How Do You Begin To Love Yourself?

How Do You Begin To Love Yourself?

You would think that taking care of your skin would just be about finding out “how to do it.. tips and tricks”.  Yes, we can slap on products and write that off as self-care.

But, from what I’ve noticed of myself and including my clients is the emotional connection in how the state of their skin makes them feel about themselves.  If the skin looked flawless, we would feel confident. If the skin had a bunch of pimples or wrinkles, we would want to shrink in, maybe not want to be seen or feel self-conscious.

In a way, for some, our skin represents a part of our identity. But because of that emotional connection, I think  it’s also deeper than that.

It’s about self-esteem.

Sure! I could write another article about skin advice. And by coming here, you may be looking for that too. But I wanted to touch on something more heart-based and deeper. The link between skin and emotions.


Feeling Lost

In my mid 20’s I had just broken up from my long term relationship and there I was, sitting there for the first time in front of a Life Coach pouring my heart out while answering several of her questions. 

How I got into that seat in the first place, was so random.  She was the mother of the best friend of the guy I just broke up with.  She was finishing up her Life Coaching course and approached me to offer me ten free sessions. 

At first, I thought, “ I don’t need no counsellor or shrink work” and if I took up on this offer, what It meant to me was that I was validating that “there was something wrong with me” . And what that meant was that “I was a failure”…

An inner voice told me, “Go try it, what do you have to lose? Can it feel any worse? Start being open.” 

And so I jumped right in.

Back to me sitting in front of the Life Coach, her response to me was  “You need to learn to love yourself”. 

I sat there responding with a blank face and smiling “of course I love myself.”

But inside I didn’t feel that way and I couldn’t understand why. 

It felt fake. Robotic like.


It’s Not Good Enough

18 years later, when I think back on it, I thought loving myself was having material things to show that I do care for myself.

Dress nicely, be well groomed, be happy, be a nice person, take care of yourself… yes, take care of my face (makeup), skin. It was all about presenting myself. 

Till this day, If I asked myself, is doing skin care a form of loving myself? Ironically, it starts from a place of doing something to be accepted.  Accepted by who?  If I go a little deeper, back then my 11 year old self was sitting in front of the tv watching this lady travel and get spa treatments and thought “Wow! When I grow up, I want to do something that seems so beautiful and cool so they can say I am good enough”

By being accepted by others it meant that  “I want to do something so people can be happy”.  Plus underneath it all, the base of it was “I want to make my parents proud of me.”

Throughout the last few years, that lesson of “Learn to Love Yourself” kept popping back up. I thought I was done with that lesson after I went through my sessions with my life coach.

Not really...

Because every time something went wrong in my life, all these thoughts would come up and I would start on this downward spiral of anxiety, I’d tell myself:

“I’m not good enough”
“ Look at how you’re failing, here it is again”
“You’re nothing”
“ You should have done better”. 

That downward spiral was like a terrible roller coaster ride. Life happens, the good and the bad.

There came to a point where every time I was hit with the challenge, I was getting really tired of beating myself up.  Years of that, will just wear you down. Especially if you’re trying to do something big… I was trying to do Entrepreneurship.  That was just a whole other world. Unknowing I was taking on a new beast.... I am this person trying to figure out her business, struggling through it all, while dealing with myself.  Yup, not easy.  I was being “chewed up and spat out” so many times, that a sane person would say “are you crazy? Why are you busting your butt so hard… just get a regular job.”

To tell you the truth, there were many moments I wanted to give up.

I’ve compared my life to my friends and family  around me who were doing the 9 to 5, after work, they  went home to their families, took vacations, bought things, and knew when their paycheck was arriving.  While after 5pm, I was still worrying about how to cover the expenses, making ends meet, what would my clients like, how can I make things better, what did I screw up on? 

The mental gymnastics never ends. 

Last few years, I continued to go see coaching, and mostly went right into personal development.

There it was again, I was told  “Learn to Love Yourself” and guess what else came with it? “ Tell Yourself That You’re enough”.

I tried chanting it as a mantra. Every morning when I woke up, I even tried rehearsing 10 things that I was grateful for.

They say “fake it till you make it”.  But it didn't last. 

It was not until later, that I found out it was about inner work, not outer work.

I could chant until the cows came home, but I didn’t feel it inside.


Childhood Beliefs

I had to go somewhere where I didn’t think I needed to go, as I was unconscious to it, and the other part was that I was fearful to even want to think about what I may feel. 

Which was to look back into my childhood. 

Sure, I'd love reminiscing on the happy memories. But for the moments that I didn’t feel so great about myself? No thanks...

I tell you this. It takes a lot of courage and guts to go back there and take a look on why you think the way you do.

Growing up as a child, I believed what I heard and made up in my little mind was that “Only when an adult tells me I did something good”, whether it's in school or your quiz mark, and when you get that verbal approval or check mark, was that I was good enough.


Give Yourself Permission

Fast forward to the adult version of myself. It wasn’t till later on that I realized that I don’t need to keep up that. I was on auto-pilot.

Okay, that realization didn’t just happen like that. It would be nice to have things fall in from the air and make everything all peachy and rosey.

To be honest, I went through a full year and a half of personal development courses. I had to face myself, and apply all the lessons I’ve learned.

There were a lot of breakdowns. It was an emotional roller coaster ride, there were many moments of fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, disappointment. It involved me looking at myself and also clearing things with the people in my life. Had to open up, be vulnerable and authentic in conversation.

What I’ve now come to fully accept is that I am now giving myself permission to say “I am enough” and giving myself permissions to love myself in the form that I choose to see it as. 

What this meant was, “I am finally leaving the bird’s test, because I am capable to fly on my own”

How liberating I felt.

I didn’t need another person to tell me I’m good enough or validate my worth.  I felt free.

The whole “loving yourself and I am enough” took another exercise to actually believe it. As the concept and understanding it wasn’t enough for me to really get it. I’ll share that in my next article.

Now looking at everything that I do and the things I have.  Before, I used to show that I loved myself through clothes, makeup and skincare. I did all of that with the  intention of “so I can feel better about myself because I needed to feel happy as I wasn’t.”

Now when I do those things, it’s because I can choose to enjoy them. Not with intent to  fill my happiness that I’m missing.

Because happiness is created within yourself first, from your mindset. 

That’s what I think now is a “beautiful life”.


Where ever you are finding yourself at in your life, I would say that you are in the perfect place.

Life is a journey of experiences. Especially when it's challening, there's always something to learn from it to become a stronger version of yourself. Keep doing the things that make you happy! :)

Ps: Hey if you're stuck at home and would like to work with an Estheiticn to help you with your skin. You're welcome to take a look into our Virtual Skin Consultation. Click here for more details. 


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Mabel Wong

Mabel Wong is the founder of Dermaly Skin Clinic.

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