When you make a mistake, how do you talk to yourself? Is it the same way you would talk to a loved one or are you harsh and overly tough with yourself?

How much is your worth connected to your productivity and what you can do for others? Do you feel worthy of love simply because you exist? 

This episode is all about what self-love actually is and what it looks like in action because there are a lot of myths out there (hint: it’s not just about getting a mani/pedi).

You’ll learn some indications of having a deficit of self-love and ideas on how you can create more rock-solid self-love, because you deserve it, my friend!

Prefer the audio? Listen here.

One of the easiest ways to build more real self-love is to raise our awareness of where it might be lacking. How can you tell if you might have a deficit of self-love? Here are some common signs and symptoms for you to consider:

  • You have an inner mean committee.

What does your internal monologue sound like on a daily basis? How about when you make a mistake? Think about the things you say to yourself on auto-pilot. Are they things you would say to a child you cherish or someone you love? Is it something you would say to a stranger? If that’s a no, it’s time to become more mindful of your self-talk, so you can begin to replace negative commentary with loving, compassionate words to yourself.  

  • You have the “Disease to Please”.

The people-pleasing syndrome is a symptom of a lack of self-love. Most of us who have the disease to please are motivated by external validation- and that means there is a deficit of internal validation or self-worth. If we are looking outside of ourselves for something, it means there is something missing on the inside – make sense? 

It is normal and human to want positive feedback from the people in our VIP section. But people-pleasers are extreme in seeking validation – we want it from everyone and anyone- it’s exhausting.

  • Disordered Boundaries

This can include over-giving, over-functioning, feeling overly responsible for the feeling states and the situations of others, and codependency. When you have disordered boundaries, you often end up last on your own list. Again, it is exhausting and I always say, that’s a one-way ticket to Bitter Town, and it’s no way to live. When we have disordered boundaries, we are putting the people in our lives in an impossible situation, because we are looking to them to fill the hole only self-love can ever fill. 


  • Undervaluing Your Accomplishments

Another indication of a lack of self-love and self-esteem is minimizing your own achievements. Have you ever made self-deprecating comments when someone compliments you? You might put yourself down so you don’t threaten others. Many of us have been taught it’s not good to feel too good about ourselves. We don’t want to seem like we have a “big head”. These narrative and behavioral patterns are usually normalized in childhood. You might have seen one or both of your parental impactors putting themselves down and internalized the message that that is what it looks like to be a good person. 

But this behavior indicates a lack of self-love. There is nothing wrong with feeling good about the hard work that you do and the things that you’ve achieved. Celebrating yourself is important. 

Self-love is the only path to any other healthy love. Your level of self-love and the way you treat yourself sets the bar for every other relationship in your life. When we set the bar high, we are modeling behavior for the people in our lives by the way we relate to ourselves. 

So what can you do to build more self-love? 

Commit to cultivating self-knowledge. What do you really want in life? How do you want to feel every day? Those who take the time to really, deeply know themselves tend to curate and accumulate more self-love because they are dialed into their true feelings, preferences, desires, needs, and deal breakers. These are the things you have to know about yourself to create the kind of life and relationships you want. 

If you know your preferences, you can act on that knowledge, rather than what other people think your preferences should be. When you know your feelings and your needs, you can share them- you can talk true. Knowing yourself allows you to make decisions aligned with your actual truth, but that is only possible when you take the time and energy to deeply understand why you are the way you are. 

Knowing what you truly want and how you authentically feel is a radical act of self-love and only you can do that because you’re the only one who knows! 

Flexing your self-compassion muscle is another way to build real self-love. Time to get that inner mean committee under control! Give yourself a break. All too often we can forget to give ourselves time and space when we need it. Many of us are living in a culture obsessed with achievement and productivity, where it’s hustle and go, go, go all the time. It is so incredibly unhealthy when we are out of balance. 

Commit to taking care of yourself. Having high standards isn’t the same as over-working, over-giving, or over-doing. Self-compassion means dialing into how you feel, which means dialing into what you need. As a recovering workaholic, I spent years plowing through to just get it done, telling myself things like, “I just need to get through the holidays,” or, “I just need to get through this launch and then I’ll take a break…” but you know what? 

It is not self-loving to spend our lives in a future that never comes. Give yourself permission to take time to self-nurture, to fill up your own bucket, and to treat yourself with the same compassion and care you would the people you love, right now. 

Practicing self-forgiveness cultivates more self-love. There can be such a double-standard where we are forgiving of others, but when it comes to ourselves, we are ready to rake ourselves over the coals by reliving our mistakes. It isn’t helpful and in fact, it’s downright mean. Our job in life is to learn from our experiences and when we make mistakes, to find the gems in that crap stew (as I like to say). I promise you, if you are willing to get your hands dirty and roll up your sleeves, there is a gem of wisdom in there for you, but you have to do the work to find them and forgive yourself for when you mess up. 

Another way to begin building more self-love is to identify and challenge the limiting beliefs you have about yourself. Sometimes I call this “crushing your racket”. Your racket is the story you have about your worth, your capabilities or your potential that might be hindering your ability to cultivate self-love. It’s the self-sabotaging BS you tell yourself. 

My original racket was that I was born the wrong gender. For much of my young life, I told myself a story that my father wanted a boy instead of a 4th daughter (me). I spent years trying to prove something because of that limiting racket. According to my mother, it wasn’t even true, but my young mind created a story telling me it would have been better if I were assigned a different gender at birth. It had a dual purpose of explaining why my father was emotionally unavailable and distant, but it made me feel bad about myself and contributed to my perfectionism, workaholism, and people-pleasing for far too long. 


So what’s your racket? Think about the ways you fight for your limitations. Do you say things like- “Oh I’m terrible at math” or “I always pick the wrong partner” or “I’m too broken to be fixed” ? Inside this week’s downloadable guide, I’ll give you a few questions to help you begin to figure out what your racket is, so be sure to download it here now. 

Nothing is more self-loving than creating and maintaining healthy boundaries. So get your boundary house in order! When your boundaries are disordered, you can’t actively prioritize or care for yourself. If you need more help around this, I wrote a whole book about it! Boundary Boss: The Essential Guide to Talk True, Be Seen, and (finally) Live Free is an incredible stepping stone to creating rock-solid self-love. 

I would love to know what your thoughts are about this, so please, drop me a comment here (I read every one!) or connect with me on Instagram @terricole

I hope you have an amazing week flexing your self-love muscle, and as always take care of you.

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  1. My therapist suggested your book and I found it very informative and right-on when I did set boundaries with friends and/or partners. Sad but true. I appreciate your weekly emails of support, insight and guidance. Thank you!

  2. Hi — and first — wow — thank you. I have your book, have done the mother and the boundary courses. And / but i REALLY needed this today and it brought everything together. bam bam bam. THANK YOU. the gift of suddenly feeling emotionally and physically relieved, and whole, is beyond description and priceless. you are so generous with what you make available. THANK YOU.

  3. Self love – – I am learning this at 64 years young! This sets the bar for every other relationship in our life.

    Thank you Terri – – I am learning who I am and how to love me! I will no longer look outside myself for validation and love. I need to do the work to know myself.
    Your book, boundary bootcamp, newlsetter, instagram and facebook posts – have been a tremendous help for me to be able to use the tools to tranform myself and grow!

    Thank you for all your knowlege and caring –


  4. Self acceptance and love don’t always come naturally to me. I am having to write down my own self-imposed limitations and expectations. I have felt squashed down for years and never understanding why this has been so difficult. I actually am proud of my accomplishments earlier on in my life. I have no idea what hit me after that epoch in my 20’s. It has been like operating in a space where I have no control. It sounds so strange in writing but so very true. Thanks for you video today. ❤️

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