7 Steps to Embrace Self-Love and Live Authentically

How to accept and love yourself more

By Angelika Matev

In this article, I share 7 of the steps I use in my work with clients to help them embrace self-love and live authentically.  This knowledge, as well as the amazing benefits of self-discovery, will provide you with clear guidance on your growth journey.

The ability to connect with others, to enjoy life, and to create lasting and meaningful relationships starts with self-love.

Unfortunately, many people neglect or misunderstand this vital component of our physical and psychological well-being. The good news is it’s never too late to learn to love yourself more and, as a result, live authentically.

Self Love Sign with Rope Swing in Bali with Plants
Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

Understanding Self-Love

Meet Ana.

She’s an attractive woman in her mid-thirties and a successful lawyer. She’s healthy and fit and has an active social life. Money and opportunities are not lacking in her in life…and yet, Ana is unhappy because her relationships never last.

And meet Alex.

As a journalist with an established career, he travels around the world, talks to famous people, and enjoys an exciting lifestyle.  But, he’s unhappy because he got divorced twice and never had close friends.

Finally, meet Maria.

She’s a career woman in her early forties who is a very respected financial advisor and runs her own profitable business. However, she’s unhappy because she’s been single for many years, doesn’t believe in love, and has difficulties trusting others.

What do these three people have in common?

First of all, they all lack a genuine connection with their true Self. Consequently, they don’t accept and love themselves enough, which is reflected in different areas of their life and especially in their relationships.

These three examples from my practice (the names of the clients have been changed) come to prove an important point. Outer success, wealth, and popularity cannot guarantee a fulfilled and happy life if there is a barrier between the person and their inner world.

Other typical manifestations of lack of self-love I’ve seen in my work with clients include low self-esteem, neglect of one’s own needs, and absence of healthy personal boundaries.

In some cases, these damaging behavioral patterns are amplified to the extent of adopting permanent self-effacing behavior. Furthermore, this behavior is often expressed as misunderstood modesty due to the fear of asserting oneself with confidence, to avoid offending others or provoke their anger.

Having a low opinion of yourself is not 'modesty' - it's self-destruction. Holding your uniqueness in high regard is not 'egotism'. It's a necessary precondition to happiness and success.

Bobbe Sommer

Through the analysis of my clients birth charts I’ve seen some common denominators emerge to indicate the root cause of these issues.

Each personal story reveals circumstances, people, and events with a significant impact on the client’s life. These usually occur during childhood and in early formative years. Some of these experiences could be traumatic and quite difficult. As a result, they could trigger painful feelings of insecurity and negative self-image.

Identifying and bringing these underlying issues and self-limiting beliefs to conscious awareness, and replacing them with a renewed sense of self-worth is instrumental in helping my clients connect with their true Self. Undoubtedly, this connection is vital to achieving fulfillment and happiness in all aspects of life.

Guided self-exploration and inner work are central to my methodology as they are the foundation of lasting transformation & authentic living.

Embracing self-love and self-acceptance is a major step in the process of living authentically. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand their importance and value first.

The man who does not value himself cannot value anything or anyone.

Ayn Rand


Some signs of a lack of self-love include:

– Excessive worrying and a tendency to always focus on the worst-case scenario
– Obsession with the reactions and opinion of others about oneself
– Negative, overcritical perception of one’s body and appearance
– A feeling of general inadequacy
– Overwhelming inner tension and anxiety
– Inability to express emotions in a healthy way
– Neurosis and depression
– Feeling unlovable, too flawed and undeserving
– Eating disorders – eating too much or too little
– A tendency for self-destructing or self-effacing behavior
– Hidden inferiority complex & insecurity
– The need for constant reassurance of love and acceptance from others
– Excessive fear of judgment
– Trust issues
– Lack of a clear sense of identity and self-worth
– A persistent overall feeling of unhappiness

The consequences

The most severe forms of lack of self-love could even include suicidal thoughts.

Living with these negative feelings and perceptions could be harmful to physical and mental health. Over time, they could create a huge gap between a person and the source of their vitality, life purpose, and meaning.

A variety of health issues could arise as a result of the lack of self-love, such as frequent migraines, skin inflammations, chronic pain, insomnia, and panic attacks, to name a few.

Unfortunately, most people who suffer from these external manifestations of lack of self-acceptance often choose to ignore the root cause. Furthermore, they direct their energy to other activities, such as the obsessive pursuit of career success, shopping frenzy, aggressive dieting or substance use and abuse. Usually, this is an attempt to distract and distant themselves even further from their problems.

Another typical way to release tension in the absence of self-love is through engaging in frequent conflicts. Inner issues provoke arguments with family members, workmates, and even strangers, to vent and find an outlet for toxic emotions.

Image of a Stressed Woman
Photo by Claudia Wolff on Unsplash

Always making efforts to hide one’s weak and vulnerable sides is exhausting. Showing others only the facade of contentment and achievements is not easy either.

All of this can be summarized in two words: Inauthentic Life.

Is there a remedy for that? Yes, there is. Self-knowledge gained through self-exploration, inner work, and the conscious choice to start living authentically is the way out

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we'll ever do.

Brene Brown


What is Authenticity?

Authenticity is something we should all naturally possess without the need to learn how to be authentic.

But the world around us doesn’t make it easy.  Parents and schools don’t necessarily teach self-love to children.  We are surrounded by all forms of fake – celebrities, news, behavior, politics, social convention, and the ‘selfies‘ obsession all drown us in false appearance and fake messages daily!

How often do people ask, ‘How are you’ and actually care about the answer? How genuine and truthful are the comments and compliments exchanged, and how real is the image most people project?

These rhetorical questions make it clear that in such a culture and social environment. being inauthentic becomes a survival strategy.

It’s our responsibility to liberate ourselves from the damaging effects of these influences, choose to embrace self-love and live more authentically.

Handmade Stone Artwork Beautiful Woman Spring
"The Birth of Spring" by TANOART MOSAICOS

Some common misconceptions exist about the meaning of authenticity, individualism, and self-love, and they are often confused with selfishness, egocentrism, and narcissism.

Nothing can be further from the truth.

In fact, the more a person is connected to their true Self, the more capable they are of love and care for others as their inner wisdom teaches them the value of genuine sharing, helping, and giving.

In the philosophic tradition, you find a very clear evidence that narcissism or egocentricity is something entirely different from self-love. Because self-love is love and in love, it doesn’t make any difference who the object of my love is. I am a human being myself. Man must have an affirmative, loving attitude towards oneself. The egocentric person, in reality, is a person who does not love himself, and so he is greedy. In general, a greedy person is a person who is not satisfied.

E. Fromm, The Art of Listening, p. 188

The freedom of authenticity means choosing to be ourselves. It means to stop pretending, and stop wasting precious time and energy trying to impress others to earn false admiration for our fake image and behavior!

It’s not about acting weird and becoming socially unacceptable.  Loving and accepting yourself is enough to honor your true identity and act from a place of inner balance and a deep connection with your authentic Self.

That process begins with understanding and embracing self-love. The benefits are felt almost immediately as loving yourself is one of the most empowering soul, body, and mind experiences.

Some life-changing Benefits of Embracing Self-Love and Living Authentically:

֎ Increased self-confidence and assertiveness
֎ Improved relationships and love life
֎ Improved physical health
֎ More gratitude for the blessings in your life
֎ Increased ability for self-expression and creativity
֎ Healthy emotional release
֎ Improved ability to enjoy the present, instead of dwelling in the past and fearing the future
֎ A more positive outlook on life and openness to new adventures, and opportunities
֎ Improved appearance: inner balance and self-love always make us more attractive
֎ Increased sense of independence, self-sufficiency, and self-reliance
֎ Greater appreciation for your individuality and the beauty of your uniqueness
֎ More courage to face challenges and to overcome personal crises
֎ Improved self-control and effective management of negative thoughts and feelings
֎ Elimination of excessive worrying and overwhelming anxiety
֎ More appreciation of your abilities, qualities, and self-worth
֎ Strong connection with personal power and wisdom
֎ Improved ability to love, connect, give, receive and trust
֎ Increased sense of happiness, joy, and well-being

Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, you can make anything happen.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


The 7 Steps to Embrace Self-Love and Live Authentically


֎ Step 1: Acquire Deep Self- Knowledge

Start with an exploration of your inner world, your childhood experiences, and the most significant life events that have shaped your perception of reality. As a result, you will be able to identify the underlying cause of some self-limiting beliefs about yourself and your place in the world.

The role of parents and caregivers in the early years of life is crucial in the formation of perception and understanding of reality.  This impact could be both positive and negative.

Reviewing your childhood and identifying all these factors that led to self-sabotaging is the most effective way to unburden yourself and let go of traumatic experiences and the blockages they cause.

Psychological Astrology, which I use in my practice, could be of great value in that process (CLICK HERE to learn more).

This type of inner work is best done with the guidance and counsel of an expert who can support you on your journey within.


֎ Step 2: Master Emotion Regulation

Observe your emotions and the triggers that provoke them. Analyze your actions and reactions and identify the repetitive patterns of your behavior. These may keep you stuck in a cycle of disappointment, frustration, and loss of dignity, partners, or status.

Also, think about the changes you need to make to approach challenging situations involving  other people, differently. 

Make a list of the emotions that are difficult for you to control.  Is it anger, fear, or sadness that take over when you need to react more calmly and assess the situation before acting?

Do you listen to understand or to reply? Do you tend to blame others even when you know it’s not right to do so?

If you answered honestly ‘yes’ to any or all of these questions, then you bring to the conversation or argument some of your inner wounds and long-term unresolved issues. Consequently, that sets you on edge and prevents you from having calm and reasonable discussions. Therefore, the first step is to address these inner issues and see yourself and the world in a new way.

Self-love has the power to changes perceptions. It will help you learn to regulate your emotions and achieve much better results in any situation.

Pretty Girl Sitting on Floor Next to a Flower Vase
Photo by Arun Sharma on Unsplash


֎ Step 3: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others & Focus on Self- Recognition

Although many people show themselves as confident, super successful, and popular, they most certainly have to deal with issues too. Imperfection is part of being human. Accept and love yourself with your unique path and value. Do not compare your appearance, status and life to those of other people.

You are fully capable of making your dreams become a reality and shine in your own, beautiful way!

Make an effort to change those aspects of your appearance, work, and lifestyle that you think need improvement.  But do it because it will make YOU feel better as part of your growth, not because you want to impress someone else.

A flower does not think about competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.
Zen Shin

You have all you need to make the most of your potential: you shouldn’t copy or envy others, focus on your path, not theirs.

Above all, know that you are beautiful, talented, unique, and amazing! The Universe has invested in you, and now it is your turn to give your gifts to the world, with love and confidence! 

The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people judge neither themselves nor others. They are open to gestures of love, think about love and express their love in every action. They know that love is not a mere sentiment, but the ultimate truth at the heart of the Universe.

― Deepak Chopra


֎ Step 4: Become your best friend & connect with your inner partner

There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity. People who do not experience self-love have little or no capacity to love others.

Nathaniel Branden

Treat yourself the way you want and expect your friends and partner to treat you.

Be gentle and understanding, patient and supportive, compassionate, and dedicated to yourself! 

If you treat yourself in this way, you won’t be needy, clingy, and dependent on your relationships.

Many people experience relationship troubles because they haven’t given themselves enough self-love.  Hence, when they are in a relationship, they become overly demanding and desperate for attention. Also, they require constant proof of their partner’s feelings for them, to fill the inner void. These demands often become the silent killer of the relationship.

Married Couple Linking Arms
Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash


֎ Step 5: Focus on what makes you happy and sparks your passion and enthusiasm

Take care of yourself, dedicate time to your hobbies, and make them a priority. Give yourself permission to be spontaneous, connect with your inner child and have fun! Laugh, dance, enjoy that chocolate mousse and allow yourself to savor life’s pleasures or what the French call La Joie de Vivre and the Italians, La Dolce Vita!

Chocolate cake with a strawberry on top
Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

 

Start a new project or activity that aligns with your energy and supports your personal development. It’s a great way to celebrate your goals and dreams. That’s authentic living and another meaningful expression of true self-love!



֎ Step 6: Listen to yourself

Always pay attention to the signals your body is giving you to ensure physical well-being. Acknowledge  your thoughts and feelings to maintain emotional wellness. And listen to your inner voice and act accordingly. 

Don’t neglect these messages, because they’re coming from your core being and are there to protect and guide you. Strengthening this connection is another form of self-acceptance and self-love. You’ll certainly learn to honor, thank, and trust yourself even more.


֎ Step 7: Prioritize your life and your own needs.

Make some ME time and set loving, but well-defined boundaries. Learn to say ‘No’! Neglecting yourself and sacrificing your own time and energy to please others is not a healthy way to gain their affection and respect. When you are physically and emotionally depleted, you can’t give anybody anything from an empty tank, so use your energy wisely.

The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who were benefiting from your having none.


Summary:

֎ Step 1: Acquire Self- Knowledge
֎ Step 2: Master Emotion Regulation
֎ Step 3: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
֎ Step 4: Become Your Best Friend
֎ Step 5: Focus on What Makes You Happy
֎ Step 6: Listen to Yourself
֎ Step 7: Prioritize Your Life


In Conclusion:

Authenticity means emotional maturity, personal wisdom, freedom, meaningful relationships, physical wellness, and inner peace & balance.

The foundation of authenticity is self-love. Therefore, loving yourself is key to achieving well-being and lasting happiness. 

If it’s difficult for you to accept yourself and you feel that you lack self-love follow these these 7 steps to embrace self-love and start living authentically.

As a Certified Psychological Astrologer & Transformation Coach I offer guidance and support to my clients committed to unlock their unique path to personal growth and lasting happiness.

My services include an in-depth birth chart analysis from a psychological perspective. 

The reading reveals different personality aspects and possible barriers that don’t allow the individual to connect with their truth, value, and purpose. As a result, they ultimately block the ability of self-acceptance and self-love.

Once these factors are identified in the birth chart, they become the focus of a personalized and specially designed program to fit the client’s needs. Through the different parts of the program, I guide, coach, and help my clients overcome inner obstacles and embrace self-love.

If you’d like to learn more about my work and methodology and you need more support, reach out and book a free consultation to see if we are a good fit to work together.

Photo by JoelValve on Unsplash

Take the Free Self-Love Test to find the answers you need to start living a more authentic & happy life!

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Angelika Matev

Angelika Matev

Angelika Matev is a Certified Psychological Astrologer & Transformation Coach, with extensive experience working with 1:1 clients. It’s her mission to help people reconnect with their authentic self, overcome life challenges, create meaningful relationships and achieve lasting transformation and happiness.

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