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Amp Up Your Self-Love: 7 Tools to Feel Great about You

“If you make friends with yourself you will never be alone.” ~Maxwell Maltz

I’ve always been a rebel—independent, and a bit of a loner. I’ve prided myself on self-sufficiency. I like to do things my own way, and I don’t care for unrequested input (to put it mildly!).

I’ve been self-employed since I was 22 in a profession it can be tough to make a living in. In large part, I’ve been successful because of my ability to care for and emotionally support myself.

For me, this self-love has served my goal of doing what I want to do with my life, regardless of whether I have any support from the outside world or not.

Despite all the practice, I don’t fully have this self-love thing down. It’s an ongoing project, and some days are better than others. On the not-so-fab days, I’ve got some techniques I use to up the ante on feeling great about me.

1. Make a list of your accomplishments.

I guarantee there have been many. Nobel prize nominations are not required. The fact that you bake amazing pies or are the person your friends always call when they want a sympathetic ear are great examples; so are getting a degree or knowing how to change your car’s oil.

Refer to this list when you are feeling not so special. Soak in all the cool stuff you’ve achieved and remind yourself how awesome you are. Personally, I love the reminder that I was voted “most unique” in high school.

2. Learn something new.

You don’t have to become an expert on an entire subject (unless that’s appealing). Learn how to say “have a nice day” in German (“Habt einen schönen tag!”), check out a Ted talk, or hit up Wikipedia’s “random article” link until you find something interesting.

Pointing our focus toward something outside of ourselves is stimulating; it also expands our world and our perspective. Additionally, learning makes your brain happy

3. Ask your very best friend/partner/favorite family member what they love about you and specifically how you are amazing.

Take note of what they say and refer to it later when you are feeling a bit unloved. While our view of ourselves is of primary importance (it is about self-love, after all), it’s always nice to hear some complimentary words from someone we love whose opinion we respect.

Let me be super-clear: I am not talking about the “friend” who is actually a frenemy, or the family member who insists on subtly criticizing your life choices. This question is reserved for one of your very favorite people who happens to feel the very same way toward you.

4. Put your focus on others with small acts of kindness.

If I’m having a self-critical day, my tendency is to want to turn inward and pay little attention to the outside world (and expend my energy getting down on myself—not very useful). Instead of allowing that, I will make an effort to chat with people I come across and offer a kind word; I’ll be a more considerate driver; I’ll make a point of saying “hi” to people I don’t know.

For me, focusing on others serves as a simple reminder that we are all connected, as well as sending the message to my system that playing the introvert and self-criticizing is not acceptable to me.

5. And sometimes, turn inward.

I trust myself enough to know when I just need an hour or two of nothing. No email, internet, or other diversions—just me and a cup of something, hanging out, plotting my future, thinking about what I want, where I’m going, and how I’m going to get there.

For me, this is like hitting a re-set button. It clears my brain of some of the clutter, alleviates some of the negative internal dialogue, and leaves me feeling motivated and renewed. Meditation is great. So is a half-hour in a coffee shop sans boss and kids. Both can be incredibly fulfilling. Do whatever works for you.

6. Put on your most-loved music and dance.

Its an incredibly basic concept, but oh so easy, super fun, and all good baby. I defy you to feel bad after your endorphin-pumping, stress-relieving, body-moving, shamelessly personalized dance party for one.

7. Practice self-care.

The most effective tool I use to avoid the not-so-great-in-the-self-love-department days is regular self-care. I engage in many small acts of self-care, with occasional larger ones thrown in.

Getting up early enough to enjoy my morning coffee; scheduling myself in a way that doesn’t cause my head to explode when I look at my calendar for the day; making sure my refrigerator is well-stocked so I don’t end up having olives and old celery for dinner—these details work for me and support me in feeling strong and solid.

I simply feel better about myself when my life is running smoothly. And since I’m the one running my life, the responsibility to make it so is mine.

Remember: While we are all connected, and in many ways are the same, you are the only you there is. You are unique, amazing, and special. Revel in it, ‘cause you rock.

Photo by whatmegsaid

Avatar of Maria Moraca

About Maria Moraca

Maria Moraca is a conscious integrated channeler. She and Zurac (her “entity dude”) work in tandem; Maria encourages empowerment and Zurac offers insight and clarification to life path questions. Her website and blog are at mariachanneling.com.

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  • Carmelo Bryan

    I’m reminded of a quote … I wish I could remember where it originated but the gist is that we’ll never be lonely if we can spend three hours by ourselves with nothing to do and not be bored for a second.

    You’re so right and this is so important, Maria. We often seek adventures out in the world, and that’s just fine. But, the adventures of our inner world could quite possibly be even more exciting if we just learned how to observe ourselves, our minds and hearts.

    We ARE incredible beings, aren’t we? :-)

  • KatyCowan

    This is wonderful Maria. We can all be too hard on ourselves sometimes. It’s easy to put ourselves down and focus inwardly when we’re having a bad day. Most days, I’m happy and positive. Some days, I can get quite down and worry too much about problems and other people. It’s on those days when I try very hard to ‘count my blessings’ and I usually drag myself out of negative thinking.

    And you’re right – it’s during these tough times that we should celebrate everything that is great about us. I love the idea of writing a list, dancing around the room to music and generally reminding myself how much ‘I rock’. There’s nothing like positive affirmations and great happy music to lift one’s spirits. I tell you though – it takes great courage and character to live like this and I hope your words help others to see the light too.

  • Mariachanneling

    Thanks Katy, your words are meaningful and well-received. Here’s to happy, positive days!

  • Mariachanneling

    YES, absolutely incredible! And the ability to maintain a relaxed inner world regardless of what’s going on outside is an awesome goal :-) Thanks for your comment!

  • flekstro

    Although not very important, “Have a nice day” in German would normally said like “Schönen Tag noch!” (“a further nice day“) instead of the more precise translation above

  • http://twitter.com/ASwensin Aren Swensin

    Excellent post, I like how you mention a smooth schedule and taking time for yourself. There are times when I go out and have a great time and then feel like I need to get out the following days leading me to spend a lot of time trying to make something happen and feeling bad when it doesn’t, but it can feel so much better just focusing on yourself and not worry about making plans or revolving your schedule around what others are doing. Let them chase you down while you enjoy yourself, so much more relaxed and fulfilling.

  • lv2terp

    Very uplifting post, and great tips! Thank you so much! :)

  • http://www.ThrivingtheMiddleClass.com/ Kyle P. Taylor

    We so often hear the cliche – “you are what you eat” (#7 in you list). But we forget that we are what we think. Your tip to make a list of accomplishments is a great start in that direction.

  • Mariachanneling

    Thanks for taking the time to comment Kyle!

  • Mariachanneling

    You’re welcome, and thank you :-)

  • Mariachanneling

    Agreed! It’s lovely to do for oneself, isn’t it? ;-)

  • Screwy Louie

    I think it’s important to learn to forgive yourself and accept your shortcomings as well as your strengths. I’ve always liked myself but then, one day, I realized I’ve always liked everyone else, too. A very reliable device for cheering yourself up is to make someone laugh.

  • Nelsi

    Love this article! Thank you Maria :)

  • Sandy watts

    I loved reading this and needed to also. I am going to put these practices into play, do some yoga

  • http://twitter.com/geaninethompson Geanine Thompson

    Maria, sage advice, indeed. Self-care is a work in process for me as I’m a recovering workaholic. LOL. YES, to music and dancing. I danced up a storm this afternoon to old school Prince. It’s admirable that you have been self-employed and obviously created a life you love. Brava!

  • Mariachanneling

    Old school Prince = awesome dance party!

  • Mariachanneling

    You are welcome, thanks for connecting :-)

  • Mariachanneling

    Self-awareness is wonderful; I enjoy making myself laugh :-)

  • http://www.sixsimplerules.com/ David Singer/SixSimpleRules

    Maria:
    Great list. Especially like asking others to tell you how awesome you are. And the music and dancing. :)
    Thank you!
    Best regards,
    David

  • Hilary

    I really needed this wisdom. I feel for a lot of people we miss out on self-love without even realizing it, trying to keep up with out busy lives with the intention of being productive and useful. But, if we fail to take care of ourselves we can become very unhappy people. Thank you and I will refer to this article when I have low self- esteem. :)

  • Mariachanneling

    Your words are very true Hilary. Thanks for your comment.

  • Mariachanneling

    Always nice to get an outside perspective on awesomeness, eh? Thanks David!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisaanneboshell Lisa Hutchens Boshell

    Being an independent loner/rebel myself, reading this made me think, “Wow…I could’ve written this…well….if I was a much more articulate writer.” So, thank you for your excellent tips on giving self-love and for the all important reminder that we are, indeed, all connected. I sometimes forget that.

  • PRITI

    thanks Maria ur article sees me when i felt down in the dumps but this time i had decided that i listen to a different drum so i possibly cannot measure to others ideas. ur article only strengthens my resolve .thanks

  • Tanny

    This was amazing and just the advice I needed right now. I just went through break-up and have been feeling pretty crappy about myself but this article has helped me realise that just because that person doesn’t want to be around me anymore, it doesn’t reflect badly on me. I really want to knit blanket and you’ve inspired me to attend a knitting class!

  • Mariachanneling

    Glad to hear it, and what a great awareness – keep it with you!

  • Mariachanneling

    You’re very welcome :-) cheers

  • Mariachanneling

    Thanks for the great comment Lisa!

  • Mariachanneling

    Love me some yoga – have fun Sandy!

  • ad

    i love these tips,maria even small acts of self pampering can make me feel better about myself.

  • wendi

    I especially like the dancing remedy! I also like to sing along with my favorite songs as loud as I can, even though it’s the worse singing you could ever imagine, it still feels good.
    Thank you for sharing your insights!