10 Steps To Becoming The Love Of Your Own Life

Dear Disney — I love you, but you did me zero favors as a kid. 

Before you hunt me down with torches and pitchforks in protest, hear me out. My childhood role models weren’t the Meridas and Moanas that girls today look up to; instead, I had Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, even Fiona. All women whose singular goal in life was to find “true love” and live “happily ever after.” 

Thankfully, “the trope of the damsel-in-distress who is ultimately on a quest for true love has been abandoned, and an independent protagonist who doesn’t need a love interest has taken that place.” It’s an encouraging step forward to see heroines like Moana looking not for love, but for her own inner strength to make a difference in the world. Even Elsa and Anna in Frozen broke the trope, emphasizing the value of familial, sisterly love over romantic love. Ariel changed herself and literally gave up her voice to become lovable; Elsa built a castle, let her hair down, and learned to love herself.

I wonder what my mindset about romantic love and self-love would look like were I a child today. If I grew up with Merida, a Scottish girl with a spirit almost as wild as her hair, or Moana, an absolute fear-conqueror. Would I have been less obsessed with finding love “somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight?” Would it have been easier for me to learn how to become the love of my own life?


What Is Love? (Baby, Don’t Hurt Me)

Now, it’s not only Disney that primed me to be a hopeless romantic from the age of, like, 3. A slew of other factors played a role — for example, growing up in a church setting (they talk about “the gift of marriage” all the time) and my permanent, unwavering desire to be a mom. 

But looking back on it now, I know there was also something deeper in me that primed me to desire romance above anything else. I really just wanted to be validated. I wanted someone to always tell me I was enough, to love me endlessly and without hesitation. I wanted that Disney princess happily-ever-after love — but the movie never continues after the wedding, because even Disney knew the love they were portraying wasn’t realistic.

It took me years to figure out that love, in addition to being beautiful and warm, is also hard and messy. It took me years to realize that validation and love are not the same thing; moreover, I had to discover that what I was actually craving was just a good community of people, and not necessarily romance. 

Do I want to get married eventually? Yeah, sure. But I’m finally so in love with myself that it’s not of huge importance anymore. I can have kids without being married, and I have an amazing community that keeps me from getting lonely. I’m healthy and able to provide my own validation, and the freedom to not chase love at every turn has enabled me to discover sides of myself that I never would have otherwise.

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Becoming The Love Of Your Own Life

Let’s get real for a second — you’re the only person you’re stuck with forever. And if you don’t love yourself, I bet your forever will be less than happy, regardless of whether you ever find “true love.”

I know, I know, “love yourself” is one of those things that’s easier said than done. The path taken to get there will be different for each of us. But from one woman to another, here are 10 tips that may help.

#1 Be Alone With Yourself

I remember the moment I “discovered” the concept of shopping alone when I was in high school. The idea of going to the mall by myself, without my gaggle of girlfriends, was horrifying. But one of my friends kept gushing over how “fun” and “liberating” it was, so one day I tried it, and I’ve LOATHED shopping with other people ever since then.

Thinking back on it now, this really was my first step toward self-love. Being in public without a friend-shield to hide behind was terrifying and seems very small to me now, but back then it was a big deal. To steal the saddest song from Phantom of the Opera, “Learn to be lonely” – and though the song may be depressing, the sentiment isn’t.

#2 Solo Travel

Yeah, going from shopping alone to traveling alone is a huge leap. But while shopping alone was my first step toward loving myself, traveling alone was the moment my self-confidence was solidified. There are few things more terrifying than trying to navigate a foreign country on your own, especially when that requires eating alone, figuring out bus systems alone, and even dealing with foreign languages in the midst of all of this. 

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So go do it. Sure, it’s scary. Sure, you might get stuck wandering the streets of Prague at midnight trying to get back to your hostel because Google Maps stopped working. But the sense of freedom and self-reliance you’ll get out of it is overwhelming and life-changing, and I can’t recommend it enough.

#3 (Re)discover Your Sensuality

Yes, ladies, I’m talking about S-E-X. (Mom, if you’re reading this, maybe skip to the next section.)

Lady, you and your body are one. Took me years to figure that one out as well (thank you, church). So when I talk about loving yourself, I don’t just mean in the emotional way — I’m talking about physical self-love, too. You can try reading erotica, listening to erotic audio, or maybe finally buying that sex toy you’ve been hearing your friends rave about. Connecting with your body is a huge aspect of learning to really, fully love yourself.

#4 Find GOOD Community

This isn’t as cut-and-dry as I’d like it to be, but finding good community is vital. Sure, you have the friends you go out with for happy hour, but can you call on them in a crisis?

Finding good community takes lots of time, hard work, and a little luck. Surround yourself with people who affirm you, are there for you, and inspire you to be better. When you find those people, don’t run away —  hang onto them tight. They’ll help show you how to love yourself even in the hard times.

#5 Stop With The Comparisons

Yeah, we all have a friend who’s started her own successful business or aspires to be the best attorney in the state. I have friends who run successful podcasts, have been on reality TV, have amassed small fortunes, or authored novels. Stop comparing yourself to them; after all, comparison really is “the thief of joy.” 

Instead of comparing, why not take some pride in the fact that you have some pretty cool friends? Don’t let jealousy enter the picture — remind yourself of your own talents and achievements, and let your successful friends be motivators to achieve even more.

#6 Play Around With Your Style

My hairstylist gave me a blowout for the first time a couple months ago, and wow. I instantly looked about 5 years older (a good thing for me — people always think I’m at least 5 years younger than I actually am) and it gave me a huge confidence boost. 

Try playing with your personal style. I’m not just talking about your hair or makeup style, but your fashion sense as well. Go into stores, try things on, and see how they make you feel. Go for bright colors and clothes that will get you noticed, even if you’re usually a wallflower — there’s no confidence-booster like a stranger stopping you on the street and asking where you got your show-stopping velvet coat.

#7 Dig Into Your Passions And Hobbies

If you don’t know what your hobbies are yet, go find them. Stat. Find that thing you do that lights a bit of a fire in you. I, personally, lose track of time when I’m doing a puzzle and listening to a podcast, or when I’m baking, playing video games, or writing music. These hobbies and passions help restore my own sense of self and they’re things I genuinely enjoy doing alone. I like that I’m good at them, and every time I create something new (like a beautiful loaf of sourdough or a new tune I’m particularly fond of) I get proud of myself, and I fall in love with myself just a bit more.

#8 Learn How To Fix Things

This tip takes “I don’t need no man” to a whole new level. My parents never called in the experts when they could avoid it — they fixed all the small issues in our house on their own, and when I moved out and started living on my own, they encouraged me to do the same. I remember one day in the first apartment I lived in by myself when I broke something and didn’t know how to fix it – I literally sat down, cried, and lamented that I didn’t have a husband to fix it for me. Then I got over it and figured out how to do it on my own.

I now know how to fix a variety of toilet, sink, garbage disposal, and electronics issues. YouTube is an excellent teacher for these skills, and it’s deeply empowering to know that I can take apart the pipes under my sink at a moment’s notice. Maybe even just to show off.

#9 Tell Yourself How Awesome You Are

The term “girlboss” may be out, but being a boss ass bitch is always in, IMO. Chances are you’re pretty awesome and you don’t even know it. 

Make a list of all the things you like about yourself and are proud of. All of them. Did you get out of bed and shower first thing in the morning? Write it down. Are you going back to graduate school? Write it down. Working through old traumas so you can have a healthier tomorrow? Write. It. Down. Soon enough you’ll notice these positive thoughts about yourself overshadow the negative ones, and you’ll grow to love yourself even more.

#10 Go To Therapy

How could I not recommend therapy? The reality is, we’re all dealing with different stuff. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to become the love of your own life. But the right therapist can help you find out what you need to do in order to love yourself more. They can shed light on thought obstacles you might be unaware of, help you deal with unresolved trauma, and show you the many good things about yourself that you may be blind to. Therapy rocks. Do it.


Are you ready to fall in love with yourself again? What steps are you taking toward self love? Share in the comments below.

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