How do we love ourselves and why does it matter? Self-love means we accept ourselves completely; flaws and all, treating ourselves with kindness, respect, and nurture our personal growth. As a young kid I was extremely shy and often tried to hide who I was. I wasn’t taught self-love because the messages I heard were don’t be selfish, show-off or brag. During my formative years, even when I knew I had the ability to shine in school and do well — something kept me quiet and in the back of the school room — maybe it was shame. My grades suffered and self esteem was being squashed by my young mind thinking I wasn’t ‘enough’.

In recovery, I’ve had the privilege to learn self-love encompasses how I treat myself as well as others. It’s still easy to berate or belittle myself when I make mistakes, say the wrong thing or act as if everything is about me.

I think this is especially true for addicts and alcoholics. It takes daily practice to feel we are worthy and deserving of the good things. It doesn’t take much to slip back to negative self talk. When I do it’s painful. I need to stop and understand who’s really saying these negative comments to me, the tapes from the past aren’t erased overnight. Remembering to get grounded in the now is stops the negative noise — even just for awhile.


What does self-love look like?

Saying positive things to ourselves

Forgiving ourselves when we mess up

Meeting our own needs

Not letting others take advantage of or abuse us

Prioritizing our spiritual, physical and emotional health

Spending time around people who support and build us up

Asking for help

Letting go of grudges or anger that holds us back

Recognizing our strengths

Valuing our feelings

Living in accordance with our values

Challenging ourselves

Holding ourselves accountable

Accepting our imperfections

Apologizing when we have wronged another


Self-love is the foundation that allows us to set boundaries and create healthy relationships, practice self-care, and feel proud of who we are. Happy Valentines Day.