When Practicing ‘Self-Love’ Isn’t Love: Breaking Free from Practices That Keep You Stuck

When Practicing ‘Self-Love’ Isn’t Love: Breaking Free from Practices That Keep You Stuck when practicing ‘self-love’ isn’t love: breaking free from practices that keep you stuck

When you’ve left an abusive relationship, if there’s something that will seem like a long and distant dream, it will be loving yourself or treating yourself with kindness. You will find yourself talking ill about yourself, berating yourself, emotionally abusing yourself, or just doing harmful things to yourself. You may pick up some unhealthy habits like emotional eating, isolation, smoking, excessive drinking, or just some habits that definitely affect your general well-being.

Picking Up Unhealthy Habits

We pick up these unhealthy habits because our minds feel that we’re not ready to come face-to-face, or we don’t have the inner resources to process those emotions. That’s why you might think you’re not ready to face your inner demons because your mind is just ‘protecting’ you from feeling and processing the overwhelming emotions, but at the same time, it’s keeping you stuck with the pain and even keeping you stuck with unhealthy habits.

The longer you remain in this state, the more you come to realize that the ‘real’ enemy, who never loved you, might have left your life. However, the true enemy was, in fact, your false identities, negative beliefs, or what they left inside you.

Practicing Self-Love

One thing you might do or a piece of advice to consider, or what everyone may encourage you to do, is practice self-love by trying various activities such as going to the gym, burning incense, eating healthily, journaling, meditation, and more. These are helpful, and you may even experience some positive effects or reduce addiction to unhealthy habits or coping mechanisms you had picked up to manage negative emotions.

So, when you practice self-love, as it is often advocated, you’re essentially eliminating unhealthy coping mechanisms and adopting healthier practices like self-care, affirmations, or something to replace those detrimental patterns in your life.

While this is a positive step, it has another side to it; it may also keep you entangled with that which you’re trying to cope with — your suppressed emotions. Despite practicing self-love, you might still find yourself berating, overly criticizing, and harboring anger toward yourself for what you’ve endured in the past.

In essence, some of your practices might resemble clean or better-looking bandages for wounds that need disinfecting and true healing. Your efforts could be inadvertently sugarcoating that which needs to be confronted and released.


Practicing self-love without addressing underlying emotions is similar to putting on fresh clothes without taking a shower first. While the new outfit may temporarily mask the surface, it doesn’t deal with the core issue of cleanliness. Similarly, engaging in self-love activities might provide a superficial improvement, but the unresolved emotions underneath are comparable to the need for a thorough cleansing. True healing involves addressing the root causes, much like taking a shower before putting on those fresh clothes for a genuine sense of well-being.


Epitome of Self-love

The epitome of self-love is releasing the things you’ve buried deep inside you. It’s not just scratching the surface or working on those things you can visibly see; it’s digging to uncover, release, and process those things that are clogged in the subconscious part of your mind. It’s working on what’s below the surface, the roots that burden you or keep you stuck with the pain.

Reflection Question: Is your current practice keeping you stuck, or is it contributing to your growth?

Some of these things you may not really be aware of, and that’s where you may need an intervention from a skilled therapist — not because you can’t do it, but because sometimes your practices may deceive you and keep you stuck more in a beautifully decorated hole.

You may never know the extent to which your mind goes to keep you in your default. That’s why sometimes you need to pause your self-love practices so that you can really see how you feel or how you think without the practice. When we get hooked on the practice, we may be doing it not because we deeply understand its effectiveness, but as a distraction from those wounds, those subconscious beliefs that make you feel unworthy of your own love.

Release the Practice

The best thing to do is not to start with practice but to start with release, emptying the burden, or letting go of your stuck emotions. A simple analogy is cleaning the fish tank before introducing new healthy fish. When you practice without cleaning the tank, then the new fish will still get sick.

In fact, when you work on releasing or freeing yourself from your negative beliefs and false identities, you come to realize that practicing self-love is not merely about engaging in the practices we label as self-love; instead, it’s about embodying it as a way of life.

Whether you’re working, walking, writing, sleeping, or engaged in any activity, all of it can be considered acts of self-love because you’re inherently a loving human being on the inside. Sometimes, we may complicate things with these practices, yet perhaps all along, what we truly need is not just practicing but living. Your true nature is love; it’s just that you need to wipe your glasses to see.

That’s why in this line of work, you may encounter individuals with an extensive repertoire of self-love practices, yet they confess they’ve never truly felt love for themselves — even after engaging in various practices and attending extravagant retreats. This highlights the deceptive nature of practices on your healing journey; they may turn into an unexpected burden when you truly scratch beneath the surface.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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