How To Love Yourself

By Leo Gura - April 10, 2014 | 19 Comments

How to drop self-criticism and start loving who you are right now.

Video Transcript

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Hey, this is Leo from, and in this video, I want to talk about how to love yourself.

On Loving Yourself

Let’s talk about this. How to love yourself? No, I’m not talking about that kind of love, you pervert. I’m talking about how to really — how to be satisfied with yourself, how to like yourself. How do you be comfortable with who you are, as you are?

We’re not perfect. Some of us are less perfect than others, or at least we might think that. You are probably thinking about that right now, if you feel like you don’t love yourself. Then you probably feel like you’re not as good as other people. You’re not as good as you can be.

Whether that’s because you don’t like the way you look, there’s something about your looks, or something about your health, your physique in general, or something about your behaviour. Something about how you feel. Something about your tendency for angry patterns that you have, or negative thinking habits that you have, or maybe even some of the circumstances that you have in your life.

For example, maybe you don’t like the kind of career situation you’re in, or the relationship you’re in. Because of that, you can’t love yourself. Here’s the scoop on that: it’s not always easy to like yourself. For some people, it’s harder than for others.

For me personally, I’ve always been insecure about my looks. Every time I look in the mirror I would always find something to nitpick about. Something I didn’t like, some way I could be better. Always criticizing myself, holding myself down. Comparing myself to other people. It’s hard to get there.

Sometimes it’ll take some work.It’ll take some real inner work to start to understand that you can be comfortable with who you are, you can be very happy with who you are, even if you’ve got imperfections. Other people can be happy with how you are, even if you have various imperfections. Especially physical imperfections.

Judging Yourself

That’s especially something that most people actually judge you for as much as you judge yourself for. That’s something that’s really coming more from you. When you’re comfortable with being who you are, other people will just vibe with that, resonate with it. Usually, stuff will go well. What really hurts is when you are insecure about your own flaws and imperfections.

Then, you’re constantly expecting other people to be judging you for it. And then, ,what you expect you actually find. The reason that is is that it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. You manifest it.

If you don’t like yourself, ask yourself the following question: Do your really not like yourself, or do you not like an aspect of yourself? Big difference, right? Is it you, all of you, that you don’t like, or just an aspect? I bet it’s just an aspect.

If that’s the case, realise how much you’re focusing on it. I want you to take that camera that you have right now and you’re totally zoomed in on this one imperfection you have, you’re totally zoomed in on it. I want you to zoom out and see yourself and your whole life, and the whole history you’ve had of your life, and where you’re going. See all of that, and put that one imperfection into context.

It’s still there. I’m not denying it might not be there. Maybe you have some crooked teeth, or you have a big nose. Or you have a fat ass, or whatever. OR maybe you have some character flaws in you. Not physical problems,, but character flaws. YOu don’t like yourself for those reasons.

Almighty Awareness

OK, let’s admit that that’s there. Let’s say that it’s true it’s there. That’s one aspect of a much bigger picture. First of all, realise that that’s the case. If that is the case, then also realise this point, is that you have a choice of what you focus on. You’ve got this laser beam in your mind, which is your focus, your awareness.

This laser beam, it’s consciously guided by you, not all the time, but you can guide it. If you’re always hating on yourself, then what you’re doing is taking your imperfections and you’re always shining a magnifying glass over it. That’s what’s happening. You’re shining a magnifying glass on your imperfections.

Sometimes, all you do is just stare at them all day. That’s why you feel so bad about yourself sometimes. You stare at those imperfections ceaselessly. If you’ve got an imperfection, you’ve only got two choices. Either you’re going to fix it, either you can change it, or you can’t.

Go out there and try to change it if you can. That’s what I’m all about. I’m giving you a lot of advice and stuff with all my videos about how to put your life into place and actually make it really good, objectively good.

Accepting Acceptance

If you can’t change it, maybe like your physical appearance, you feel like you can’t change it, or you don’t really want to go that far, then that’s fine. You can then learn to accept it, in the sense that you’re going to shift your focus away. You’re going to accept it and not look at it anymore. Stop looking at it.

It’s the constant looking at it and the relooking, and the relooking, and the relooking that’s really killing you. You’ve got to start to focus on other areas of your life that are great. What you’re going to realise when you make that shift is that that little imperfection is not that important anymore.

Maybe a couple of years down the road you will actually laugh. You will laugh because you’ll laugh and say “How could I have possibly been so concerned about that? It’s so insignificant now because I’ve got all this other awesome stuff flourishing in my life.”

An Exercise

I have an exercise for you. This is an exercise that you’ve got to do to start to love yourself. You have to start to love yourself unconditionally. Unconditional love for yourself. That means no matter what you did, what you’re thinking, who you are, you still love you. You still think you’re the greatest person on Earth.

Not in some sort of arrogant, conceited way, but because you’re all you’ve got really. You are you. You’re the most important thing to you. If you don’t like you, if you don’t love you, then you can’t be resourceful out in the world. You can’t do a lot of good for others in the world. You can’t really have a powerful life.

In fact, you’re probably going to cause a lot of misery and pain for other people, not only yourself. It tends to just spread, it’s contagious. The negativity you feel about yourself is going to be negativity that will spread to all your relationships and everyone you come into contact with.

Here’s the exercise: I want you to go, after this video’s done — finish watching it, but then go and look in your bathroom mirror. Get really close to the mirror, so almost your nose is up to it, and really have a good look at you. Have a good look at yourself.

Look yourself straight in the eyes, and look at your face. Really take all that in. As you’re doing that, don’t be tempted to judge yourself. Just look at yourself. Look at yourself face to face in the mirror, and tell yourself the following:

“I love and accept you exactly as you are. I love and accept you exactly as you are.”

You’re saying that to yourself. You’re saying it to yourself just the way that I said it to you right now. I want you to say it to yourself twenty times. Twenty times in a row say it to yourself, and really believe it. Believe it as you’re saying it to yourself.

You might be looking at yourself, and you might not like how your face looks. You might notice a freckle, or a pimple. You might notice a crooked tooth. You might notice some hair missing, like I do when I look in the mirror. You might notice whatever.

You might think about something bad that you did. You might think about some character flaw that you have, as you’re looking yourself straight in the eyes. That’s exactly the moment that I want you to say “I love and accept you exactly as you are”, for that particular trait, for that particular problem. For all of you.

Despite that trait you still accept yourself. You still love yourself. You are so much more than that one trait. You are more than your current personality. You are more than your current character flaws. You are more than your past and some of the bad things you might’ve done.

You can change all that. You can also accept it. In many situations, you don’t even need to change anything. You can just accept it as it is. Go ahead and do that exercise and see how you feel. It will probably make you feel a little weird at first. It’ll make you feel weird because it’s so unconventional. It seems very selfish.

A Stark Realization

It might also shock you, because you might realise for the first time in your life just how much you’ve been criticizing yourself. How tough you are on yourself. You might notice you can’t even say the words, or that you hesitate. Maybe there is a whole two seconds of hesitation. Maybe you have to muster every nerve in your body to say it and not even crack up.

Maybe it’ll just be a millisecond of hesitation. Maybe you actually think you’re pretty and that you’re beautiful. Maybe you think that you’re already pretty awesome. Yet you go and do this exercise, and all of a sudden, you realise “Wow, why did I hesitate for a hairline of a second? Why did I hesitate?”

Then ask yourself, why did you hesitate? Why isn’t that automatic for you? You might learn something important there. Then say it anyway. Force yourself to say it. It’s going to become more natural the more you say it.

To love yourself, you might ask yourself “How does that reconcile with being better? What if my character, I do have character flaws, and my personality does suck, or there’s ways I could improve? What if I could go and get a nose job and reduce the size of my nose? What if I could get a boob job? What if I can go get some liposuction? What if I can remove that pimple or that freckle? What if I can change my diet and then improve myself in that way? Or whatever it is, stop being fat, whatever, go the the gym more? Maybe get a better job?”

Whatever it is you don’t like about yourself, shouldn’t you try to improve it? This is a classic paradox of self-help, this split between, on the one hand you have to accept yourself and love yourself. On the other hand, you have to develop yourself and grow yourself.

A lot of times, most of my videos are actually on the growing part. I’ll actually criticize you and make you feel bad about how horribly you’re living your life. How ugly your life is. I’ll make you feel bad about that, because sometimes that’s necessary. To get a little bit of that emotional leverage to start to move forward.

Also, sometimes it’s the opposite. Some people have the opposite problem. It’s that they’re so hard on themselves all the time that their problem is not that they need to really get better, their problem is that just need to accept themselves. That’s how they get better. That’s an improvement in and of itself.

A Fine Line

It is a paradox. It’s hard. Sometimes it’s even hard for me to reconcile and draw the line exactly how to walk that line between self-acceptance and self-development. The fact is, for now, I just accept it as a paradox.

Tell yourself that, really, you’ll be blending both. They’re not contradictory. You’re blending both. This is not an excuse for you to now be an asshole. This is not an excuse for you to be lazy. This is not an excuse for you to say “Well, nothing can be done. I’m not responsible for anything.” This is not an excuse for you to play the victim.

This is an excuse for you to love yourself and accept yourself, and yet you’re still going to be developing yourself, a lot. Accept yourself right now in the moment as you are, but you can develop yourself, you can change so many aspects of yourself. That’s what I love about life. You can do that. We have this.

For me, it’s very easy to imagine a reality where that wasn’t possible. Where we’re just born and we were who we are and we couldn’t really change anything until death and then it was too late. Basically, our life would’ve been like a train running on one track.

You Are A Helicopter

What’s nice about reality is that it doesn’t just work that way. Really, we can go in any direction we want. We’re not a train runnin on a track — we’re more like a helicopter. You get in a helicopter, and fly anywhere you fucking want. That’s more what life is like. You’ve got a lot of freedom of choice there.

That’s open for you. These are the possibilities. Right now, who you are, accept that too. Also ask yourself, who are you really? Who do you think you are? Are you your body? Are you your imperfection? Are you that problem that you’re having in your life? Or are you something greater? Are you something bigger? Are you something, and I hesitate to use this word without qualification, more spiritual?

Do you have a higher self that you’re living up to? Start to expand your limited view of yourself. What if you could absolutely love yourself exactly as you are, without needing to change a single thing? Do you think that’s possible? What do you think is holding you back from that?

Do you think it’s your girlfriend or boyfriend? Do you think it’s your boss? Do you think it’s your mom or your dad? Some mean friend that calls you names? Do you think that is what’s holding you back from accepting yourself?

Or do you think it’s just a decision, just like that? Just a split second decision, where you just decide, inside, that you’re going to accept yourself right now, as you are, exactly as you are. It is. It’s just that. It’s a split second decision inside you that nobody can prevent you from doing, from making that decision except yourself.

Right now, I’m giving you permission. Give yourself permission to forgive yourself for any imperfections that you’ve had, any flaws, anything that you’ve done, everything that you don’t like about your life. Just accept it. Know that you’re going to work from this place.

Complacency Is Death

You’re not going to be a lazy slug. You’re not going to be complacent. You’re not going to turn and become mediocre. No, you’re going to use this as a foundation to build upon. You’re going to build from a foundation of “OK, I already love myself. I accept myself. I’m awesome. Now, I’m going to become more awesome. And every day I’m going to become more awesome.”

It’s absolutely possible for you to completely love yourself, completely accept yourself. The only thing that’s holding you back is some limiting beliefs that you have, lack of even making this decision, lack of awareness. All these things are mindsets ultimately.

It’s happening in here, in your head. That’s something that is fairly straightforward to work with. Go do that exercise, and really take what I told you here to heart. If you hate yourself, if you’re always criticizing yourself, then you cannot be resourceful in the world and you cannot really share your gifts with us.

You cannot share your gifts in relationships, nor in your career, or anything else that you do. You’re going to be constantly miserable. When you’re gappy from the inside, happiness will flow from you, and you will be able to go out there and create the things that you want to create.

Wrap Up

This is Leo, I’m signing off. Go ahead and post me your comments down below. Please like this and share it. Click the like button right now, if you would. Go ahead and check out Sign up to our free newsletter there, where I release new exclusive videos, articles, other goodies that I’m planning for you guys that I’m going to be releasing very soon.

Sign up for that so you get them all for free, constantly updating you with that stuff. The reason that you really want to sign up, not for the newsletter or the awesome bonuses that we’ve got which are all free, but ultimately it’s because you need to stay on top of this.

If you have a problem with loving yourself then what you’ve ultimately got is an inner problem. You’ve got a problem with beliefs, with mindsets, lack of control and awareness around your own mind, your own thoughts, your own emotions. That’s something that can hold you back in life so much.

That kind of stuff has held me back for a long time. That’s why I’ve founded, so that I could find the answers, and when I found them for myself, share them with others, like you, so that you can get rid of all the mental blocks that are holding you back from living an extraordinary life and accomplishing your dreams and having you want in your life.

Most importantly, feeling fulfilled on the inside. Feeling peaceful and calm and happy on the inside. There’s actually a lot to this process. I think the most important thing is for me to get you guys to buy in. Not to buy into my product, but to buy into the idea that you should be learning and developing yourself from the inside out.

If you want help with that, and if you want strategies and techniques and some of the best, literally the best information that I found by digging through hundreds of books, going to expensive seminars, processing thousands of dollars of personal development material and picking out the golden nuggets, and making sense of it for myself. If you want that, you can get it all for free at by just subscribing. Go ahead and check that out.

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LanceCozad says:

how can I love myself in the face of bewilderment about who/what/where/why I am? What if I honestly question the validity of me? I am the result of infidelity. 20 jobs in 17 years. Not lazy, as has been said, rahter burned like wood in a fire, barely able to hold flame?

Leo Gura says:

So what’s the alternative? To hate yourself? You gotta start letting go of the past. Here, check out my video on that:
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Neil K says:

In the book Pyscho-Cybernetics, Maxwell Maltz shines some light on the paradox of self-help that you mentioned in the video. According to him, there are two selves within each of us. One is the Expressed Self, which is a combination of our habits and personalities. This Self, similar to our physical bodies, Is just a tool or vehicle of expression for our Real selves. We have to accept the fact that our Expressed self is necessarily imperfect, and is constantly changing. The Expressed self is endlessly striving to become more like the Real self, and through a system of trial and error we get closer and closer to this actualization.
When Loving ourselves unconditionally, we need to accept that fact that our expressed self will never be perfect, and that is how it is designed to be. A deeper and more meaningful love for ourselves can also be cultivated by embracing our Real selves, and realizing that deep down we are already perfect human beings in the eyes of God, for we were created in his image.

Maltz, Pyscho-Cybernetics, (125-12

Leo Gura says:

This issue of self is very problematic. Loving yourself is a fine step if you presently hate yourself, but eventually is needs to be cast aside. These distinctions between “real” self vs “expressed” self, or “false” self are all ultimately wrong because there is no self at all. Self is an elaborate illusion.

tifa says:

hi Leo, thank you for your comment. it illustrates for me even more why i like your videos. There are lots of videos,books, advice out there. what i like about your video content is that it’s practical, tangible, it cuts through the clutter in a way that make it easy to do the self looking and so on. thank you

Ellen says:

Can you do a more in depth on loving yourself? I always had bad relationships due to being broken inside due to childhood neglect . I certainly don’t love myself and would like to know how to fix this.

joanna says:

I sent you an e-mail yesterday asking you to do a video about beauty/external appearance, yet i just found this video and it’s great, thank you for giving some exercises i’ll do them. I hope i’ll finally start making a change and think differently about myself.
Again, thank you!

ahmed says:

Leo, i didn’t understand this question “who you think you are?” so when i ask it to myself i don’t know how to answer because i didn’t know the meaning of the question

Doug says:

What if you hate yourself so much that you don’t even feel worthy of your own love?

Leo Gura says:

You should work with a therapist or life coach ASAP.

Priscilla says:

I have never been more in love with myself as I have been this year. I am in my mid 20s and have been single for a year. In that time, I have grown so much- spiritually, mentally, and physically. Now that I am ready to date again, however, I feel those imperfections coming out again. I thought I had bettered myself in many areas but it seems as if though I still have a lot of work to do. Jealousy, for example, remind me that I guess Im still very insecure. While I thought I was at such a high level of happiness, I quickly got reminded of such an “ugly side” to me. I guess my question is.. how or why is it easier to love yourself on your own than it is when you’re in a relationship? And how can you continue guiding yourself to love yourself while altogether trying to love someone else?

Nikki says:

What if i’d rather receive love from others rather than get it from myself? I guess it might just seem easier that way. Also, I find that I change as a person depending on my situation and who I am around; I always try to change according to what I think the people around me are going to approve of, so half of the time I don’t know who I truly am. I am trying to spend more alone time and meditate to cultivate awareness of myself, but whenever I get into public around people, I feel as though I have to try desperately for people to like who I am, so instead of being me, I guess I just put on a mask and I behave how they want me to do I go about changing this and figuring out who I truly am? I think i’m hanging around the wrong people…

Julien says:

Hey Nikki, I know your question is 4 years old, but just in case anybody else is going through something similar, I’ll still reply.

I recognize myself 100% in what you say here. Always trying to get the approval of others to feel good about yourself. Essentially, it is because you don’t approve of your true self, so you need to hide it and show to others what you think they want to see. If you’ve been doing this all your life, you probably don’t even know who you are, what you like and what your needs are.

First, you need to find out why you don’t like the person you are. It probably has to do with your childhood. Try to remember if, at some point, you felt like you couldn’t be your true self to have your needs met. Maybe you couldn’t make friends at school because you were ‘weird’ or maybe you couldn’t do what you liked at home because it was ‘not how we do it in this house’. Anything really, when we are kids can change how we will subconsciouly think as an adult. The point is, at some point you felt you weren’t enough, so you had to analyse what ‘enough’ is for others and fill that role. You sacrificied your true self to please others and at that moment it worked, so it became your default stance, and now you do it automaticaly.

So now, what you should do is to find out who you are. Your authentic self. Because that strategy of being a people pleaser when you were a kid might have worked then, but as an adult you cannot depend on others to feel good about yourself. You cannot keep sacrificing who you are and your needs simply to get the approval of others. You will feel miserable if you do that, believe me. So what I suggest is to make a Bucket List of all the things you want to do and start doing them. Start taking responsibility to meet your own needs. Keep watching Leo’s videos and find others online and work on becoming the person you want to be.

Another super important aspect is to find what you values are. For exemple, I found that my values are Honesty, Self-Improvement, Love and Courage. These are things that I find super important in my life. It can be anything really, from Family and Respect to Money and Friends. Anything. Find what you think is important, this will give you a roadmap of how you should make your decisions. So you will stop doing things for the approval of others, and do them for your own approval instead, base on your values.

And don’t worry, finding your values can take some time, and you will probably try some and change them as you grow. All this is good. Don’t be afraid to try new things, as long as you move you will get there.

Hope this helped,


Dave says:

When you mentioned how a negative self-image can spread to impact others around us, how would you approach turning it around at that point? What if someone has already created turmoil and angst in their own family due to a negative self image? Would you still apply the same process or would the priority or focus of certain aspects change, as compared with someone who’s situation hasn’t yet seriously impacted those around them?

Anne says:

Thank you, Leo. I am so happy that I had the time to listen to this video tonight. Even though it started out sounding like I had no business listening to something for guys, I derived a lot of insight from your lecture. I must have been led here by the powers that be because I believe that we are where we need to be “now” in order to learn what we need to learn. Again, my gratitude.

mohammad says:

on one hand you say we shit with some issues and on the other hand you talk about loving yourself , i don’t get it,how?

Jas says:

Respect. I totally get what you said and it’s coz in my head self love was always self glorifying.

Sacha says:

Thank you, Leo. This video has brought tears to my eyes. I really enjoy and benefit from your work, as I’m sure many others do too. Cheers from Argentina.

JCTL says:

Hey, great video, Should I do this exercise every day ?

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