The Science Behind Learning to Love Yourself

Darius Bashar



We all feel and experience love differently. For some of us, the idea of loving and being loved comes freely, but for others, it can be more of a struggle. Whether we have a good relationship with love or a more complicated one, we can’t avoid the fact that it plays a huge role in our lives. As they say… love makes the world go around.


There is a lot of focus placed on the way we experience love in our relationships. However, giving love to our friends, family and romantic partners (and hopefully receiving it in return) is only half of the formula. Love is just as much about the relationship we have with ourselves.


The word ‘emotion’ comes from the Latin ‘emotere’ - which literally translates to energy in motion. Love, being energy that exists within us, is not something we have to wait for to show up in our lives. We already have it inside us as an energy that we can nurture & grow internally to feel happier, healthier & more content.


Love in Ancient Mythology


Self-care and compassion has become a bit of an Instagram cliché, but the permission to love ourselves dates all the way back to ancient Greek mythology. Classical readings of Aristotle and Plato show that the Greeks recognised 7 individual types of love. Each with its own unique and specific role to play in our lives. From Eros (romantic, sexual and passionate love) to Agape (altruistic love for strangers and nature), the ancient Greeks sought to find a balance between all the different types of love.



There is a Greek myth that we were all born with four arms, four legs and one soul. After conspiring to climb Mount Olympus, Zeus ordered that all beings should be cut in half. Leaving humans to spend their whole life searching for the other half of their soul – their soulmate.


 ‘Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies’ – Aristotle.


It’s a beautiful story, but many of us are growing to understand that our ‘wholeness’ comes from within. From loving the self fully and unreservedly without needing any sense of completion from another person.  


The focus put on romantic (or Eros) love in modern society leaves the 6 other types of love to be neglected. Philautia, the Greek word for loving the self, often ends up at the very bottom of our priority list. While we’re busy maintaining romantic relationships & friendships it can be easy to forget to show ourselves the same compassion.


The Science of Love


There is a lot of psychology and biochemistry going on behind the scenes. For centuries anthropologists, biologists & chemists have been trying to understand what love actually is. It turns out that the warm contented feeling of ‘love’ literally changes our brain chemistry.


In terms of romantic love, Dr Helen Fisher breaks it into 3 categories – Lust, Attraction and Attachment. Each category is characterised by its own set of hormones stemming from the brain. For example, attraction is associated with the feel-good hormones Dopamine & Serotonin. Which might explain why the early stages of a romantic relationship can feel so exciting and giddy.



Psychological research has shown that a similar process takes place in our brain when we show ourselves more care and compassion. Dr. Neff, an associate professor of human development at the University of Texas found that self-compassion is conducive to motivation, optimism & positivity. When we are overly harsh and critical of ourselves it can be much harder to achieve our tasks - leading to a spiral of negative emotional stress and procrastination. The study showed that when people were able to show more compassion & kindness towards themselves, they actually ended up being more productive.


This is relevant because productivity and achieving goals leads our brain to release Dopamine, known as the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter. This surge in Dopamine literally changes our brain chemistry to help us feel better – and it all starts with being kind to yourself. It may seem obvious but learning how to show yourself the same compassion and care that you give to others can make a big impact on your life.


How Can We Love Ourselves More?


One of the key principles of maintaining healthy relationships with our loved ones, is about making time for each other. So why should it be different when it comes to loving ourselves? Try introducing small acts of self-care into your daily routine like yoga, meditation or journaling. One study revealed that 40 minutes of mindfulness a day, for 8 weeks, raised self-compassion levels by 43%.


Another way to nurture our sense of self-love is by reconnecting to the earth. Research has shown that spending just 20 minutes a day in nature can improve our overall wellbeing. We can also integrate the healing power of nature into our daily routines with plant-based aromatherapy. Essential oils have the ability to alter our state of mind by stimulating parts of the Limbic System responsible for emotions wellbeing. By introducing the right essential oils into our skin and hair care rituals we can nudge the brain towards the feel-good emotions that help us love ourselves.






The ultimate self-love and self-worth botanical. Bergamot helps the brain to process and release fears of not being good enough while opening your heart to love and acceptance.


Find it in: Overnight Lip Treatment Mask




Rose, commonly associated with love, is known to reduce stress, boost mood and relieve headaches. It is often used as an anxiety cure.


Find it in: Earths Petals Steam, Rose Water Hydrosol, Botanical Face Elixir, Botanical Night Balm





Intensely calming and relaxing, Lavender reduces stress, anxiety and even eases pain. Lavender has been used for centuries to promote a sense of ease and wellness.


Find it in: Botanical Face Elixir, Botanical Night Balm




A powerful scent to stimulate confidence & concentration. Rosemary combats mental fatigue while clearing the mind and emotions for a positivity reset. 


Find it in: Natural Deodorant Balm, Intense Hair Treatment Elixir, Botanical Face Elixir




Known as the King of Oils, Frankincense boosts brain function and soothes chaotic emotions without making you feel sleepy.


Find it in: Botanical Face Elixir, Botanical Night Balm

The simple act of taking care of ourselves improves the relationship we have to our own body and mind. It might feel indulgent, or even self-centred, but science proves how important it is. Whether you turn to yoga, meditation or even something as simple as enriching your daily skincare routines with aromatherapy – these small acts can have a huge effect on our wellbeing. Learn to love yourself and the rest will follow.


P.S Happy Valentine’s Day.



“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”


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