Learning to Love Yourself: Young Lions Self Love Conference

In the unforgettable words of “The Greatest Love,” a song made famous by Whitney Houston:

“I believe the children are our future.
Teach them well and let them lead the way.
Show them all the beauty they possess inside.
Give them a sense of pride…”

Self-love is often neglected as an aspect of personal development, especially for teenagers who are navigating the challenges of adolescence. It is important for teenagers to cultivate a healthy sense of self-love in order to build confidence, resilience, and a positive self-image.

The Young Lions Youth Organization recognizes the importance of self-love for teenagers, hosting an uplifting day-long conference for Tampa’s inner-city youth:

October 29th

at Elevation Life Center

 755 West Lumsden Road in Brandon.


The day’s program includes practical tips and tricks for practicing self-love in various aspects of their lives. Topics for discussion include:

  • Decisions and Consequences: Life is a Series of Hard Choices
  • Hygiene, Grooming, Wardrobe
  • Financial Literacy for Youth
  • College Preparation and Paperwork
  • Finding Your Career Path
  • Is the Military an option for you?

Understanding the Importance of Self-Love for Teenagers

Self-love means having a positive regard for oneself and treating oneself with kindness, compassion, and respect. It is important for teenagers to develop self-love because it lays the foundation for their overall well-being and success in life. When teenagers have a healthy sense of self-love, they are more likely to have higher self-esteem, better mental health, and stronger relationships.

On the other hand, low self-esteem and lack of self-love can have negative effects on teenagers. It can lead to feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, and self-doubt. Teenagers with low self-esteem may struggle with academic performance, social interactions, and decision-making. They may also be more susceptible to peer pressure and engage in risky behaviors. Therefore, it is crucial for teenagers to cultivate self-love in order to thrive during this transformative period of their lives.


Identifying Negative Self-Talk and How to Combat It

Negative self-talk refers to the internal dialogue or thoughts that are critical, judgmental, or self-deprecating. It can have a detrimental impact on self-love as it reinforces negative beliefs and erodes self-confidence. To combat negative self-talk, it is important for teenagers to first become aware of their thoughts and identify when they are engaging in negative self-talk.

One effective strategy for combating negative self-talk is to challenge and reframe negative thoughts. Encourage teenagers to question the validity of their negative beliefs and replace them with more positive and realistic ones. For example, if a teenager thinks, “I’m not good enough,” they can reframe it as, “I am capable and deserving of success.” Additionally, practicing self-compassion and treating oneself with kindness and understanding can help counteract negative self-talk.


Practicing Self-Care and Self-Compassion

Engaging in activities that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being is the practice of Self-care. It involves taking care of one’s physical health through exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep. It also includes engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation, such as hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or practicing mindfulness.

Self-compassion involves treating oneself with kindness, understanding, and acceptance. It means acknowledging one’s flaws and mistakes without judgment or self-criticism. Encourage teenagers to practice self-compassion by speaking to themselves in a kind and supportive manner, just as they would to a friend. Remind them that it is normal to make mistakes and that self-compassion allows for growth and learning.


Setting Realistic Goals and Celebrating Achievements

Setting realistic goals and celebrating achievements are important throughout our lives. When teenagers set goals that are attainable and aligned with their values and interests, they are more likely to experience a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. This, in turn, boosts their self-esteem and self-love.

Encourage teenagers to set SMART goals –

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound.

This helps them break down their goals into smaller, manageable steps and track their progress. Celebrating achievements, no matter how small, is equally important. It reinforces the belief that they are capable of achieving their goals and encourages them to continue striving for success.


Surrounding Yourself with Positive Influences

Surrounding oneself with positive influences helps cultivate self-love. Negative influences, such as toxic friendships or social media comparisons, can erode self-esteem and self-worth. Encourage teenagers to evaluate their relationships and identify those that are supportive, uplifting, and positive.

Encourage teenagers to seek out role models who embody qualities they admire and aspire to develop. This can be a family member, teacher, mentor, or even a public figure. Positive influences can provide guidance, support, and inspiration, and help teenagers develop a healthy sense of self-love.


Embracing Your Unique Qualities and Individuality

Embracing one’s unique qualities and individuality is an important aspect of self-love. Teenagers often feel pressure to conform to societal standards or fit in with their peers. However, true self-love comes from embracing and celebrating one’s authentic self.

Encourage teenagers to identify their strengths, talents, and passions. Help them recognize that their unique qualities make them special and valuable. Encourage them to pursue activities and interests that align with their authentic selves, rather than trying to fit into a mold created by others.


Learning to Forgive Yourself and Others

Learning to forgive oneself and others is an important aspect of self-love. Holding onto grudges or harboring guilt and shame can be detrimental to one’s well-being and self-love. Encourage teenagers to practice forgiveness as a way to let go of negative emotions and cultivate self-compassion.

Teach teenagers that forgiveness does not mean condoning or forgetting the actions of others. It is about releasing the negative emotions associated with the past and allowing oneself to heal and move forward. Similarly, forgiving oneself involves acknowledging mistakes, learning from them, and giving oneself permission to grow and change.


Overcoming Insecurities and Building Confidence

Overcoming insecurities helps build confidence, a cornerstone of self-love. Insecurities can hold teenagers back from reaching their full potential and hinder their self-esteem. Encourage teenagers to identify their insecurities and challenge them.

One effective strategy for overcoming insecurities is to focus on personal growth and progress rather than comparing oneself to others. Encourage teenagers to set small, achievable goals that allow them to step out of their comfort zone and build confidence. Remind them that confidence is a skill that can be developed through practice and perseverance.


Finding Your Passion and Pursuing Your Dreams

As adults, most of us recognize that finding our passion and pursuing dreams is a powerful way to cultivate self-love. Similarly, when teenagers engage in activities they are passionate about, they experience a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and joy. Encourage teenagers to explore different interests and hobbies to discover what truly excites and motivates them.

Once they have identified their passion, encourage them to set goals and take steps towards pursuing their dreams. Remind them that setbacks and obstacles are a natural part of the journey, but with perseverance and self-belief, they can overcome challenges and achieve their goals.


Seeking Professional Help and Support when Needed

Sometimes, practicing self-love may require seeking professional help and support. If teenagers are struggling with low self-esteem, mental health issues, or other challenges that hinder their ability to cultivate self-love, it is important to encourage them to reach out for help.

Remind teenagers that seeking professional help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Therapists, counselors, or support groups can provide guidance, tools, and strategies to help teenagers develop self-love and navigate the challenges they may face.

Bridgett Green, Young Lions Program Director, is exceptionally proud of this annual self-love program. “The Young Lions Self-Love Conference is a unique event that builds cornerstone values such as Tolerance, Understanding, and Equality,” she says. “Our goal is to offer these kids life-altering insights and evergreen tools to navigate through adolescence into a productive adulthood. It lays a firm  foundation for their overall well-being, success, and happiness.”

Like the song says,

“The greatest love of all

Is easy to achieve.

Learning to love yourself

Is the greatest love of all.”

The Young Lions Youth Organization is a proud recipient of a Nuevo en US grant (www.nuevoenus.org), funded by Car Credit (www.carcredittampa.com). The grant is designed to help nonprofits upgrade their marketing efforts and increase their visibility in the market.


Steve Cuculich, owner of Car Credit, believes that investing in our youth improves the future for us all. “I am committed to creating community collaborations that make a lasting impact,” he says. “Together we can help our young people find their way along The Road to the American Dream.”