The journey to self-love was not an easy one. It’s not something you can just look in the mirror and say “I love myself fully.” And then you expect it to be over with. How I learned to love myself took a couple of months of fully focusing on it.
It’s a longer process and most times it takes trial and error. There will be days you look in the mirror and think you look horrible. There will also be days when you feel like the imposter in the room and miss out on opportunities that could’ve helped you get further in life.
In this list, I go over the things that I did a few years ago that helped me to become my best self and stop caring about what others thought of me.
How did I learn to love myself in one summer?
1. Become comfortable with rejection
A lot of us who have self-love issues have a fear of rejection. We think of what does this person think of me? Do they find me weird? Am I a failure?
After always being rejected by my peers, I felt further pushed out into the middle of nowhere. I had a difficult time grasping that not everyone is going to like me. It felt like barely anyone liked me.
I was just some nobody that no one wanted to hang out with. Boring and overlooked. It stung so bad when people would leave me out of the group. I assumed everything in my head about what they thought of me.
Where did I belong? When would I ever have a true friend who cared about me as much as I cared about them? I was tired of people walking all over me.
And that was the reason why I had a hard time learning self-love. I focused too much on other people and not myself.
Becoming my own best friend was what I needed.
2. Go on a Mini Solo Vacation
Solo travel was not something I was expecting to do at all anytime soon. It just happened. I was busy with student clubs and couldn’t go to a BTS concert (yes I am an ARMY!).
So I did something crazy and booked a flight from Oakland, CA to Chicago without telling my parents.
That was the craziest, most unusual thing I did up until that point. I stayed there for 4 days and 3 nights. It was the first time I took a plane by myself. I had only traveled by plane round trip once with a family member.
My plane was hit by lightning, I transferred at Las Vegas and then went to Chicago. This was all about a week and a half before college graduation. I traveled all over Chicago and figured out things all on my own.
It was the first time I was on the other side of the US and I didn’t know anyone. I had to learn how to get around by myself, how to have fun on my own, and ponder on my own thoughts for the whole trip.
3. Go on a Major Solo Vacation
I left the country for the first time by myself a month after my mini solo vacation. I went all the way to South Korea for 7 weeks! You should travel as much as you can when life is normal again.
I studied abroad in South Korea and tried to make friends. It was really hard and I was rejected again by a group of fake friends. So what did I do? I decided to spend the rest of my time focused on myself and be VERY selective in who I hung out with.
I traveled to all of the places you normally go to with a group of friends. At first it was intimidating because I was the only one by myself, but after a while I was smiling and laughing so much more than when I was with others.
Now I am not afraid to go anywhere by myself and wait for no one when I want to go out and have fun.
Solo travel is one of the top things I recommend for women to learn to love themselves. It’s so empowering when you realize you are in full control of your decisions and can enjoy life even by yourself.
4. Keep your friend group small
If there’s one thing I learned is that most young people don’t seek out real, authentic relationships and try to fit in with the cool crowd. As you get older, you start to get tired of these types of people and want to just hold onto the real friends.
When you have great friends, it makes the whole self-love process way easier. I started to shed away people that didn’t put any effort into maintaining the friendship and redirect all that energy back to myself. It was the first time I saw how much love I gave.
One great friend who’s frequently there to support you and gives back as much as you give is better than 10 fake friends who only come to you when they need something.
Now I now exactly how to set boundaries so I don’t get taken advantage of anymore.
5. Set clear boundaries
One of the first things in how I learned to love myself was to set boundaries in the areas I was weak in. For me, it was my friendships.
Other areas you can set boundaries in are your finances, your family, your romantic relationships, your career, etc.
Start prioritizing yourself more and treating yourself how you treat others. You have to start learning how to not be a people pleaser. Most people could care less how you feel.
At the end of the day, you are the main person that takes care of yourself. Learn how to say no when you’re burnt out or when someone is just using you.
6. Redirect your love back to yourself
Instead of spending so much time trying to get people to like me and want to hang out with me, I started redirecting my focus to getting myself to like me.
How can I expect others to like me and make high quality friendships when I don’t even like myself? I kept attracting low quality friendships because I viewed myself as low quality.
Once I shifted my mindset and filled my own cup first without relying on others for my happiness was when I started attracting real friends.
Spend time alone, take yourself out on dates, do everything you ever wanted to do by yourself. I’ve learned so much about my needs and wants by really focusing on it.
That was how I learned to love myself inside out.
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7. Remember that haters are projecting their insecurities onto you
I remember being told to not smile because I looked ugly when I was in high school by one of my friend’s friends. I watched as my friend turned into someone else that was cruel. They went on to not only attack my character, but also picking at my other friends.
Years later my former friend apologized to my other friend and said she was projecting her insecurities about herself onto her. There is so much hate everywhere in toxic friend groups, families, at work and on social media.
You have to learn how to block it out and not take it personally which is not an easy thing to do at first. But overtime, you’ll begin to realize that only you know yourself best. What is true and what is not.
What one person doesn’t love about you, another one will totally hype you up for. Everyone has their own opinions and you should value your opinions about yourself above others.
8. Be your own cheerleader
Before, I used to hate looking at myself in the mirror, I didn’t want to go out there and make new friends, or take on challenging leadership opportunities at work for fear of being judged.
I always focused on my flaws and thought everyone could see them. That was just my own inner critic.
I started being my own cheerleader and gave myself a pep talk every day as if I was my own counselor. This single-handedly was the best thing to boost my self-confidence. When I can hype myself up without relying on anyone else to do it for me.
I now don’t need anyone else to help me become more confident because I can do it myself. Self-reliance is so important when learning to love yourself. It’s great to ask for help, but you have to push yourself to stand up when there’s no one around to help you.
These are some of the top steps in how I learned to love myself. Your own self-love journey can look different. What’s important is journaling everything, getting inspiration and writing down ideas to make changes in your life.
Self-love can be difficult, but it is possible for anyone to be able to love themselves. Keep trying and surround yourself with people you aspire to be like and will uplift you.
What do you need to work on to develop self-love?