About 6 or so years ago, after many years of being on team “just push through it,” I finally joined team #selfcare. I had spent years relying on caffeine, Advil, and sheer willpower to get me through each day, and I finally hit a wall.

During the first year of my Ph.D., I was racked with migraines that hospitalized me on a fairly regular basis, my anxiety was crippling, and I was just plain unhappy. My grades were high, but my spirits were low. When I think back on that time in my life: when I wore the pain and suffering as a badge of honor, when I relished in my perfectionism and the accolades that came with it, and when I covered up my fatigue and pain with caffeine and Advil… I cringe. It hurts to think about what I was doing to myself.

Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom in order to make a change, and after years of running myself into the ground: I hit rock bottom. Hard. My health completely fell apart. I knew something had to change.

So, I started working with a life coach and dedicated myself to “self-care.” The journaling, meditating, healthy eating, and yoga were transformative. Listening to my body and what it needed? Game-changer. Each day that I practiced self-care, I grew stronger — physically, mentally, and emotionally. I learned that as I put my needs first and made sure I was happy and healthy, I was in SUCH a better place to serve others.

After a few years of really focusing on self-care, but still struggling with my confidence and sense of self, I realized something important. My journey wasn’t just about self-care — there was something much deeper going on. I could do all the yoga and drink all the green smoothies I wanted, but if I didn’t LOVE myself — if I did not accept where I was at, if I didn’t treat myself with compassion, and if I didn’t mindfully move forward in life (you know, not on autopilot, or in a caffeine-fueled haze) ultimately the self-care was just a bandaid.

If you want to stop surviving and start thriving in your work, in your relationships, and in any of your endeavors, you MUST commit to Self-Love.

Self-care is a game changer; Self-Love is a revolution.

So, what is Self-Love?

Self-Love means many things to many people. At the end of the day, YOU decide what Self-Love looks like for you. Still, while Self-Love can take on infinite forms, I believe it has an “essence.” This essence has been my guiding star as I have developed my Self-Love practice.

Acceptance: You acknowledge yourself and where you are at, unconditionally.

Compassion: You treat yourself (mind, body, and soul) with kindness, always.

Mindfully moving forward: You love where you are at, but continually strive to grow and push your boundaries to live the life of your dreams.

As an entrepreneur, Self-Love is my number one priority. I know it is what will sustain me, and therefore my business. In each moment, I strive to maintain my focus on acceptance, compassion, and mindfully moving forward: I chose to love myself no matter what is going on. I chose to love myself because when you LOVE yourself — through all the ups and downs and chaos that comes along with changing the world, you are a force to be reckoned with. With Self-Love you have the power to confidently put yourself out there, to quickly rebound from setbacks, and to reconnect and tune in to your intuition no matter how much hustle and bustle you get swept up in.

Self-Love is a revolution because it is not just a tool to make life better, it is a way of being. Practicing Self-Love has the power to make you happier and healthier, but it also serves as an access to your passions, to your purpose, and is your guiding star for a meaningful and impactful life.

How do you get started with Self-Love? Simple. I like to anchor myself with the following mantra that captures acceptance, compassion, and mindfully moving forward: “I am doing the best I can in this moment.”


  • Kirsten Lee Hill, Ph.D.

    Researcher, Creative, Entrepreneur

    Kirsten Lee Hill, Ph.D. is an expert in creatively leveraging traditional research expertise to support community-driven change, and has worked with global leaders in innovation such as Virgin Unite and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Kirsten partners with people and organizations with inspiring ideas for how to change the world so they can leverage the powers of research and personal wellbeing to advance their cause. She also inspires changemakers to embrace gracefully breaking rules through her podcast, Graceful Rulebreakers.