How To Understand and Love Yourself

3 simple steps to discovering the magic of self-love and understanding.


Are you struggling to find your true self and understand what you are all about? Do you ever ask yourself why you can’t feel satisfied no matter how hard you try? I know the feeling. We’ve all been there.

How To Understand and Love Yourself

When I was much younger I liked pink, shiny notebooks and pens, and enjoyed sniffing and reading old books. I was always happy when it rained because rain meant that people stayed indoors and I was free to wander the streets alone. I loved reading romance novels and dreaming of finding my perfect guy who’d love me for who I am. I knew exactly what I wanted, I had ginormous dreams, and I was not going to let anything stop me. Except, my dreams were one thing but the reality was another.

“Being a little weird is a natural side-effect of being awesome.” Sue Fitzmaurice

I remember sitting in my doctor’s office thinking that there was something seriously wrong with me. After a few psychometric assessments that were conducted to help me “cure” my sleepwalking phenomenon, the doctor concluded that I was an introvert and that if I wanted to succeed in life, I had to work on becoming a more socially acceptable individual.

Naturally, I had a hard time fitting in. I was a quiet, skinny girl with huge pink glasses who was labeled as weird and different, bullied throughout early school years. I hated going to crowded parties and found comfort in reading, curled up in my bed. Later on in life, I became an emotional eater, addicted to sugar, to help me deal with my struggles. I suffered in a toxic relationship with a manipulator who lied and cheated, and made me believe that I was hard to love. I went out of my way to adapt and be that perfect girl in his eyes but no matter how hard I tried I could never be “normal” like all other women, as he wanted me to be. I was too quiet, too smiley, too thankful, too skinny, too emotional, too caring, too weird. And there was no way I could please everyone.

I suffered in a toxic relationship with a manipulator who lied and cheated, and made me believe that I was hard to love. I went out of my way to adapt and be that perfect girl in his eyes but no matter how hard I tried I could never be “normal” like all other women, as he wanted me to be. I was too quiet, too smiley, too thankful, too skinny, too emotional, too caring, too weird. And there was no way I could please everyone. But back then, I didn’t see it that way.

How To Understand and Love Yourself

I’d spend sleepless nights dwelling on a simple mistake that had no impact on my life but I worried how others would perceive it. While pretending to be someone I was not, I became the most authentic people pleaser, paralyzed by perfectionism and fear of not being good enough. I was crippled by the need to constantly justify my actions and thoughts. To put it simply, I became my own worst enemy. And all because I couldn’t define who I was or what I wanted.

Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever doubted your inner guidance and that little girl in you who always knew the way; who’s been strong and passionate about the things you kept yourself away from because others told you that you’re not smart enough, pretty enough, or good enough? How many times have you convinced yourself that your dreams are too big and pointless, and simply gave up?

After years of searching and learning about myself, my biggest revelation came about after a written exercise I did several years ago. And from that moment on I slowly started making changes that influenced my life in a big way and helped me create the life I live todayWith a decision to change, my life became peaceful. I became calm. I put an end to letting others influence me in a negative way, telling me what I should do. I detached from everything that was not helping me grow. I finally found the courage to leave the toxic relationship I was in that was causing me so much pain and frustration. I changed my eating habits. I declared to myself that “I don’t eat sugar” and found other ways to make my mind happy. I turned to creativity instead.

When I found who I’ve always been, I put the pieces back together and reinvented myself. But most importantly, when I realized what people think of me has nothing to do with me, I really stopped caring about their opinion.

How To Understand and Love Yourself

Today, I share with you the exercise that helped me change my mindset. If you have a tendency to question everything about your life and yourself because of low self-esteem, this exercise is perfect for you. Before you start, make sure you find a quiet place where you can answer the questions in peace. Write everything that comes to mind. Remember that no one can see your answers, so be brutally honest with yourself.

Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. Who/What do I want to be?
  3. How do I want to feel?

When I did this exercise back in 2008, I answered with the following (these are the actual answers I wrote in my journal):

1. I am…

  • a caring, good-hearted person
  • an introvert
  • an emotional eater
  • a sugar addict
  • a broken woman with low self-esteem
  • finding it hard to enjoy life sometimes
  • unworthy
  • a paralyzed perfectionist
  • fat (I was never actually overweight but I saw myself that way)
  • am not hard to love

2. I want to…

  • be able to be ME – carefree, bold, brave and free – who I was when I was a little girl
  • follow my intuition
  • trust myself
  • respect myself
  • be FREE.

3. I want to feel…

  • loved and appreciated
  • free to live a life I love, confident in myself and everything I do, not caring about small people’s opinions
  • happy and in love with myself for who I’ve always been
  • fulfilled – to realize all my childhood dreams and prove to myself that I can make it happen

So how did this exercise help me?

  1. It helped me learn to love the truth; to be honest with myself first and then with others – about what I need, how I feel, and who I am. No matter how harsh and unpleasant it may have seemed, once I wrote it down and became aware of it, the truth really was the first thing that set me free.
  2. I learned to filter information and focus on what really matters. I refuse to give my time to negative people and thoughts. If something is poisoning my mind and soul I simply won’t give it a chance to enter my life.
  3. It helped me let go of the past. Sure, it was hard and some scars can never be removed, but it is so wonderfully liberating not to be imprisoned by the thoughts and actions that once made me feel so small.

And once I accepted for who I am, the most magical thing happened. I met that perfect guy I dreamt about since childhood. I met my soul mate. No wait, I manifested him. I went back to my old journals, found my letters and notes to him, and invited him into my life. And the moment I met him, I knew it was him – this was the guy I dreamt about for so long.

Even though it was hard to believe that he was really in my life, being with him felt right. It felt natural. It felt the way I wanted to feel. I found someone who finally accepted me with all my weirdness, creativity, and quirky obsession with stationery and journaling; who never questioned my lifelong vegetarianism and why I later became a vegan, and who understood my need for stillness and calm, away from the world when it was time to re-energize.

I love him for who he is and I would never ever want him to change because he is the only one who learned to love imperfect me, perfectly.

Now here’s the most important part: You are who you think you are. Not what people think of you or want you to be. You are you and that is all that matters. When you accept yourself with all your flaws and imperfections you understand that most of these negative thoughts you’ve been feeding your beautiful mind with for years came from other sources, not you. They came from your surroundings that you blindly followed and believed in.

Learning who you are and knowing your sensitivities and strengths will give you great confidence to do anything you want in life. Always remember that you are not defined by your past, your previous relationships and actions. You don’t need validation from anyone. You decide who you are, how you feel, and what you want.

Finally, I want to share with you a few powerful words that my coach said to me when I started my journey of self-discovery, “Darling, just friggin’ own it!”

Share the love in the comments below, and let us know how this exercise helped you find yourself.

Avatar of Tee R. Sebastien

Having lived on four different continents and traveled all over the world, Tee found an incredible sense of freedom and self-appreciation while wandering. She is a women’s personal growth coach, writer, and the author of The WindFinder. Tee enjoys long walks on the beach after the rain, early morning stillness, and writing her very own romance novel. She blogs at Grow Brilliant

Reader Discussion: 117 Comments

  1. Avatar of Lorena Tucci

    That’s a really great exercise. The first step to acceptance is finding out what you really want and who you really are. After that, the rest just follows. I also recommend that you add something that asks about what do you want to tell your inner child. Most of the time, we become adults that our inner child won’t approve of. Maybe that inner child can bring out the best in us because childhood was the time that our dreams were so pure and our minds aren’t as clouded as it is right now.

  2. Avatar of Ada Rodriquez

    Ada Rodriquez

    If none of us are weird, the world would be really boring. Having your own quirks is normal and that’s what makes us unique! ✨

    • Avatar of Cecilia Little

      Cecilia Little

      Whoever said that being weird is wrong, is BORING.?‍♀️

  3. Avatar of Jenny Palmer

    Jenny Palmer

    It took me a while to realize that I deserve better in life and that I can’t always be pushed around by other people.

  4. Avatar of Mary Garcia

    Mary Garcia

    I’m going to let my friends do this exercise. Most of us are caught up in our busy lives and we forget the essence of why we are really doing this. I think this exercise can keep us on track.

  5. Avatar of Winifred Baldwin

    Winifred Baldwin

    Tried this exercise and whoa, I didn’t think I would write those things. I really discovered a lot about myself. It was a really great experience.

  6. Avatar of Mattie Beck

    Mattie Beck

    When people can’t accept who they really are, they try to be someone else that they’re not and that’s where the problem occurs. You really have to accept who you are first so that you can become the best version of you. If you’re trying to improve yourself and that’s not even who you really are, then who are you fooling? You will never be happy like that because you’re defying a lot of things about who you really are. Stop being a people pleaser. I know that most of us only try to be someone else because others can’t seem to appreciate who we are.

    • Avatar of Gloria Castillo

      Gloria Castillo

      Well, we live in the world where being YOU is a disgrace. Sad, right?!!

  7. Avatar of Alison Faulkner

    Alison Faulkner

    Recognize who you are first before you can start your journey to a better you. It’s important that you know what you really want to achieve as well because… Where would you go if you don’t know where you’re going? ?

  8. Avatar of Mary Leest

    Mary Leest

    Even if you have no issues about yourself, it’s still good to do this exercise. It can be for self-improvement or simply finding out more about who you really are.

  9. Avatar of Shannon Harper

    Shannon Harper

    One thing that blinded me about loving myself is money. My dreams used to consist of careers that I wanted to pursue. But now, I just want a career that will give me big money. I think I’m sailing in the wrong boat.?

  10. Avatar of Patsy Nichols

    Patsy Nichols

    There will always be people who will tell you that you’re not enough. At some point you will feel like they’re right but please don’t listen to them. Know yourself enough to that you know what you’re capable of and just go for your dreams. A lot of people say that I’m all talk and less of action, but I don’t think that’s it. I’m still building my dreams and I think I’m just taking a little longer than others… Maybe because I struggle a lot because people always tell me that I can’t do it.

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