Like love for others, self-love can take many forms, from simple friendship with oneself to purposeful acts of self-care or self-protection. While specific routines and approaches may trend on and off, the concept of self-love is ancient. Religious and cultural leaders, popular artists, poets, and others around the world have long heralded the inherent lovableness and divinity of human beings.
Self-love is not the same as selfishness or ignorance of others’ needs; seeing our own inherent worth can sometimes help us remember the worth of others. Some people practice loving self-care from a practical and altruistic place in order to better serve others, as in the oft-referenced airplane emergency directions to put your own oxygen mask on first. This mindset centers the understanding that if we ourselves are depleted, it is harder to be generous with others.
At the most basic level, we must learn to understand and meet our own needs in order to survive, and, certainly, if we hope to thrive and enjoy our lives to the fullest. Self-love can also be a simple appreciation of the traits that make us uniquely ourselves. For communities who have experienced oppression, self-love may even be a revolutionary choice.
Whatever form it takes, loving and caring for yourself is a positive force in the world. Here are 15 quotes that describe the myriad forms and special power of self-love.
At this moment, you are seamlessly flowing with the cosmos. There is no difference between your breathing and the breathing of the rainforest, between your bloodstream and the world’s rivers, between your bones and the chalk cliffs of Dover.
— Deepak Chopra
I'm in love with my future, can't wait to meet her...
I'm in love but not with anybody else; just wanna’ get to know myself.
I know, supposedly, I'm lonely now,
know I'm supposed to be unhappy without someone
but aren't I someone?
— "My Future," Billie Eilish (written by Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell)
Caring for myself is not self-indulgence; it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.
— Audrey Lorde
It’s about waking up in the morning and saying that I’m worthy of love, belonging, and joy. It’s about engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.
— Brené Brown
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
— Mary Oliver
The most wonderful thing about Tiggers is that I’m the only one.
— A.A. Milne
I figured out I gotta be my own type... It's a me, myself kinda attitude.
'Cause I'm my own soulmate, I know how to love me.
— "Soulmate," Lizzo (written by Lizzo, Sean Douglas, and Warren Felder)
May I be happy, may I be well.
May I be kind toward my suffering.
May I cultivate more kindness within my heart.
May I cultivate more peace within my heart.
— Traditional Buddhist Metta (loving kindness meditation)
The sky could fall down, the wind could cry now,
the strong in me, I still smile.
I love myself.
— "i," Kendrick Lamar (written by Ernie Isley, O’Kelly Isley, Rudolph Isley, Ronald Isley, Marvin Isley, Christopher Jasper, Kendrick Lamar, and Rahki)
No matter what troubles have befallen you or what difficulties you have caused yourself or others, with love for yourself you can change, grow, make amends, and learn... Real love does not encourage you to ignore your problems or deny your mistakes and imperfections. You see them clearly and still opt to love.
— Sharon Salzberg
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
— St. Paul, the Bible
All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff.
— Carl Sagan
The way to get kindness with(in) yourself is spending time being nice to yourself, spending time getting to know and (dare I say it!) getting to love yourself… Loving yourself helps you love other people.
— Jeffrey Marsh, American writer, activist, and social media personality
No matter what they take from me, they can't take away my dignity
because the greatest love of all is happening to me.
I found the greatest love of all inside of me...
Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.
— "Greatest Love of All," Whitney Houston (written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed)
I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is, just like a fish is… We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose.
— Alice Walker
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