Love Yourself, Accept Yourself, Forgive Yourself

“Love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” ~Leo F. Buscaglia 

You mean I am a source of many wonderful things?

Yes. Actually you are. Own up to it.

Leo has it right.

1. Love yourself.

Despite all the things that you think may be terribly wrong with you, love yourself. Love yourself.

Tattoo it on your brain.

I can think of so many reasons why you should love yourself, but here’s just one: It is incredibly dull and uninspiring to be around people who do not love themselves.

I spent many years being anorexic and feeling like I was a monster. I’m sure I was not much fun to be around and I also know that I didn't book any of the acting jobs I was trying to land. It is very challenging to hire someone or love someone who fights you by holding up a mirror of hatred toward themselves.

Here’s my challenge for you today: Take a picture of your face and remember that in 10 years time you will be amazed at how gorgeous you were. Be amazed now.

Identify something about you that you may not adore and find a way to at least laugh at it or like it, even a little bit.

I have profound hearing loss; in fact, I am almost deaf and wear hearing aids. I have ringing in my ears 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Does it drive me mad most days? Yes. However, it is here to stay, and I have learned that I can make light of it or sit home and feel sorry for myself because I am missing out on what feels like everything.

Either way the choice is mine to make. I have also learned that because of my hearing loss, my other senses are highly attuned. I am more compassionate because of it. I am a healer.

I have turned something I don’t necessarily “love” having into another piece in the puzzle of me, and part of why I love that puzzle.

Instead of thinking “I am an incomplete human being because I can’t hear perfectly,” I think “I am an incredible human being with a profound sense of touch and understanding and a huge capacity for love. I am also awesome at reading lips. So there.”

What can you love about yourself today that you may have struggled with before?

Can you find a way to cultivate the opposite? According to Pantajali’s Yoga Sutra 2.33, “When the mind is disturbed by improper thoughts constant pondering over the opposites is the remedy.”

2. Forgive yourself.

I lead a meditation in my workshops on forgiveness, and every time, without fail, people start crying. Almost everyone in the room will have at least shed a tear. This leads me to believe that we are all indeed connected, a union—which is what the word Yoga means.

The human experience is so similar, and yes, I know the details are vastly different, and that the devil lies in the details, but we still share the same weight on our shoulders. That weight would be diminished if we chose to forgive instead of harboring guilt or anger.

People cry most in my workshops when we do the meditation on forgiving yourself. Most likely it’s because we are hardest on ourselves.

What can you forgive yourself for today?

I forgive myself for saying “I hate you” to my father right before he died when I was eight years old. I carried it around for many years and let it color my life a dark airless color.

I forgive myself for not being perfect.

This shift occurred was when I was finally able to let go of my eating disorder. We often hold ourselves to impossible standards and end up feeling bad.

Ask yourself honestly, “What can I forgive myself for?” 

Sometimes it takes simply saying it aloud or writing it down to realize that you actually no longer need to bear the brunt of it.

3. Be good to yourself. Do things that you inspire you daily.

Make a list. Grab your iPad or your notepad or even your hand and draw up a list of things you can do today to make you feel good.

Keep adding to the list. Forgive yourself if you skip a couple and love yourself no matter how long or short the list is and how much you accomplish on it.

You will not be graded or tested on this list.

My list involves a lot of laughing.  My “Feel Good” list also has: my yoga practice, teaching yoga classes, writing, a long leisurely dinner with friends, having a great glass of wine, staying up all night reading a book I cannot put down, being with kids who have special needs and teaching them yoga, poetry, Modern Family, skyping with my nephews, and the list goes on.

Do something every single day that makes you feel good, whether it is changing your thought patterns or taking a bath while reading a magazine in the tub.

Maybe it’s getting an extra hour of sleep or staying up late and watching Pretty Woman for the 50th time.

Pleasure and joy are highly underrated and beating ourselves, up highly overrated. Flip it! Cultivate the opposite.

One of my main rules as a yoga teacher is that if you fall, you must laugh and take down your neighbor, which cultivates a sense of humor, and hopefully a little joy. You need at least a little joy daily. Sprinkle it on your cereal, slip it in your downward facing dog, add it to your pinot noir.

Accept that you are indeed the source of many wonderful things. If you need help remembering what they are from time to time, keep making your feel good lists. Keep coming back to the love that is inherently yours. It is your birthright. And so it is.

Whatever it takes. Just do it.

A student told me after she returned from my July Ojai retreat that she wanted to live her life every day as if she was still on the retreat. And why shouldn’t she? What a revelation! What a revolution of the mind. 

Be good to yourself. You will train other people to do the same.

And guess what? If they aren’t good to you, you will still have your old standby who is always good to you: YOU. Pretty much what matters most at the end of the day. You being good to you. The rest will follow.

Remember the 90’s En Vogue song, with the lyrics “Free your mind, the rest will follow”?

It will. So get up and dance.

Photo by allyaubry

About Jennifer Pastiloff

Jen is the founder of Manifestation Yoga. She teaches yoga all over. Find her on Twitter and Facebook. She also started GAME Yoga. Gifts And Miracles Everyday: Free Yoga for Kids w/ Special Needs.

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  • jensoir

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today, thank you. I have been trying to love myself for quite a while, and felt I was making a lot of progress. However, I found that when I read “…you are the source of many wonderful things…” in the first quote, my instant reaction was to tell myself that I’m not. I began comparing myself to other people I know, who are the source of MANY wonderful things and would be sorely missed if they were not around. I felt that my input into other people’s lives, as wonderful as it may be, is just so minor and insignificant. This instant reaction highlights my low self esteem and a lack of self love which has obviously not improved as much as I had thought. I am going to use the tips in this post to help me on the way to total self love 🙂 I know I will get there! Thanks again xx

  • great advice!

  • yup. learning to forgive myself, and not being too hard on myself….

  • Zannmanning

    Thank you for this. I, too, have profound hearing loss which started when I was a child. I wear hearing aids but for decades was so embarrassed by them that I wouldn’t wear them. What that meant was a lot of pretending, missing a huge chunk of what was going on around me. I faked it in order to appear normal. Now I see my hearing aids as my best friends (although — like best friends — they can still be annoying). I also suffered from an eating disorder starting at age 15. My entire being was based on how thin I could be and remain.  I was convinced I was flawed, but believed with enough control and discipline, I could pull it off, become acceptable to others. This is what I call a false high — propping yourself up in a way you think says, “ILet me in; I am one of you; I am accomplished.” Luckily, with maturity and professional guidance, I slowly began to accept myself — but it took me 59 years. I have no regrets, because this is my life and all of it matters, every second of it. But I am ever grateful that am able to live in the luxurious comfort of “just” being me. Not always, of course, because — ta da! — I’m not perfect.

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  • My fave is your advice on #joy: “Sprinkle it on your cereal, slip it in your downward facing dog, add it to your pinot noir.”

    As always, love this post Jen!

  • Thank you so much for reading. Your energy is contagious.

  • Thank you for reading. 😉

  • This was so beautiful. A kindred spirit, I’d say. Ta-da! Thank you so much for posting this. Love, jen

  • It’s a process, isn’t it? I am still struggling with it but feel so inspired after reading all the comments and seeing how alike we all are. I am sending you a hug. I hope you can feel it. Thankfully we have sites like this which share inspiring words when we feel down or are being too hard on ourselves. They help us snap out of it! Thank you for reading xo

  • Thank you so much! You are so far from minor and insignificant. You made my day! Love, jen

  • Jen, I love your statement:
    “Take a picture of your face and remember that in 10 years time you will be amazed at how gorgeous you were. Be amazed now.” It’s so spot on.
    Sometimes when I see my damp energy coming forth, it’s good to go ahead as though I was looking in the rear-view mirror at the now. The absolute sanctity of the now rises up.

    Thank you for brightening my day with a reminder of self-kindness.

  • Thank you so so much. It is from a poem I wrote called How To Make A Life. 
    here it is. i tried to paste it but the formatting was off xx

  • Absolutely beautiful, Jen.

    Thank you.

  • Jennifer, I was having such a rough day and your post TRULY couldn’t have been more motivating. I loved it, you are a great writer and someone who seems to have overcome many struggles such as myself. Keep posting, PLEASE!

  • erin. You are such a love. Thank you. you can find more of me at xoxoox love jen

  • LadyTamborine

    Forgiving that’s an issue many struggle with.
    I see this a lot in the older generations.  It seems they were from an era where mistakes weren’t talked about.  They were swept up, put in an airtight bag and put in the closet-never to be talked about again. Shoot …20 years ago even saying you had breast cancer was something kept undercover.  Everything was a secret..but everyone knew.
    I think today’s generation is a bit more transparent.  It seems our mistakes are “put on blast” for all to see, talk about and learn from.  Today we approach things a little differently, we have a message to share, a lesson to teach or just a strong desire to help others.  Let’s grow from this.
    I guess there’s a time a place for transparency.  But we have to ask…are we being true to ourselves? I say, put me on blast, get it out there, make me confront my bad choices, force me to learn and let’s move on.
    But…there are those that just can’t let their guard down.  Is it embarrassment? Is it pride? Is it ego? Whatever it is, it’s crucial that one learn to forgive (self and others), learn and move on.
    Like you said and the song goes…“free your mind and the rest will follow”.
    Thanks for the great post.

  • Sor

    I just really needed this today. Actually, i have needed it for a while, but as the saying goes – when the student is ready, the teacher appears. So perhaps today was finally when I was ready to hear it and let it sink in. Thank you.

  • Nancy

    thank you for this perfect reminder – I often forget these simple truths even though I teach them daily to my patients. but when I read your post I remembered that I need to be practicing this myself!

  • Sundancebleu

    Thank you!  This is amazing and has made my day.  You are truly amazing!

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  • Katherine

    I have spent the past 10 days crying every day because I was tired of feeling tired, lonely, and not really knowing who I am. Despite counselling six ago following a relationship breakup, the grief I feel still moves around me daily, and I struggle to be productive at work, or project a ‘happy glow’. Some days I am ok, but this week I’m a little flat. Thank you for highlighting that I am not alone.

  • Meghan

    I’m right there with you, jensoir. I have always struggled with low self-esteem and just as I feel I am beginning to step out of the darkness, comparing myself to others brings me right back to square one. I wish you well on your journey to self love, I am sure you are appreciated and loved by many 🙂 

    Jennifer, thank you for this ever relevant and inspiring article. Self-forgiveness is something I struggle with on a daily basis and I appreciate your advice on the subject. Thanks for your enlightening and encouraging words 🙂

  • You are NOT alone Katherine. Make a list of things that bring you joy and get back to me. See if it makes you smile. check out as I send out daily challenges to help us make it through, laughing 😉
    xo jen

  • You are truly amazing. 
    Would love to hear your thoughts on Daily Challenges x

  • We all forget. I forget. A lot. Thank you thank you. You are a perfect reminder as to why I need to keep writing 😉
    namsate xo

  • One of my favorite sayings! So much love to you. if you want my Daily Challenge. x jen

  • LOve this:   But we have to ask…are we being true to ourselves? I say, put me on blast, get it out there, make me confront my bad choices, force me to learn and let’s move on. 

    Thank you !

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  • Buddhachick

    Thank you for your inspiring suggestions and light, beautiful writing style. Keep posting please! I can’t wait to take a bubble bath with my favorite book and Pretty Woman on in the background later tonight… 🙂

  • Racheyroo92

    Amazing! Wish you had a yoga class here in England. Thanks so much for making my day a little brighter 🙂 xo

  • Thank you for this much needed post. Remember to love myself. I’m with myself the most but yet it’s the person I love show love to the least. Something is definitely wrong with that picture :] It’s a work in progress. But I’ve learned to make this much needed transformation little by little. Take baby steps, honor and listen to my body, and surrender. Much love to you <3

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  • GinaRClark

    Gorgeous words & sentiments. Thank you!

  • Lisa

    So very very true!

  • MarissaLeeHarris

    I’m going to add “sprinkle of joy” to every recipe in my recipe box. Yup.

  • completely agree on the need to love oneself…thanks for the article.

  • Anonymous

    Love and Forgive yourself, two issues that I struggle with.  But my resolution (yes I’m early or late depending on how you look at it, lol) for the rest of my life is to fall in love with and forgive myself as I have done with others. If I can love and forgive others, why not myself, especially since I live with myself 24/7.  Thank you!

  • Kay

    This is inspiring! Thank you! I am going to immediately share this with my teenage daughter who struggles with my same affliction ….looking in the mirror and not living what she sees.

  • Amazing post! Just what I needed. Been really down lately and your post really made me realize that I should love myself above anything else. 🙂

  • Q8-93

    thank you a lot i really need to read articles like this …

  • thank you for reading it. find me at and stay tuned for another tinybuddha piece in next few weeks xo

  • thank you for reading it. find me at and stay tuned for another tinybuddha piece in next few weeks xo

  • thank you Kay! thank you for reading it. find me at xo

  • thank you for reading x

  • thank you for reading it.xo

  • LOVE this. Thank you.

  • Grace


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  • Abc

    I am glad for having come by this post. I am 22 . at a time when I feel that i badly need psychiatric help to get me by.. I live in a not-so -open or communicative family.. so I have noone to talk to..
    I have cried myself to sleep almost every night . For being harsh on the person who I thought I loved the most. Maybe I do. He does things I dont like. I only realize now that I have no control over anyone;s actions. But Im unable to forget the bad words that I said to him . I told him that I hoped he never found true love or etc etc.. I feel horrible and gutted while even typing.. I cant believe I am holding a monster in. but i realize what and all I have said and I feel horrible.. I just feel I cant forget it. I dont know what to do.

  • Rodgerdp

    Thank you, good points.

  • Holy cow, I loved reading this! Cheers to you for not only being able to overcome your challenges with anorexia and beating yourself up over things said or done in the past. It is interesting how your personal transformations seemed to coincide with your chosen career path….going from an aspiring actress to a wellness teacher who is helping others through Yoga practice and meditation.

  • heirloommaters

    Thank you. I needed to read this.

  • Shoua

    Thank you for sharing such an amazing post.

  • taj

    the most superb lines ever read….

  • Amanda

    Thank you for this post.. I think its so important to love yourself and even to realize it while were young. Forgiving yourself is even more important because if you forgive yourself your freeing yourself of any negative emotion you have that will effect your future. I am currently making a list for tomorrow to do something good for myself.. I hope it puts a positive twist on my day 🙂

  • halfwayToZen

    thank you for the article; i am having one of those days where everything is just dark and i think it is because i can’t accept myself for who i am. I set goals for myself but i fail at them and then i feel depressed. I’m saving the article so i can read it everytime i feel down and insecure about myself

  • Just saw this post… love it! I know it’s unrelated, but where did you get the picture you used for this? Is it just a stock photo or something else? I ask because I love her necklace, and I want one! 🙂 Thanks.

  • Lovely

    Today has been one of the hardest days I’ve ever had. I have never been so close to killing myself. I don’t want to do that though. I want to heal. I want to love me. I decided to type “how to love yourself” into Google. I felt so stupid typing that. Who doesn’t know how to love themselves? Me. I don’t. This was one of the page suggestions that popped up. What you wrote, it’s amazing. I’m going to try to put it into practice. These words saved a life today. Thank you.

  • Alenka

    Love the idea of taking picture of yourself… Although I must say I was watching some of my older photos and only now I realized how I didn’t really liked myself back in those days..

  • Pete

    I Get up and dance.Thank you

  • Spencerski

    I think I may have just realized how much I have a problem with accepting myself. So thanks, although it’s a hard piece of knowledge D:

  • catherine todd

    Are you saying it’s OK to say “I forgive myself for killing that person for no other reason than to steal their purse?” And that is some kind of advancement or enlightenment? I still don’t understand how this “forgive yourself” can be used so indiscriminately. I have thought about this a lot and hope someone can shed more light on this idea.

    Is there a way to get notices of comments or updates to this blog? I would like to be able to do that. CatherineTodd2 at gmail.

  • Shivani Agrawal

    Thank you. It is all very well put and instantly made me feel good about myself. I will keep coming back to it.

  • maphoka lenkoe

    wonderfully amazing

  • BarbaraManuelPotter

    Love this too.

  • elinch

    ” I have also learned that because of my hearing loss, my other senses are highly attuned. I am more compassionate because of it. I am a healer.” You are that… discovering your writings and following them on the internet has been a vital part of my own personal healing and/or growth. Don’t ever doubt it. What you do is wonderful. And as I follow your writing, it is clear that I am not alone…. you have made a huge impact…. keep it going 🙂

  • Leigha Parker

    Do you think you can please, PLEASE do this speech publicly? It’s such a nice piece and I want to perform this for my Speech and Debate events. Please … Or, is this on some type of magazine? I really, REALLY would want to perform this

  • Big show

    Outstanding blog, in my opinion site owners should acquire a great deal out of this blog its very user welcoming. Valentine Flowers

  • Nf4404

    Deaf quotes????

  • brittney

    Hi Jennifer,

    This post really touched me. I am going through the same struggle so it is comforting to see someone as successful as you are that overcame it. I finally feel like it is possible to live a happier life and learn to accept myself. I have a dream of opening my own yoga studio as a healing center so I can help others and your success is the inspiration I needed today! I would love to hear about how you got where you are today. It was such a coincidence that I came across your blog because you have doing exactly what I dream about doing with my life! 🙂

    If you ever have time I’d love to be able to hear your story!


  • Natasha

    I cried so much while reading this! Can’t seem to master self acceptance even though I’ve been in therapy for almost 3 years now; I’ve made quite a big progress and my Doc. is really awesome. Still I struggle every day with feeling dumb, ugly, ‘not enough’. Sometimes I may feel quite good with myself, but only when I’m alone. When it comes to bonding with people, letting them come close, my inner child starst to scream with fear, hides in a closet and curls up shielding its head with its hands. I work so hard on this and yet I don’t seem to suceed at all. No clue how to do this if all methods fail: doing this at my own, etting professional help, talking with friends…

  • Lealita

    Just the exact words I needed to read today!! Thank you so much!

  • tintin

    What you said about propping yourself up falsely, I have been doing it for ages! I have been very unhappy and have hated myself for ages too.
    But now I am making a change and am going to love myself. When I finally realized that this is what I need to do, I felt better immediately, I stopped being so hard on myself. I googled “how to accept yourself” and came here. I am sure things will be better now. 🙂
    PS I’m 22

  • tintin

    Thank you, thank you very much for this article 🙂

  • guest

    The problem is, there are so many miserable people in the world, many of them have too much power because others give them too much power (Too many elephants in the room). It seems as if they are energized every time they spread their misery and get away with it. :/

  • Beautiful. I agree with every word of this post! There is so much life-changing power when we recognise that loving ourself is not narcissistic, but rather enables us to live full, happy lives that add benefit, inspiration, encouragement and strength to those around us. Very well written. I particularly like the bit about taking time out every day to do something for yourself.

  • Rosey

    I am at a point in my life where I am confused and stuck, I cannot seem to be happy an satisfied no matter what I try. I keep looking to my boyfriend of 2 years to satisfy me deeply and make me happy, but I find he only scratches the surface. Reading tiny Buddha posts I feel them giving me the perspective I need, they make me feel more satisfied and understood, because I never felt understood before. Non of the people around me understand me to the point that satisfies me, thus I spend 60%of my life alone and the other 40% I give to my work. In actual fact I am miserable and lonely I do not know what to do, I feel I need physical contact with like minded people. Tiny Buddha posts like this one make my days easier

  • PiyUsh SrivAstaVA

    I am sick of my life , i am sick of constantly making my life better and failing to do so ! iam btech student of automobile engineering ! i have people skills but i am hating myself to do the same !! from the past two year i have only one thought in my mind !! it is why iam doing this i should quit !! but i cant help it !!! i am fighting myself to the core amd crying each and every day to heal myself !! thank you for your inspiration! will always b grateful! i dont want to QUIT !

  • k.k

    I would love to start a blog, online. I want it to be personal but never stating my name, and crazy and fun. I want to just write about how much goes on in my life, and everyday challenges I have to face.

  • Michelle

    Thank you. It’s hard during difficult days to remember acceptance and that imperfection is human.

  • Ola Dąbek

    That was so inspiring to read! Sounds a lot like my own journey to self acceptance. Feel free to visit my blog and read my own story here:

  • tinyk88

    Wow i really enjoyed reading this now i have to do what makes me happy no matter what. I’ve been having a really hard time some days are better than others. I just hate feeling depressed and like i have no one who understands me i feel so lost and unhappy at times it’s like my brain just have alot of negative thoughts running through my head i just want so bad to do better with myself so i won’t continue to feel like a failure the rest of my life GOD knows i need to love myself more.

  • Senobi

    Hello, I came into this web page looking for tips on getting better. I have always had a low self-esteem causing me to doubt myself, mostly stressed myself out when around people, never really like myself. A bit like some other people, I’ve tried talking to others about it, tried switching my mindset, but I keep going back to this place where I just tell myself that I don’t have what others does. I came here today because I really think that the problem is the way I see myself. The tips and ideas are very inspiring and very a good way to start changing. I can see that the last comments have been some years ago, so I’m very glad that this still is up. I’m lost, I feel out of place and I don’t really know where or whom to turn to, so thank you for this, I hope it helps me love myself a bit more and accept that I need to in order to feel better around others.

  • Dominic Jones

    years later and people are still finding this. I loved reading this, thanks so much Jennifer 🙂 <3

  • Marie

    Thank you for this lovely article. I am always hard on myself. I did not receive praise when I did really good when I was growing up. I heard a lot of negative and harsh words from my parents. I tried to please them but it was not good enough. The hurt won’t go away. I just to learn to let go of these negative emotional burden that I carry. I need to learn to love and accept myself so I can truly feel happy.