Cultivate Self-Love


The Body Positive
  • Develop a practice of self-love
  • Employ compassion and humor as you leave behind the need for self-criticism


Gain confidence and freeing up energy to make life-affirming choices.

The purpose of the core competency Cultivate Self-Love is to find a compassionate, gentle, and forgiving voice to guide and protect us. It is through a practice of self-love that we move away from self-criticism towards a more peaceful relationship with ourselves. With self-love, treat our bodies with the honor they deserve for the brilliant work they do to keep us alive. We have more meaningful connections with others because we respect and value ourselves equally as much as we do other people.

Cultivating self-love raises our awareness in regard to how we talk to ourselves and speak about ourselves to others. It allows us to become conscious in the moments when our critical voices speak. We use these moments as reminders that stressful life experiences may be causing us to attack ourselves.

Events happen outside of our control-that's life. Without self-love, we don't protect ourselves against, or move away from, the situations that cause us to feel pain. Instead, our internal critic blames us for our lack of perfection. It believes that berating ourselves will be the motivating force to take us to that place of perfection, thus preventing painful experiences from ever occurring again. The problem is that our attempts to be perfect do not save us from the aggressive acts of other people. Nor do they save us from the inevitable suffering of life. It is self-love that is our ultimate protection.

Self-love is not something that comes one day and stays for the rest of your life. It is a daily practice, emphasis on the word practice. Just as you practice intuitive eating and exercise by honoring that trial and error means forgiving yourself for your errors, cultivating self-love means you forgive yourself when your critical voice arrives for a visit in your brain, even when it is an extended visit! With practice, you hear the mean voice as it begins to speak. You learn to honor its presence, and work with it to help it become less fearful. As your voice of self-love grows in strength, you will discover it becomes easier and easier to ignore the nasty voice, and to quickly return to the knowledge that you are worthy of love and respect, especially from yourself. You will find over time that your ability to love your perfectly "flawed" human self rewards you with abundant energy and time to put towards the expression of your unique spirit and life purpose.

An added bonus of pursuing self-love is that it will positively transform your self-care behaviors. The more you love and respect yourself, the better you will care for your physical body. You may have been taught that if you are critical and unloving of your body, this attitude will somehow serve as motivation to improve your eating and exercise habits. It is the old notion that you can "whip yourself into shape." In actuality, the complete opposite is true. A loving, respectful relationship with your body allows you to listen to and trust it to guide you in making healthful, balanced self-care choices.

To read about the other four competencies of the Be Body Positive Model go to: