The 5 Building Blocks of Self-Love: The Essential Guide

The five building blocks of self-love are essential components of a successful, healthy, and happy life.

We all have an intimate relationship with ourselves, yet many people struggle with accepting their strengths, weaknesses, and idiosyncrasies as part of who they are. Even those who you deem to have a record of success in their lives

By understanding and implementing the five building blocks of self-love—patience, resilience, courage, compassion, and healthy self-esteem—you can gain a greater appreciation for yourself and your life. Learning to cultivate these qualities can lead to an increased sense of satisfaction with life and a stronger connection with yourself.

Each of these building blocks serves as a foundation that helps you move forward on your journey with more confidence and self-assurance. Whether it’s in difficult times or during times of joy, having a strong sense of self-love will help you embrace all aspects of your life.

In this guide, I will share practical strategies for honing your inner voice so that you can utilize your newfound knowledge to embrace yourself wholeheartedly—no matter what comes your way! Creative man relaxing on the sofa, practising yourself love

What is Self-Love?

Self-love is the practise of recognising your own worth and taking positive steps that improve your life in meaningful ways.

This includes developing healthy habits and setting realistic goals, being mindful of your thoughts and feelings, and treating yourself with respect. Positive psychology outlines that self-love is essential for leading a meaningful and fulfilling life.

It's about valuing yourself as an individual and accepting all aspects of your identity so that you can make positive choices that lead to a happier everyday life.

Below, we will cover the five building blocks for development, growth, and self-love.

Creative entrepreneur, happy because she'd practice self love

The 5 Building Blocks to Self-Love

There are five building blocks of self-love, which consist of trust, self-awareness, belonging, purpose, and success. Understanding these will help you develop greater amounts of self-love and a happier life.

Just jump straight into outlining the five building blocks.

1. Trust

Trust is one of the most important mental building blocks of self-love. When we learn to trust ourselves, it creates inner peace and happiness that radiate outward into our relationships and other aspects of our lives.

Understand what trust is

Trust is the foundation for any relationship, including the one you have with yourself. It is about having faith in your own capacity to make decisions and knowing that you are capable of making choices that are right for you.

Trusting yourself allows you to be honest with yourself and to feel secure in who you are. It helps you recognise when something isn’t working and encourages you to take the steps to make changes.

Learn how to believe in yourself

Believing in yourself is a key component of building self-trust.

It means having faith in your own capabilities and being comfortable with who you are. Learning to have confidence in yourself can be difficult, but it’s important for developing trust.

Establish rules and boundaries with yourself

Establishing rules and boundaries with yourself is an important part of trusting yourself.

It means setting limits on your own behaviour, creating a plan for how to respond when those limits are crossed, and providing yourself with positive feedback when you stick to those rules. This can help you stay true to your values, even when it’s difficult.

Cultivate openness

Cultivating openness means being willing to accept yourself, including your mistakes and imperfections.

Openness also involves releasing the need to be perfect and embracing your flaws with kindness and understanding. When you learn to be more open with yourself, it will create a deeper sense of trust in your own decisions and actions.

Be compassionate with yourself

Developing self-compassion is essential for building trust and, ultimately, self-love. It means taking the time to recognise your own humanity and treating yourself with kindness and respect, even when you make mistakes.

Practising self-esteem builders such as positive affirmations, gratitude exercises, and mindful meditation can help you build a more compassionate, warm relationship with yourself. Self-compassion also involves being mindful of your thoughts and feelings and recognising when they’re getting in the way of your goals.

Now that you have a better understanding of pillar one, "trust," let's cover pillar two, "self."

Creative entrepreneur working at his laptop

2. Self

Self-love is an essential building block of personal growth and development. It involves having a healthy level of self-respect, which is essential for leading a healthy lifestyle and promoting mental well-being.

Self-love also helps form the foundation for many relationships in our lives, allowing us to create positive connections with others. Healthy self-respect means recognizing your own worth, valuing yourself as an individual, and knowing that you are deserving of love and respect from others.

Understand your core values

Your core values are the beliefs and principles that guide you in making decisions.

By understanding your core values, you can better identify which paths are best for you and create boundaries that promote self-love. These values act as a compass for taking action and ensure that you remain true to who you are as a loving person who possesses admirable qualities.

Develop positive self-talk

The way we talk to ourselves has a powerful effect on how we feel about ourselves. Developing positive self-talk can help you cultivate greater self-love by replacing negative thoughts with more encouraging ones.

Positive self-talk involves recognizing and accepting your own mistakes, celebrating your strengths and successes, and speaking to yourself with kindness and compassion, as opposed to judgment and criticism.

Challenge unhelpful thinking patterns

We can do this by recognising and replacing negative thoughts with positive qualities that we admire in ourselves.

This could include focusing on our strengths, accomplishments, and successes rather than the negative aspects of a situation. By embracing our positive qualities, we build trust in ourselves and cultivate a greater sense of self-love.

The first step to challenging these patterns is to recognise them when they arise. Once we become aware of our thoughts, we can start to challenge them and replace them with more positive, helpful ones.

Be gentle with yourself when making mistakes

Mistakes are inevitable, and it is important to be kind to oneself rather than be overly critical or hard on yourself. This means accepting that mistakes happen, recognising them for what they are, and using them as learning opportunities rather than dwelling on them.

Being hard on yourself when you have to make a mistake or you deem you have failed does not serve you positively and, in fact, holds you back from achieving your goals for longer.

Celebrate your wins and achievements

Celebrating your wins and achievements means acknowledging the hard work you’ve put in and recognising yourself for the progress you’ve made. Celebrating your successes can help boost your confidence and motivate you to pursue new goals.

Take time for self-care and reflection

Self-care and reflection are essential for cultivating self-love and promoting loving, warm relationships. Taking the time to look after yourself physically and mentally is vital for your well-being. This could include getting adequate sleep, eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, or engaging in activities that bring you joy.

Reflection involves taking the time to observe your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in order to gain insight into how they are impacting your life. Reflection can help you recognise patterns that may be holding you back from achieving your goals so that you can make changes and move forward in a more positive direction.

Surround yourself with positive people and environments

Surrounding yourself with positive people and environments can help cultivate self-love by allowing you to tap into your true nature.

Look for individuals who have qualities that inspire you, such as kindness, compassion, generosity, and positivity. Being around these kinds of individuals can remind you of your own positive qualities and motivate you to keep striving for your goals.

It is also important to take time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in order to reflect on who you are at your core and embrace your true nature.

Focus on your strengths and unique abilities

Focus on your strengths and unique abilities to cultivate healthy self-esteem.

Recognizing the skills, talents, and qualities that make you unique and special can help increase your confidence and motivate you to keep striving for success. By focusing on these positive attributes, you will be better able to recognise your own worth and value yourself more deeply.

Recognising your personal gifts can increase your confidence and allow you to love yourself. It is also important to recognise that everyone has weaknesses and flaws, which are part of the human experience. By focusing on your strengths, you may be better able to accept yourself and foster self-love.

Love yourself wholeheartedly

Loving yourself wholeheartedly means embracing all aspects of yourself, both positive and negative.

It involves recognising that true self-acceptance is achieved by honouring your emotions, thoughts, and feelings without judgement. By being mindful of this unconditional love for yourself, you can foster a deeper connection with your true self and recognise that you are worthy of love no matter what.

Wholehearted self-love involves embracing all aspects of life, both the difficult and the beautiful. This includes being kind to yourself in moments of failure or imperfection, recognising your own strengths and celebrating your successes, trusting your judgement, valuing yourself and making decisions based on your needs and values, and believing in yourself.

With the pillar of "self" covered, let's proceed to the pillar of "belonging."

Lady practising self love sat in the bath drinking

3. Belonging

Belonging is an essential component of self-love, as it allows us to have healthy, warm relationships and feel included. This article will provide a thorough guide to help you understand the importance of feeling like you belong and how to find and maintain that sense of belonging.

Understanding what it means to belong

Belonging is about feeling connected to something larger than ourselves, whether it is a family, community, or group of friends.

Having positive self-esteem and a sense of purpose in life can help us feel accepted, appreciated, and respected by others. Belonging involves having a sense of security and being able to rely on the support of those around us when we need it most.

Feeling like you fit in and are valued by others can contribute to a greater overall sense of well-being.

Exploring your need for belonging

Exploring your need for belonging can help you better understand what it is that gives you a sense of connection and purpose. Reflecting on the people, activities, and environments that make you feel accepted, valued, and connected can provide valuable insight into your need for belonging.

It is also important to consider how your need for belonging is impacted by external factors such as your culture, family, and environment.

Finding ways to connect with others

Finding ways to connect with others is an important part of cultivating a sense of belonging. It is essential to find healthy, meaningful relationships that are supportive and positive.

This can involve connecting with family, friends, and other people in your community or joining groups or activities that interest you.

It is also important to remember that a connection does not always have to be face-to-face. Finding ways to connect online can also foster a sense of belonging.

building networks of supportive people

It is important to build warm relationships with people who will encourage and support you and who will help you grow as an individual.

This can involve connecting with family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, and other people in your community. It can also be beneficial to seek out mentors or role models who have achieved what you want to achieve.

Practising self-acceptance

True self-acceptance is about embracing all aspects of who you are, including your flaws and shortcomings. It involves recognising that you are worthy of love and respect, regardless of your mistakes or imperfections. Practising self-acceptance means being kind to yourself, forgiving yourself for any mistakes, and allowing yourself to achieve complete acceptance.

Learning to accept yourself can be a difficult process, but it can be incredibly rewarding. However, please remember that there is no such thing as perfection and to strive for self-compassion and understanding.

Celebrating your uniqueness

Celebrating your uniqueness is an important part of self-love. It involves acknowledging and appreciating the unique qualities, strengths, and talents that make you who you are.

This can involve taking pride in your accomplishments, having positive thoughts about yourself, and learning to appreciate the things that make you stand out from the crowd. Celebrating your uniqueness can also involve setting personal goals.

Recognising toxic connections and removing negative influences

Recognizing and removing bad people from your life is an essential part of cultivating a sense of belonging.

It is important to be aware of relationships that are not healthy or supportive and to take action to remove them. Negative influences can have a detrimental effect on your mental health and well-being, so it is important to identify these connections and make the necessary changes for the sake of your own well-being.

Sometimes it can be difficult to let go of relationships that have been in our lives for a long time, but it is important to remember that the well-being of yourself and your loved ones is the most important thing.

We're now onto the penultimate pillar of "purpose." Without further ado, let's jump straight in.

Two men practising self love

4. Purpose

In order to start the journey of self-love, one must first realise what their purpose in life is. Knowing your purpose and actively striving towards it can help increase your self-worth and overall satisfaction.

Discover your purpose

Discovering your purpose can be a difficult but rewarding journey. Taking the time to reflect on what brings you joy and fulfilment, as well as understanding how the world around you can shape your goals, can help you find a sense of purpose, thereby enabling you to live a happy life.

You may want to consider asking yourself questions such as "What do I value?" "What am I passionate about?" and "What do I want to achieve?"

It can take weeks, months, and even years to fully work out your purpose, so it's worth starting now and getting ahead of the rest.

Develop a meaningful goal

By setting achievable goals for yourself, you can start to make positive changes in your life and set yourself up for future success.

This could involve anything from learning a new skill or hobby to starting a business or even volunteering in your local community. Having a meaningful goal will give you something to strive for, helping to increase your sense of purpose and motivation.

No matter what kind of goal you set for yourself, it's important to make sure that it has real meaning and purpose for you. If you would like some help setting goals, take a look at the linked article. It will help you set meaningful goals that will help you achieve success.

Remember that happiness comes from within

Remember that happiness comes from within, and it is, therefore, important to recognise that true joy and contentment in life can only come from within yourself.

Making time to appreciate the small moments of joy in your life, such as a good cup of coffee, a sunny day, or a moment of laughter with friends, can help remind you that happiness comes from within.

It is also important to be mindful of how you speak to yourself and to focus on positive thoughts. Learning to accept and embrace your flaws, imperfections, and mistakes is key to developing a sense of self-love.

Take time for self-care

Taking care of your health and self-esteem is essential to cultivating a sense of self-love.

Self-care encompasses both physical and mental aspects and can involve anything from getting enough sleep and exercising to taking breaks throughout the day, practising relaxation techniques, or even just spending quality time with yourself.

Taking regular time out for self-care allows you to check in with yourself and ensure that your physical and mental health is taken care of. This can help boost your self-confidence as well as your overall well-being.

It's important to remember that self-care does not have to be expensive or complicated; it can be as simple as taking a few moments to breathe deeply and ground yourself in the present moment.

A great tool to help you find clarity in what to do and enable you to be more productive is The Morning Mindset Journal, which will help you start the day how you mean to go on.

Create a positive social support system

Creating a positive social support system is an important part of developing self-love. It's key to find people who are supportive and understanding and can help lift you up when times get tough.

It's also beneficial to surround yourself with individuals who celebrate your successes, as this can boost your sense of self-worth and make you feel appreciated.

A great way to start expanding your social circle is to join a local community or club, as this can help you meet new people with similar interests. By investing in these relationships and actively working towards meaningful connections, you will be able to create a supportive social network that will help to nurture your sense of self-love.

Be kind to yourself

Please remember that self-love isn't just about celebrating your successes; it is also about being kind and gentle with yourself even when you make mistakes or face difficult moments.

When faced with difficult moments or negative feelings, it is important to focus on the positive aspects of the situation and to be kind and understanding towards yourself. Instead of being hard on yourself, try to talk kindly to yourself and give yourself a break if needed.

Embrace your emotions with understanding and compassion, as this will help you cultivate a sense of self-love and acceptance. Practising self-compassion can help reduce feelings of shame or guilt, allowing you to make peace with yourself and create a healthier relationship with yourself.

When feeling overwhelmed, it can be difficult to be kind to yourself. A couple of great ways to alleviate these feelings of overwhelm are to journal, meditate, or do both.

The final pillar of self-love is success. Without self-love, success is not sustainably possible, and without an understanding of what success looks like to you, you risk constantly pushing in the wrong direction in search of something that you don't actually know you're searching for.

 Happy creative lady practising self love

5. Success

No matter what kind of future success you’re looking to achieve, building self-love is an essential part of the journey. Here is an essential guide on how to do just that.

Understand your values and priorities

Taking the time to identify your positive qualities, such as family, friends, career goals, or hobbies, can help you make decisions that are in line with your values and prioritise activities that bring you the most joy.

Knowing what matters most to you can help ensure that you stay true to yourself and focus on building self-love through activities that bring meaning to your life. By understanding your values and priorities, you can create a more meaningful life for yourself and develop a sense of self-love.

Redefine what success means to you

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that success needs to be defined according to societal standards, such as money and power. However, it’s important to remember that success can take different forms for everyone.

For some, success may mean living a life of purpose and meaning, while for others it may mean having a job with a good salary and great benefits.

By redefining success in terms of what matters most to you, you can create a clear path for achieving your goals and cultivate self-love along the way.

Surround yourself with compassion and support

It's essential to find people who are supportive and understanding and can help lift you up when times get tough. This could be friends, family, a therapist, or even a coach.

Being around compassionate and supportive people will help boost your sense of self-worth and make you feel appreciated. Having a strong support system will also help you stay focused and motivated when working towards your goals.

Develop a growth mindset

Having a growth mindset means believing that with effort and perseverance, you can learn new skills, develop new talents, and achieve your goals.

By developing a growth mindset and focusing on the positive aspects of every situation, you can create meaningful progress in your life and foster a sense of self-love.

It also means being open to constructive feedback and embracing failure as an opportunity for learning and growth. With this approach, it is possible to work towards goals with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and dedication.

Make time for self-care and healing

Taking time to practise self-care and healing is one of the most important building blocks of self-love, as without putting in the time and effort, nothing will change from where you are now! This can be anything from taking a relaxing bath, getting enough sleep, journaling, or going on a nature walk.

Self-care and healing activities can help reduce stress levels and also provide an opportunity for introspection and reflection. Taking the time to connect with yourself in this way can help create a stronger sense of self-love.

Celebrate your achievements—big and small!

Celebrating your achievements—big and small—is an important part of cultivating self-love. Every time you reach a milestone or accomplish a goal, it’s important to take the time to appreciate yourself and celebrate your hard work.

This could be anything from treating yourself to something nice, sharing your success with close friends or family, or simply taking a few moments to recognise what you have achieved. Doing so will help to reinforce your self-worth and make you feel proud of yourself and all that you have accomplished.

Take time away from social media and comparisons

It is easy to fall into the trap of constantly comparing ourselves to other people and their successes. Social media often exacerbates this, as we are presented with images of "perfect" lives and accomplishments.

This can be damaging to our self-love and self-esteem, so it is important to take time away from social media and comparisons in order to focus on the unique gifts and talents that make you who you are.

By applying the five building blocks of self-love, you can create a more meaningful life for yourself and foster a strong sense of self-worth and appreciation. By developing this connection to yourself, you will be able to achieve your goals and live a life full of joy, fulfilment, and contentment.

Creative entrepreneur practising self love, reading a book

Frequently Asked Questions

Sometimes, it can be difficult to learn how to love yourself and practise self-care. After reviewing the material above, you may still have questions about this topic.

That’s why we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions—from the most basic to the more complex—so that you can find answers to your inquiries.

What does self-love mean?

Self-love is the practise of loving and accepting oneself for who you are while utilising positive psychology. By this, we mean embracing your flaws, recognising your strengths, treating yourself with kindness and respect, believing in yourself, taking care of your needs, setting healthy boundaries, honouring your emotions, and being compassionate towards yourself.

Michele Borba, a world-renowned educational psychologist and author, stated that self-love is simply "the ability to like yourself and accept yourself—warts and all."

It is an important part of overall well-being and can help create a more fulfilling life.

How can I practise self-love?

Practising self-love can help create a more meaningful life and foster a strong sense of self-worth. One way to do this is by being mindful of your negative self-talk and replacing it with positive affirmations.

When you find yourself engaging in negative thoughts or behaviours, take a moment to step back and assess the situation objectively. This can help you practise unconditional self-acceptance and reframe your thoughts from a more positive perspective. This can be a great starting point for cultivating self-love and appreciation.

Additionally to the above, here are some tips for incorporating self-love into your daily routine:

• Take the time to do things that make you feel good.

• Be mindful of your thoughts and reframe negative ones.

• Set healthy limits for yourself.

• Celebrate your successes, both big and small.

• Prioritise your mental and physical health.

• Practise self-care, such as journaling or yoga.

• Take time away from social media and comparisons.

There are many ways to practise self-love, but the key element to remember is to be kind and gentle with yourself.

How do I show appreciation for my accomplishments?

Showing appreciation for your accomplishments, especially after experiencing a lot of hard work, is an important part of fostering self-love. Celebrating your successes, both big and small, helps to acknowledge your efforts and builds a sense of self-worth.

Take the time to recognise how far you have come and give yourself credit for the progress you have made. Whether it’s achieving something new or simply taking on a challenging task with lots of experience, take a moment to appreciate yourself and your growth.

You can do this in many ways, as we have outlined below:

• Treat yourself to something special or unique that you would not normally do.

• Share your success with close friends or family.

• Take a few moments to recognise what you have achieved.

• Make a list of your accomplishments and remind yourself of how far you have come.

• Give yourself permission to be proud of your achievements.

Showing appreciation for your accomplishments can be hard; however, it is an important part of developing a strong sense of self-worth and appreciation.

How should I deal with negative thoughts and emotions?

It is normal to experience negative thoughts and feelings from time to time, but it can be challenging to know how to cope with them.

One key to managing these emotions is to acknowledge your feelings and take action. Find ways to do something enjoyable that distracts you from the negative thoughts, such as engaging in a creative activity, listening to music, or going for a walk.

Taking the time for yourself and creating an enjoyable experience can help shift your focus away from the negativity and towards self-love and appreciation.

This may include writing out your thoughts in a journal, meditating, talking with a friend, or seeking professional help. By engaging in these activities, you can develop a healthy sense of self-love and acceptance.

What are some healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety?

Stress and anxiety can be overwhelming, but there are healthy ways to manage them. The key is to identify the source of your stress or anxiety and then address it beneficially.

One of the best ways to manage stress and anxiety is by engaging in relaxing and enjoyable activities such as journaling, deep breathing, and meditation. These activities can help you focus on calming your body and mind so you can enjoy the experience while still achieving your goals.

How can I forgive myself for things I'm not proud of?

Forgiving yourself for things you’re not proud of is a vital part of self-love and overall well-being. This process can be challenging, but it is important to remind yourself that mistakes are inevitable in life and should not diminish your self-esteem.

Begin by acknowledging the mistake, accepting that it happened, and understanding that it does not define who you are or detract from your value as an individual. Seeking guidance from a professional such as a self-esteem expert can help you further understand how to forgive yourself and regain a sense of peace and confidence.

Once you have acknowledged and accepted what happened, it is important to focus on the present and how you can move forward. This can involve identifying any lessons learned, reflecting on how to do better in future situations, and engaging in activities that make you feel good about yourself.

Who should I turn to for support when feeling down?

When feeling down, it is important to reach out for support from those around you. This could include family, friends, or even a mental health professional. It is beneficial to have a strong social support system that can provide emotional and practical support when needed.

It is also important to remember that there are many resources available if you feel like you don’t have anyone to turn to. This could include self-help books, helplines, online support groups, or even apps that can provide emotional support.

We've listed some great helplines below:

Please keep in mind that there is plenty of assistance available—you can do it!

What age is self-love most important?

Self-love is important at any age. It helps build self-esteem and encourages positive choices.

From a young age through to when we are in middle school and beyond, it is incredibly important for children to cultivate self-love and build up their self-esteem. This will help them become confident and secure adults who are able to make wise decisions and set healthy boundaries in the world.

Developing positive self-love habits early on can help children better understand themselves, confidently express their thoughts and feelings, and have a more positive outlook on life.

As we age, cultivating self-love and building strong self-esteem are also essential. According to self-esteem experts, developing a healthy sense of self-love can help us make decisions that are in our best interests and maintain a healthy balance between work, relationships, and leisure. Furthermore, practising kindness towards ourselves and others can lead to better mental and physical health.

Creative entrepreneur practising self love whilst working at her laptop


Self-love is an essential part of living a happy and fulfilled life.

Though it sounds simple enough, it is quite complex, requiring both dedication and hard work to make progress on this path (which starts with understanding the five building blocks mentioned above).

Once you have gained a solid understanding of the five building blocks of self-love, you can start focusing on intentional learning activities that will help you achieve greater happiness in life. This includes recognising your worthiness, appreciating your accomplishments, and constructively managing negative thoughts and feelings.

With the right mindset and dedication to self-love, it is possible to lead a happier, more fulfilled, and authentic life. As Michele Borba, a world-renowned educational psychologist and author, once said, "Self-love is the key to unlocking our full potential."

Here at OCCO London, we believe that everyone deserves to have lasting self-love and acceptance. We hope that this guide has provided you with the essential tools for achieving exactly that.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here and ready to help!

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