There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity. ~Nathaniel Branden

You may have heard it said that you can not love others if you do not love yourself. Having self-love means you care about and like yourself in a healthy and balanced way. It means you have self-respect and believe you are worthy of love.

When self-love is lacking in an individual’s life, it usually indicates that they have a low self-esteem. They do not “esteem” or value themselves as highly as they ought to. They might not really believe they are loveable. And the more they dislike themselves, the more hindered they become in receiving love from others. As a result, they are unable to love others as deeply as they would like to.

It is important to note that what appears as excessive self-love in some people is also indicative of a poor self-esteem. These individuals come across as arrogant and boastful. However, they yearn for admiration in hopes that it will satisfy their desperate longing for genuine love.

Loving and esteeming others fully begins with loving and esteeming yourself in an appropriate and healthy way.

When you.....

Allow for mistakes and forgive your flaws

Are patient and understanding with yourself

Are not self-deprecating or self-exalting

Satisfied with your best effort

Believe in yourself and do not give up

Acknowledge your good qualities and strengths and accept your weaknesses

Learn to like and appreciate who you are

Then, you will be much better able to do so for others. Love, respect, and appreciation will transfer to all other areas and relationships in your life.

The way you esteem yourself will be directly related to the way you esteem others. That is why a positive self-esteem is an important part of our experience of love. Self-esteem can be built and improved as you acknowledge and receive love in your life and as you love yourself and others as best as you can. In its own miraculous way love increases in our lives as we give it away. The more we give, the more we have to give. So you can start right where you are no matter how little you may feel you have to give. There is so much more love for you to experience.


Explain what esteeming yourself means to you and how you think it relates to loving others.

How can a low self-esteem make it difficult to receive love and to love others?

Review the list of examples of loving and esteeming yourself. How do they apply to you?

Is self-love lacking or excessive in your life? How can you bring it into balance?

Think about the way you feel about yourself. In what ways is it helping or hindering you from loving others?

Empowering Thoughts & Affirmations:

Everyone wants to be loved. Everyone is worthy of love.

* I can allow the power of love to work in my life.

* I can accept myself and others as worthy of love.

* I choose to appreciate my inner strengths and value who I am.

Love is an expression and assertion of self-esteem. ~Ayn Rand

You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy. ~unknown

You really have to look inside yourself and find your own inner strength, and say, "I'm proud of what I am and who I am, and I'm just going to be myself." ~Mariah Carey

Taken from 10 Keys to Happy & Loving Relationships Part 2 (Love is Esteem for Self and Others) by Krystal Kuehn. Free printable worksheet available at BeHappy4Life.

Copyright © 2007, 2010 Krystal Kuehn. All Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a marriage family counseling and child therapy center, BeHappy4Life, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & inspiration to change your life, and Baby-Poems where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy! Krystal is the author of the following blogs: Give Thanks Journal, Baby Poems blog, Be Your Best & Words of Inspiration blog!