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You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else.


I remember my mother quoting this to me when I was a tormented teenager.

I always thought she was such a liar. After all, didn’t I adore her more than anything on the planet? And didn’t I loathe myself with true teen tenacity?

I often asked her: “how do I do that?”

The reply more often than not came in the form of self-help books she was devouring at the time as a shattered survivor of emotional torture so severe it threatened to undermine the very foundations of her heart.

I eagerly read the books, searching for the key to love, confidence and happiness and every so often one or two sentences would resonate but mostly, they were filled with big words, clichés, and vague suggestions.




I wanted – needed – a real guide, practical steps I could take to find my way back into my heart.


Would you like an easy way to embrace self-love? Get your Free PRACTICAL STEPS TO SELF LOVE guide here. It comes with a fun JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF YOUR HEART game template.


A lifetime of learning, usually from lessons not consciously sought, has given me the steps I so longed for in younger years.



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I try to practice them daily but still fall down sometimes.

Life gets busy, you forget to put yourself first and you don’t even realise until a new lesson arrives with its reminder to stay diligent.

Recently I was challenged to put into practice what I preach when someone who I love with all my heart behaved thoughtlessly, causing me to jump to the conclusion that the feeling wasn’t reciprocated.

I could try to explain to you why I made this jump so readily, but it would sound like an excuse rather than the inspiration I hope my experience will give.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I should call them on their thoughtlessness and the distress I felt.

I fantasised about putting up some invisible barriers to protect my heart, thinking perhaps I could still shower them with my love (withdrawing from the relationship was not an option) with the protective shield in place.

In a moment of perfect clarity, I realised two things. You can’t give love with a closed and protected heart and it is not this person’s job to validate me – it is mine.

This thought made it easy to reclaim my power.


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Some people are worth giving up and removing from your life but there are a few special ones – often family, sometimes friends, you are prepared to stick with to the end.

These people are our biggest teachers, the ones who make us examine why we feel the way to do.

They’re the ones who have the most power to hurt us if we let them. Usually, it is not their intention to cause us distress but their lack of kind words or some thoughtless act can have us spiralling into a pit of self-despair and that’s the cue to reclaim our power.

When you have love for yourself, you have that power.


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You don’t need to hear those loving words, though it’s always wonderful when you do.

You stop trying to please everyone, running in circles, scratching your head and wondering why people don’t appreciate what you’re doing.

Let’s be clear. Self-love is totally different from conceit, which is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as ‘too much pride in your own worth or goodness”.

Self-love is not about ego and pride, though you can feel proud of achievements.

It is about recognising your importance in the universe. It’s about understanding that just as it takes every grain of sand to make a beach and every drop of water to make the ocean, every single soul has a vital role to play.

Self-love is defined as regard for one’s own wellbeing and happiness.

In a world that so easily confuses self-love with conceit, many of us fall into the pattern of putting everyone and everything before ourselves and our own desires and dreams.

This habit is how we hand control over to others.



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And it can be dangerous. It can lead to anxiety, depression, and bad choices regarding relationships and self-care.

Reclaiming your power and re-entering your heart isn’t difficult if you have some practical steps, exercises that actually work to bring you confidence, joy, and power.

The steps don’t have to take up much time but practice them daily and you will start to feel a mind shift, you will start to feel your power.

Would you like an easy way to embrace self-love? Get your Free PRACTICAL STEPS TO SELF LOVE guide here. It comes with a fun JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF YOUR HEART game template.

You may find those closest to you, the ones who held the power, resist the changes and test you. This is a good thing as it will reinforce the need to take charge of you and eventually they will treat you with the love and respect you were craving.



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Embracing self-love not only opens your heart to freely accept love from others but makes it possible to truly love others without conditions and expectations.

Guess Mum knew what she was talking about all along.

Did you read my post How to Help Your Kids Keep Self Love Alive?

Click here to receive your free PRACTICAL STEPS TO SELF-LOVE GUIDE and JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF YOUR HEART  game template.

Wishing you love and a gleeful week, Tamuria.





  • Feeling nostalgic as I read the quote from The Desiderata, Tamuria, back in my own teenage years with lots of acne that was making a dent in my self-confidence and the tough time I gave my poor parents with my litany on love. I think our parents know a lot because they’ve been there and done that.

    I guess it is part of the rites of passage that we learn to appreciate ourselves and our uniqueness as we grow older. Part of my daily ritual is to do something for myself simply to shower some love on me, like reading a book, putting on nail polish or even if it means watching MasterChef Australia with Miss Coco insisting she be groomed when a Pressure Cooking Test is on. 🙂

    • The Desiderata got me through some tough times growing up Vastsala. Sounds like those words helped you too.I love that you watch Masterchef Australia – it’s one of my treats for self too.I think you’re right, learning to appreciate ourselves is part of the rites of passage we need to go through, it would be awesome if we always realized our uniqueness and importance.

  • A few months ago I joined a FB group called Leaders in Self-Love. The diversified women have traveled many paths to become the awesome coaches and humans that they are. (You should join this group). What I became certain of over months of reading fabulous blogs about self-love is that it was my main survival skill growing up. Growing up in the insecurities of foster care, I could only depend on myself for all my needs, including worthiness & loving myself. In adulthood, I professionally studied related fields & enforced my instincts.
    Now I am seeing many conversations about it on FB & in blogs & feel fortunate that I mastered it long ago. I think your decision to teach it, pass on steps as a guide is inspiring & many can use it.

    • It’s wonderful how you turned the difficulties and insecurities of your childhood into a profession to help others, Roz, making less than fabulous experiences into such a positive thing. It took me a long time to get there, with self-love, but once I did I realised it wasn’t so hard. I really do hope my tips help others.I’m going to check out that group for sure.

  • It is so challenging at times to understand when and why we stop practicing self-love. It sounds like through your own experiences, Tami, you have become much more aware and are now sharing your practical self-love tips with others. My belief is that as we journey through our life, we are sent experiences that will test us and that the ultimate intention is to learn about ourselves and to strengthen our acceptance and understanding of who we are. When we watch children it seems as if they really get this and marvel at every part of themselves. Thanks for the exquisite quotes in this post too! Each of them spoke volumes to me for different reasons.

    • I agree, Beverley, it’s hard to understand how we lose something we are clearly born with. It’s like we have to get away from ourselves in order to come back to us. I love sharing the wise words of others – glad you liked the quotes. The Desiderata quote was always a favourite as for a long time I really didn’t feel like I belonged or had a right to be here.

  • What a great reminder! I love all the quotes and am going to share them all. I totally agree that if we love ourselves we will be able to love someone else more fully. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • It’s nice to explore the meaning and journey of self love. Afterall, we have webster saying it not much pride or value in yourself ….that makes me scratch my head. I like to think that we are miracles and miracles made from divine love. Our job is to honor the love that was bestowed on us long before physical form. Thank you for a lovely post.

  • Absolutely agree we must have self acceptance and self love to be able to love freely in life. Great post

  • I just love this, Tamaria. We know this in our heads, no? But we have to get it in our hearts. I especially love: “You can’t give love with a closed and protected heart.” That stopped me this morning, as I’ve just tried to do exactly that, with semi-disastrous results. LOL. Needed to hear that right now!
    Great post.

  • For me, my self love grew once I realized my place in respect to God. I am His child. When I keep that in perspective…He created me and loved me into being, I know that I can and do love myself. Then it flows to others. Thanks for the article.

  • Ugghhhhhh, great stuff… and such a valid point… we can’t give love away when we don’t love ourselves enough to give it to us… and it’s not their job to validate us.. we have to do that work. I struggle with self love and not sure why… still working on it. Thanks for all of the positive reminders.

    • It took me so long to understand that concept Kristen – that we can’t give love away if we can’t give it to ourselves. I’ve got it now but I still struggle with moments of self-doubt, especially when I look outwards for validation.

  • Hi Tamuria,
    Self-love is so important and I love all of the tips you shared in your post thank you 🙂 Really enjoyed!!

  • What a wonderful post. I’ve always had this motto that you can’t help others until you’ve learned to help yourself. And, the same with love. Trying to love others so you will be loved or seeking the love of others to validate your own being, rarely works out in the long run. When you’re able to love yourself first then relationships of love with others are more authentic. Thank you for also pairing such beautiful images with such beautiful quotes.

    • True on both counts, Joyce – you need to be able to help yourself before you can help others and you need self-love before you can love others without expectations and conditions.

  • Tamara, I started reading your post, and thought about the quote from the Desiderata – and as I read on, you yourself had quoted it. I share my time in Nebraska close to Rosebud Indian Reservation, and in Southern Illinois in a rural area. Both places have an extremely high rate of teen suicide – such a hideous state of hopelessness. If I could wish one thing for these kids, it would be self-love. I tend to think we should teach it in our schools.

    • Teaching it in school is a brilliant idea, Joan – teenagers really struggle with this. I think so many mental illnesses could be avoided if there was more self-love. How amazing you thought of that Desiderata quote before reading it on the post.

  • Well said! Too many women (in particular) equate self-love with egotism — to the point that they are completely self-abnegating. Everyone and everything comes before they do, which is a clear and sure path to self-destruction. As I like to tell my coaching clients, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Take care of — and love — yourself first, and everything else falls into place.

    • So true, Jackie. We tend to do for everyone else and neglect ourselves to prove our worth, then everything falls to pieces which can lead to serious physical and mental health issues.

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