flowers.
  • Raise your confidence by taking daily small, achievable actions steps that support your goal.
  • Acknowledge your efforts and your successes.
  • Reward yourself daily.
  • Listen to your intuition and then follow it.
  • Let yourself succeed.
  • Nurture yourself by imagining desired outcomes to life’s situations.
  • Offer yourself affection in many, many different ways.
  • Choose to think thoughts that bring inner peace (rather than worry).
  • Remember and feel gratitude.

Love may be a mystery. The good news is that the art of increasing self-love is not so mysterious. In fact, it is something you can learn through knowledge and practice. Imagine your self-love as a seed inside of you. Even if it is just a tiny, unnourished, seed right now, you have the ability to grow that seed into something spectacular. The growth of your self-love is not going to happen overnight. However, by taking certain actions, your seed will most assuredly grow. Today, make a commitment to yourself to nurture your inner seed of love. Ask yourself, “How can I be more loving to myself today?” Use your imagination and come up with several possibilities. Then, follow through with your thoughts and put them into action. Do this every day, and watch as you begin to create the loving life you truly deserve.

What are YOUR thoughts about Self Love? How do YOU cultivate and nurture Self Love? Do you have any thoughts to share on this very loving topic? Share your loving thoughts in the comments below. Please do share this article on your favorite social networks…the more people who know and can cultivate self love the more healed will our planet be.

Enjoyed reading my story of self-love?  Well, there’s more! You can also read the rest of the stories written by online personal development bloggers in a Self Love Stories Report. Evelyn Lim started the ball rolling by sharing her story in the post Self Love Story: Lessons from the Heart She had written it in response to an intuitive call to create greater Self Love Awareness.  The report, compiled with the help of Lance Ekum, will be available as a free download soon!”

With Immense Love & Gratitude,
Counseling Psychologist/Spiritual Counselor
Motivational Speaker/Naturopath

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33 thoughts on “How to Cultivate and Nurture Self Love – Self Love Story

  1. Salaams,
    This is one of your best posts! 🙂 I particularly liked the definition “Self-love is not so much a feeling as it is a decrease of self-doubt and self-disapproval. It involves an ever-growing sense of balance and belonging.”

    1. W salaams M!
      When you stop by to comment I know this one is a good one 🙂 I’m so glad you liked my thoughts and experiences on self love.
      Thank you so much for your encouraging comment.
      Much Love~

  2. Zeenat,
    I loved this article!
    Especially this part: Imagine your self-love as a seed inside of you. Even if it is just a tiny, un-nourished, seed right now, you have the ability to grow that seed into something spectacular.

    How true your words are! I love the image of seed growing inside that can become “something spectacular!”

    We do need to slow down and focus on how we’re nourishing ourselves. Self care and self love isn’t so much about manicures, pedicures and massages (although that’s a nice treat once in a while) but about the things we do on a daily basis for ourselves. What are we putting into our minds? What are we allowing into our consciousness? What are we putting into our body? Are honoring ourselves as much as we might honor and respect others, or do we tend to skimp there?

    Thank you for this beautiful and insightful article.

    Thank you so much for linking to my post too!
    Much love to you,

    1. HI Angela,
      You know, I know people who can be so into the whole manicure pedicure etc routine…almost like clockwork, but when it comes to their lives, its a total mess. Like you said its ok to indulge in the external, but that really cant give you lasting happiness. The main indulgence is indeed self care and self love. When you love yourself..there is a certain glow about you that no amount of external facials can bring…right 🙂
      I love your writing Angela, so linking to it comes naturally. I just know my blogs readers will love your work too.
      Thank you fro your beautiful comment here.
      Much Love~

  3. Hi Zeenat,

    I agree fully with this line, “Self love is at the very core of wellbeing, joy, self-empowerment, and your ability to create and enjoy the kind of life you want.” Self love is the very foundation upon which our personal development is build on. If our foundation and self love is weak, we will not get very far with our development as we will constantly sabotage ourselves through our actions and choices.

    I especially love your points on how to cultivate and nurture self-love. Many of us are unsure of how to do this and it is not always as simple as saying “I must love myself more.” For me, I nurture my self-love through acceptance of myself as a whole and doing all I can to grow in wisdom and experience. I believe that self-love is about making choices that are beneficial to me while avoiding choices that harm me. This could be as simple as eating right and exercising to not letting the criticisms of others affect my self-confidence by thinking for myself and forming my own conclusions. If indeed there is merit in the criticism, I focus on the solution and adjust my actions. After all, self-love is about constant improvement and there is no room for an inflated ego.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article! 🙂

    Irving the Vizier

    1. Hi Vizier,
      Acceptance of self is such a pivotal part of Self Love. I’m glad you ‘know’ how to love yourself….I’ll bet it wasn’t easy coming to this place, but its worth the effort na.
      Reading your words here I feel like you have such a beautiful grip on your self….
      Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts here…and so glad you liked this article.
      Much Love~

  4. Rand


    What a fantastic post!

    The structure in itself is something else!

    Much like the flow of Life…

    I am reminded about all the many people that I personally got to know in their homes during the last chapter of their lives. By the means of my work for over thirty years, I listened to and asked questions during the course of countless hours about the events these people lived. From the Victorian era and onward. These elderly people all experienced many of the same trials of life…the same World events.

    When I close my eyes in silence and bring up the faces of some of these people I can see both happy contentment and un-happy bitterness. *Remember*…’many of the same trials of life…the same World events’.

    “Self Love” is the inner force that carried the ‘happily contented’ elderly person before my questioning mind. “Self Love” also helped to preserve a gracious contentment that radiated their face for their final days and hours.

    For the most part this held true. But to be fully truthful I do have to mention that a few ‘contented’ were given something horrific to deal with during the very last years of their lives. I did not see much that could be done for their understandable pain but prayer.

    “For the Grace of God go I”.

    Your statement:

    ■Who you are is more important than what you are.

    “The Greatest” gave us a living example with selfless true conviction.

    My sincere thanks for this post, comments, and wonderful links…

    1. HI rand,
      Your comment simply blew me away! Thank you so much for sharing such beautiful wisdom with me here. I truly appreciate your input on the beautiful topic of self love and am happy you liked this article, but happier that you are very beautifully putting it into application.
      You truly do Know who you are…..thats a beautiful heart!
      Much Love~

  5. Zeenat,
    As I sit here today, I soak up the love you share so freely. And the truth is, the love you share…it has very much started with you…loving you…first. When we start from within, and love us, the love we share outwardly is just so genuine and real.

    Zeenat, you are a gift…and that all starts with this gift of love you have given yourself.

    Much, much love to you,

    1. Hi Lance,
      You bring me to tears with your words..thank you! You see in me which you completely reflect from you 🙂
      You are very much love in actions too.
      Thank you fro this beautiful comment.
      Much Love~

  6. Hi Z,

    This is one of my favorite posts too! Self-love is a topic that’s bubbling in my mind of late. You have so clearly defined it and give us the step-by-step path to accomplishing it. I loved the image of the seeds and the photo you used to illustrate. You are so right that self-love doesn’t happen overnight, but all these baby-steps will accumulate together to make it flourish in one’s life.

    1. Hi Sandra,
      You know most people want to reach that place of love or peace “fast”! There is no shortcut…but yes, gentle baby steps can certainly do the job…and the process is in fact more enriching.
      When you say you like a post….I’m almost ecstatic , cause you’re such a fabulous writer yourself. Thank you!
      Lots of love~

  7. Zeenat,

    I love this post! I often think about self-love too. I love how you describe it here: “Self-love is not so much a feeling as it is a decrease of self-doubt and self-disapproval.”

    That is so true! It is not going mad or lusting after yourself. Rather, it seems to be a sense of balance and purpose. When you have those, you will not let yourself stay in a destructive environment. You will see that it is bad for your health and purpose, and will leave. I love your practical ideas too, I will have to keep them in mind. Thank you!

    1. Hi Lynn,
      I like how you put it..”It is not going mad or lusting after yourself. Rather, it seems to be a sense of balance and purpose.” Infact the first part of this sentence brought a smile to my face cause this is the image most people get when we tell them to love them self…but in reality its completely a purposeful experience.
      I’m glad you liked and enjoyed this post. Thank you for your lovely comment here.
      Much Love~

    1. Hi Mikey,
      Well my dear brother…I’m so so glad this served as something to positively nudge you. Thank you fro your lovely comment here.
      Much Love~

  8. I immediately thought of two things. One is the Pogo cartoon where Pogo says, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” And second, the safety instructions given by flight attendants, telling us to put on our own oxygen mask before helping others. Great post full of great advice. Thank you.

    1. HI Galen,
      What a wonderful train of thought you have my dear! I loved both your thoughts..and rightly so. Thinking of ourself first is not selfish, but is required so that we may actually be of help to others.
      Thank you for your lovely comment here.
      Much Love~

  9. This is your best post ever and I must return to read it more than once. You continue to amaze me with your wisdom. Learning to practice self love is not easily accomplished. I used to judged myself harshly when I wasn’t really acauqinted with “me”. Like you I believe the art of loving yourself begins with self-acceptance. You begin loving yourself when you stop rejecting yourself, especially on the emotional level. I’m learning the importance of self-approval. I do love myself but I need more practice — much more practice.
    Love and peace with with you always,

    1. Hi Titi,
      Am so happy you liked this post!
      You know the more i think about self love, the more I tell people to love themselves….the more happier and content I feel. It has this superb effect.
      We are all works i progress TiTi…..the acknowledgment of that in itself is a big big step towards healing completely.
      Thank you for your precious comment here.
      So Much Love~

  10. Sue Alexander > Inspired Type

    Thank you for this brilliant loving post. I read this on Friday and it lit me up with energy… it builds up my fire inside to be everything I envision for my beautiful life! I am every day growing in self-love and acceptance, and you have given me the extra reinforcement that I need. I love reading your posts Zeenat! :~D

    1. Hi Sue,
      How marvelous to see you here.
      So Glad you liked this post and that it provided the positive nudge 🙂
      Thank you for your lovely compliments and comment.
      Much Love~

  11. Hi Zeenat,

    Wonderful story about self love. We can’t love others if we don’t love oursevles my friend. We have to practice kindness with ourselves. One of the best things I like to do is get closer to God. The closer i get, the more love I feel for my self (and others). Thanks for sharing Zeenat! Excellent post 🙂

    1. HI Dia,
      Glad you liked the story. Kindness to self is so so important. I’m so glad you brought that up here. God always knows how o stir us int he right direction na 🙂
      Thank you for your lovely comment here dia!
      Much Love~

  12. Dear Zeenat,

    This is such an important and often downplayed topic…one I know I could definitely use some improvement in. After all, we are typically our own worst critics.

    I absolutely loved the story you shared! It was amazing how intuitive the little girl was…that she could feel the love coming from you. I think that is definitely how you are as well…which is just so incredible…to still look out on the world with the eyes of innocence and love. You are able to see and feel the love in others, even without meeting them in person! Every time I visit your site or get a message from you, I can’t help be feel completely enveloped in the love you so freely share. I’m not really sure how you do it, but it’s such a tremendous gift. You are Robin Easton are very much alike in that respect. I know that is something that is probably deep at the core of who you are, but I hope it’s something I can cultivate as well. I would love to be able to make people feel how you feel, and I think you are absolutely right…I have to start with myself.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this…and for always reigning me back in with love. 🙂

    1. Hi Adrienne,
      You floor me with your wonderful words and loving compliments 🙂 Thank you! My god its an honor to be compared to Robin….she is like my loving older sister. If I can be half as loving as her…I think I would consider myself set in the love department 🙂
      I’m so glad you liked this little story…and you that little girl from the orphanage is now married with her own little family, little world she has created for herself….and so happy.
      Thank you again for your amazing comment here…I think i have read it a 100 times…..and everytime I feel sooooooooooooooooo…good after reading it.
      Youre a doll.
      Love of love~

  13. Hi Zeenat,

    Just beautiful! I love articles that celebrate love. 🙂 Self-love very important because that’s where it all begins. Once the cultivate and connect with the love that we are, we can allow this love to flow effortless into the world and unto others. That’s our gift to the world.
    Thanks for your loving attitude. Blessings

    1. Hi Andrea,
      Youre so right….!! It is our gift to the world. How beautifully put.
      Thank you for your amazing comment here.
      Much Love~

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