Do you find it hard to “love yourself”? Then try this instead…

Do you find it hard to “love yourself”? Then try this instead…

by Dr Happy (aka Dr Tim Sharp)

I don’t know about you, but I have to admit that I’ve always struggled a bit with the recommendation to love myself.

I mean in principle it sounds fine; but in reality, it sounds a bit like a prompt to be arrogant, vain, self-centred and narcissistic!

Now it could be argued, and in fact I’ve often argued exactly this, that it simply comes down to how you define the phrase “love yourself”. Which is exactly what this post is all about. And so today I’m offering an alternative definition that might, for some, be more palatable and, therefore, easier to adopt.

What if, rather than trying to love ourselves we tried instead to take care of ourselves? 

We all recognise the importance of and benefits associated with self-care when it comes to physical health. That is, few would argue with the importance of eating well, exercising regularly and getting adequate sleep.

Without these “self-care” type activities we’ll become sick and tired and then, we’ll be of little or no use to anyone.

So what if we applied the same approach to psychological self-care?

Surely it’s no less important to look after our minds and our hearts as it is our muscles and our guts?!?!

Accepting this, for me anyway, seems easier and less “selfish” than trying to “love myself” (even if the ultimate outcome is the same).

And so if, like me, you’re interested in doing more to care for yourself psychologically then I’ve put together a short list of do’s and don’ts for your consideration:

  • DO set aside time to clarify your life goals, priorities and values. These should act as guideposts and traffic lights, to keep you on track and help you avoid distractions
  • DO focus on what’s going well, as much or more as you think about what you can do about what’s not going well
  • DO make time to develop and foster close friendships; when it comes to happiness and wellbeing, other people really matter
  • DO more of what you’re great at; use your strengths to be your best and even, to overcome your challenges
  • DO have fun; life’s far too important to be taken too seriously!


  • DON’T be overly self-critical or harsh on yourself; it’s normal to have negative thoughts at times, but self-care involves self-managing these before they¬†manage you
  • DON’T compare yourself to others; they’re travelling their path and you’re on yours. The fact they’re different does NOT mean one is right or wrong
  • DON’T be afraid to reach out and ask for help; self-care can and should involve letting others in
  • DON’T put off what you need to do; NOW is the time to take care of yourself so you can be at your best today and tomorrow
  • DON’T think of self-care as being selfish. The better you care for yourself, the better you can care for others!

As always, I hope you find this helpful and I hope you can find a way to implement these suggestions in to your life for more health, happiness and success. As always, also, feel free to get in touch if you have any comments or suggestions.