10 Steps To Starting A Healthier Relationship With Yourself

You'll be glad you did.

How To Love Yourself & Improve Self-Esteem By Starting A New, Healthy Relationship With Yourself getty

If you're like many people who struggle with self-esteem issues, then you might have trouble practicing self-love or have never learned how to love yourself fully. And while you may not think that knowing how to love yourself is important or necessary, it's incredibly hard to feel truly worthy and loved by the people in your life when you have such a bad relationship with yourself.

Before you can learn how to improve self-esteem, find authentic happiness or even be able to truly accept love from others, you must learn how to love yourself first. And this requires developing a new, healthy relationship with yourself.


RELATED: 10 Reasons Why Self-Love Is The Best, Most Important Type Of Love

Think about it ... Would you ever treat your friends the way you treat yourself?

The answer is probably no.

Why not?

When you think about it, you’d probably lose their friendship.


Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you why you treat yourself the way you do, because I know you’re not doing it on purpose. You may not even know you're doing it.

Even though your parents loved you and did their best to raise you, there’s a good chance you didn’t feel loved and that’s why you're walking around feeling unloved, wrong, and not good enough — and treating yourself as if that were true.

This feeling of being not good enough is rampant in our society. That’s why most people — or maybe all of us — don’t feel lovable and don’t have the greatest relationship with themselves.

However, you may innocently interpret this as if there was something wrong with you. You can’t help it, and it's not your fault. It’s an unconscious program in your brain, but don't worry: There is a way out of it.


When you feel this way about yourself, it's a bit like being trapped in a "blame prison". Sadly, you may not even know you live in this prison because that’s all you've known since childhood: Not feeling loved, not feeling good enough, getting blamed for not being the way your parents want you to be, blamed for making mistakes, blamed for not being perfect, blame, blame, blame.

You may have no idea you're in this prison and blaming everyone, including yourself, no matter what. How could it be otherwise? It’s what you grew up in and didn’t have the awareness to question.

You can imagine it's a bit of a shock to create a little space around this belief and to see it from outside your "cell."

This is the first step toward leaving your prison: Awareness about what you're doing unconsciously and never questioning it. And it's what you must do when you're ready to change and transform your life.


If you want a healthier relationship with yourself, you must first recognize and feel what your current relationship is with yourself is really like.

Here's how to to start buliding a new, healthier relationship with yourself:

1. Recognize how you speak to yourself

How do you talk to yourself? Blame? Shame? Judge? Criticize? Numb out?

How do you treat yourself? Deny yourself good things in life? Stay in relationships that aren't healthy for you? Let people speak to you disrespectfully?

Get curious and write it down.

2. Make a choice to consciously change your bad behavior

You just realized how unhealthy your relationship with yourself is. And now you have choice: You can continue doing the same thing, or you can change it with conscious effort now that you know what you're doing.


Take the time to "feel" what it’s like for you to realize what you’ve been doing to yourself for a very long time.

Does it make you feel sad? Mad? Shocked? Surprised? Scared that you don’t know how to change that? Frustrated with yourself?

Continue to write down these feelings. The more you write down, the easier it will be to change this behavior with new choices.

3. Understand that change will take patience

Your reaction to your newly uncovered behavior toward yourself is likely similar to what you uncovered: More blame.

But that’s how it works. That is the pattern that colors everything in your life. Obviously you would blame yourself for blaming yourself!


Many years ago, before I learned to love and be in a good relationship with myself, I realized I was always judging myself for everything! Guess how I reacted when I realized that? … I judged myself for judging myself.

I want you to know that when you uncover how you’ve been treating yourself, there’s a good chance your reaction may not change at first.

Please don’t let that stop you from going deeper, or from uncovering more about your patterns. This is part of the process and it's important for you to recognize ahead of time so it doesn’t catch you off guard.

RELATED: How To Truly Love Yourself — And Change Your Entire Life


4. Open up to someone trusted to help

It’s easier when you enter this process with someone who's able to help you see what you cannot see on your own. Otherwise, you may get stuck blaming yourself when you realize how hard you're being on yourself.

Often, you may get discouraged when you uncover your unconscious behaviors and may go back into the familiar "prison". But your pattern is not your life sentence. There is a way out, and talking to someone trusted about it can help you see that, even if you can't see it now.

5. Embrace the changes you're implementing

When you uncover such deep patterns of self-destructive behavior, you're taking a huge leap that's worth celebrating. So instead of continuing your unconscious behavior, this is prime time to celebrate what you just realized.

Imagine if you’d never realized what you just did! That would mean that there’s no way out of your unconscious prison. It would be a life sentence.


But now, because you become aware of your prison cell of blame, shame, and self-denial, your life sentence can be changed to a matter of days, weeks, or months, all depending what kind of a judge you want to be now.

6. Keep being kind to yourself

What kind of "judge" do you want to be to yourself now? A kind judge? This is your chance. You’ve fired the harsh judge and hired a compassionate, loving, and kind one instead. And this one wants to set you free.

The keys are in your hands now. How kindly do you want to treat yourself?

That’s what it all comes down to: How kind and loving would you like to be to yourself so you can create a healthy relationship with yourself?


It may not come naturally to you after a lifetime of unkindness, but that was only because you didn’t know you were treating yourself that way, nor how to change it. Your verdict is what’s going to dictate the rest of your life.

Let’s starts with small baby steps — one step at a time. This is a whole new way of being with yourself and treating yourself kindly is something you need to practice and get used to.

7. Be conscious in your choices

When you first implement changes to give yourself a better relationship with "you", keep these questions in mind:

  • Do I want to have a better relationship with myself?
  • How important is having that to me?
  • Am I willing to practice new skills to treat myself with love and kindness?

If you answered "Yes," to these questions, you are already on your way out of your prison.

8. Remind yourself of the goodness that self-love can bring

Imagine what it will feel like to want a better relationship with yourself. Are you excited about what is possible? Scared that you may fail? Uncertain that you have what it takes to treat yourself with respect and care?

If it’s the latter, don’t worry. That’s all normal and not a reason to stop and stay in your blame prison.

9. Stop yourself when you fall back into old patterns of behavior

You'll start caching yourself every time you are back in your prison cell being unkind and blaming yourself. Just recognize when you're doing it and write it down.


The moment you catch yourself is the moment you can choose a different response than what you used to. Pick a new path for yourself.

10. Celebrate the new relationship you have with yourself

Be glad when you recognize old patterns of behavior! Celebrate that you caught yourself and say something like, “I just caught myself again and oh wow, that's amazing. I am so proud that I caught what normally makes me feel awful and beat myself up. I really don’t want to go back into that again.”

Remind yourself that you choose to listen to the kind judge and go another route. You deserve to be out of this prison.

Congratulations! You have access to the keys to get you out of your prison cell and you just used it. This is worth celebrating!


Every time you are kind and compassionate instead of treating yourself with blame, shame, and self-denial, you move another step away into a new, healthy relationship with yourself.

This is your key — literally your key to freedom. Make sure you use it.

RELATED: 20 Easy Ways To Be Good To Yourself Today

Pernilla Lillarose is a self-love mystic & mentor at Divine Feminine Flow and the author of the free e-book, 5 Steps To Dive Into The Divine Feminine Flow, who wants to help you change the relationship you have with yourself. For a free 30-minute discovery session, connect with her on her website to find how she can help you take the first step into self-love.