How To Truly Love Yourself

I remember with perfect clarity the moment I learned to finally, truly love myself.

It was years ago while backpacking through South America.

I was walking the smelly, sad, raucous streets of Quito and misjudged a curb.

I’m sure it’s happened to you: you’re walking along, oblivious to the drop off. Your foot hits air instead of the concrete you expected, and your body does an odd little jerk.

I’d done it before, and I’m sure I’ll do it again. It was nothing that unusual. Just a funny little misstep.

But in that humorous moment, I suddenly saw myself in a way I never had before:

I laughed at myself the way a father laughs with loving delight in his child.

It stopped me in my tracks.

I was 22 years old: for the first time I could remember, I felt true, tender love for myself.

You may think you love yourself.

But unless you’ve faced your shame and self-revulsion, that so-called “self-love” is more likely just self-tolerance.

You’ve just slapped a band-aid on the mess… “contained the situation” so you could get your shit together for the people who depend on you.

And for a little while, it seems to work.

But beneath the flimsy gauze the lies still stab you:

I am such a fuck up

Why am I so stupid

Who could possibly love me

I am so weak, so pathetic

I make the same mistakes over and over

what the fuck is WRONG with me

And on and on the voices go.

If you still believe ANY of that shit, then you have not yet come to truly love yourself. Only tolerate.

To be truly happy and truly powerful, you must look with clear eyes at the shame that has been seared into you and forcibly reject it from your life.

For shame is not some fitting contrition or humble recognition of frailty.

Shame is a lie that pits you against yourself.

Shame is a club others use to control you.

Shame is a form of emotional slavery used to steal your power, your joy, and, most essential of all, your own love for yourself.

When I look at myself, when I look at you, I don’t see some deviant fuckup, limping along:

I see a man strong and powerful, worthy of respect, admiration, and love.

We need you whole.

We need you free of shame.

So rip out the fucking meathooks.

Love yourself: the REAL you, the you you’ve been told was unacceptable.

Not because you’ve “earned” that love, but because when you look upon yourself as you truly are, unblinded by shame, love is the only response that makes sense.


  1. Dallas Clark says

    It is nice to finally read something with some true fuck the politics, Mamby Pamby sugar coated glaze filter on the message your trying to put out there. Your an inspiration to the men who still are men out there. Keep on keeping on! Thank you.

  2. No Shit!

  3. Chris Henderson says

    I am such a fuck up
    Why am I so stupid
    Who could possibly love me
    I am so weak, so pathetic
    I make the same mistakes over and over
    what the fuck is WRONG with me

    And on and on the voices go.

    That’s EXACTLY what’s in my head. Why? Because my life has been one failure after another. It’s all I know! The only thing I’ve ever been successful at… is failing.

    Love myself? What’s to love?

  4. Awakening says

    How this spoke to me! Been there done that. Only thing left to do is seperate myself from the people who continue to press this shame on me. It’s my own fault for allowing it. Thinking I was being a better person for changing and listening to what they want. Scared to be a little selfish. I keep wanting to do the right thing, but what truly is the right thing? I’m so desperate to light my fire, but I’m held back by the life I’ve created and chased. I’ve done the exercise suggested in another article and only believe only part of my life would be missed. I don’t want to glorify this vision or run away from my responsibilities. It those responsibilies that keep me here and anchored.

  5. I really like the trajectory of this article but I have a different perspective on shame. I see your examples as an over active ego looking for a target in a moment of great irritation or despair and lashing inward, not shame. Shame is not a lie. Shame can be a useful tool that comes from within when exposed to new information that contradicts what we believe or hope to be true. It is something that can exist, healthfully, alongside a true love of self. If you feel shame there IS a problem with YOU somewhere in the equation but perhaps not what or where it appears to be on the surface. The trick is to learn to take note of and use shame as an indicator that you have some work to do and be ready to rebuff others that try to use guilt (the bloody handle that lets outsiders manipulate your shame) against you. I would argue that you can’t truly love ‘you’ without the ability to be brutally honest with yourself. Improve… keep moving forward… become closer and closer to your best self every day. It IS about the destination(can we ever really reach it?) AND the journey. Love yourself the whole damn way through if for no other reason than you are everything good in your universe.

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