Self-care v Self-love: they are not the same thing – here is why

Self-care and self-love are two phrases we see often in the self development industry. Often I see them used in a way suggesting that are the same thing.

For a big portion of my life I believed they were the same thing. Hey I was exercising regularly, I was eating well, I took time out to relax. So lets take a look at both of these individually.


Self-care is essentially the act of taking care of yourself. Its taking action to improve or maintain your physical, mental, and emotional health.

It can range from basic self-care, such as cleaning your teeth, making sure you are getting enough sleep, to the things such as setting some time aside to read a book or treating ourselves to our favourite bubble bath.

So I did plenty of these things, surely that meant I was practicing both self-care & self-love? But the reality was that even though I was doing things to take care of myself, I certainly was not in a place where I loved myself.


Self-love is all about unconditionally accepting and loving ourselves.

It’s having your back.

It’s understanding that you are enough just as you are – that you don’t need to change to accept and love yourself, but you can change and grow if you choose to.

It’s speaking kindly to yourself.

It’s forgiving yourself for mistakes you may have made.

It’s trusting yourself.

Its valuing yourself and having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness.

Self-care can be a massive contributor to self-love. And when we have higher levels of self-love, self-care can feel more effortless.


So how do we cultivate self-love?

  • Heal our heart and change our sabotaging beliefs
  • Stop comparing yourself to others
  • Talk to yourself like you would a child or best friend
  • Get to know who you are. What are your personally traits, what are your strengths and challenges (I use the Thrive Factor Profiling system to help my female clients do this)
  • Spend time deciding what is really important to you (your values) and then take action that supports your values
  • Do things that bring you joy
  • Set boundaries and learn to say NO. Say no to things that are not in alignment with you and your values. Say no to behaviour towards you that is disrespectful to you.
  • Don’t be afraid to let go of toxic people or situations in your life
  • Trust yourself

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