There are far, far too many love songs out there to count, but most songwriters don’t bother to pen an ode to themselves. Self love is just as significant as romantic love though, and some could argue that it’s even more important. Learning to practice self love can make us more confident in relationships, friendships, our career, and just improve our quality of life overall.
If you’re ready to learn to love yourself a little better, we’ve got the perfect playlist for you. Here are twenty artists who have sung fantastic songs about self love.
Steinfeld’s debut single isn’t just about having confidence in yourself, although that is part of it. It’s also about learning to – ahem – satisfy yourself without anyone else’s help. In all seriousness, it’s a very empowering track, especially for young women, that stresses how you don’t need anyone else around to feel pleasure.
Steinfeld wanted to make her self-love ode subtle enough that it would be able to get radio play, whilst still making her message clear. In the official music video for “Love Myself”, she wore a bodysuit reading ‘Self Service’, just to get her point across.
Meghan Trainor celebrates herself in this up-tempo pop track. She’s thrilled to be able to wake up every day loving who she is, flexing the incredible life she leads and wondering who that hot girl is in the mirror (spoiler: it’s her). “If I was you, I’d wanna be me too,” she sings.
Despite Trainor’s self-love message, editors working on her music video felt the need to slim down her waist in several shots. Trainor was shocked at the result and pulled the music video, releasing a statement to explain that she never approved the edit. An unedited version of the video was released shortly afterwards.
Swift knows that she might be a lot to handle, but she takes a lot of pride in being unique. She acknowledges that there are plenty of girls out there that her partner could chase after and it might be a lot to expect him to stay with her, but she promises they’ll never find another girl exactly like her.
The lead singer of Panic! At The Disco, Brendon Urie, kept Swift company on this track and in the music video. The video represented everything in Swift’s mind – pastel colours, rainbows, marching bands, sequins, unicorns, and cats. In fact, Swift was so taken with one of the cats on the shoot that she ended up adopting it.
Self love isn’t always an easy journey, and Gomez acknowledges this in “Lose You To Love Me”, a soft piano ballad from her third studio album, Rare. Written with fellow singer-songwriter Julia Michaels, the track documents Gomez’s journey of escaping from a destructive relationship and learning to love herself without her partner around.
The song is generally understood to be about Gomez’s on again, off again relationship with Justin Bieber, who she dated a few times between 2010 and 2018. It describes her heart in seeing Bieber quickly move on and get married.
This track from the 2017 movie musical The Greatest Showman is a powerful ode to self love despite perceived flaws and not caring what others think of you.
It is sang by Keala Settle’s bearded lady character in the film as she celebrates the space she has carved for herself in society, despite other people’s rejections. The song has since been adopted by many marginalised groups as an anthem about celebrating what makes you different.
Glynne describes her journey to accepting all the different versions of herself and acknowledging that she isn’t always going to feel at her best. Deciding not to wear makeup is a small act of rebellion against society’s expectations for her – Glynne is determined to love herself and feel beautiful regardless. Naturally, Glynne released the song on a Thursday.
Peters urges the listener to practice some selfcare in this gentle track. Although the person that she’s speaking to is great at looking after others and giving them helpful advice, she doesn’t seem to listen to it herself.
Peters insists that no one can always be the person taking care of other people – sometimes self love is just as important. She reveals that the person in question is struggling, and tells them that they won’t be able to help other people love themselves if they don’t learn to love themselves first.
Houston has an important message for young people in this ballad. She believes one of the most important things we can teach children is self love, describing her self love journey as the greatest love of her life.
She’s never found someone who can fulfil her needs as well as she can, and putting herself first means that she’s never holding herself back for someone else. Houston wants everyone to experience the joy of self love.
The song was originally recorded by George Benson in 1977, eight years before Houston’s recording made the song famous and topped the charts in the US, Canada and Australia. It was considered the standout track on her debut album.
Little Mix sing about loving their bodies in this confident track, celebrating all shapes and sizes and encourage everyone to embrace what they’re walking with. Self love has always been important to the band, and in this track they acknowledge insecurities whilst striving to be completely happy with what they see in the mirror.
The music video for the track featured Little Mix writing hate comments all over their bodies, then jumping around happily in comfy clothing. They also credit their confidence to their mothers, who appear in the video.
In much the same vein as Hailee Steinfeld, Miller pens an anthem to self-sufficient pleasure. Angry at the lacklustre attitude of the boy she’s seeing and frustrated by the fact that he doesn’t seem to care what makes her feel good, she decides to focus her energy on self love. Miller uses a cheeky play on words to get this message across: “I’d rather lay in bed and motherlove myself,” she sings.
Sigrid gets a pleasant surprise when she ends a relationship that’s left her feeling empty. Instead of endless sadness, she looks in the mirror and realises that she loves herself. She expresses that nothing compares to the feeling of self love, and pens this dance track to celebrate her newfound confidence. “Mirror” is the lead single from her sophomore album, How To Let Go.
The girl that Luke Spiller sings about in “In Love With A Camera” certainly has no issues with self love. She ignores him in favour of taking photos of herself, and is happiest when she’s posing in front of a camera. Spiller doesn’t even mind that she’s more focused on the lens than she is on him. “Girl when you love yourself/I don’t want nobody else,” he sings.
“In Love With A Camera” went through about five variations, according to Spiller, and had a number of titles. However, when he hit on the concept of being in love with a camera, he felt it was “special”, even though it felt more pop than a typical Struts song.
Carpenter won’t apologise for feeling good in her own skin in this breakup song. She knows that her ex is missing her, and she explains that the break-up was hard for her too, but now that she’s out the other side she isn’t going to feel guilty. “Feeling myself can’t be illegal,” she sings. In other words: suing someone because their self love offends you won’t hold up in court.
Aguilera encourages a young girl to pick herself back up in this tender track. She tells her to keep dreaming and cling to a strong part inside of her. “When there’s no one else, look inside yourself,” she sings. Self-reliance is a big part of self love, and Aguilera champions it in “The Voice Within”.
The song was compared to the work of Mariah Carey and Celine Dion when it was released, with critics praising Aguilera’s vocals. It’s a popular pick on talent shows such as The Voice and X Factor.
Brooke acknowledges that no one’s perfect, but she also knows she’s gorgeous, worth it, and plenty of other positive things. She’ll never let someone else tell her who she is again, deciding that relationships don’t help her feel good and she’d prefer to channel all her energy into self love. Brooke is a former member of girl group Fifth Harmony, whose message was also focused on empowerment and self love.
The Script make a good point in this track – how can you love someone else if you don’t love yourself first? Their self love journey hasn’t exactly been smooth, but they’re willing to put the work in, because they want to feel ready for a relationship when the right one comes around. They tell the listener that they need to make the same decision, and start working on loving who they are.
Rather than simply celebrating how her body looks, Apple celebrates what it can do for her. She decides that those around her can decide how to treat her, but she knows that she’s an extraordinary machine and they won’t change her mind.
It’s a cheerful song about appreciating yourself in a simple, uncomplicated way. “Extraordinary Machine” comes from the Grammy-nominated album of the same name, which was ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Best Albums of All Time.
Dodie speaks to those struggling with their mental health in this stripped-back track. She tells them that even though taking small steps to practice self love can feel pointless, but “little things” and “stereotypes” will eventually lead them to love themselves again.
She knows that she can’t understand exactly what they’re going through again, but she’s speaking from experience when she says that one day things will get better. “I promise you, it’ll all make sense again,” she sings. The track is another that tackles a situation where self love is more difficult.
Morgue knows she isn’t perfect, but that’s exactly what makes her who she is. Embracing her chaos, she tells her label exactly what she enjoys and what she wants to write about, telling them that they can take it or leave it, but this is what makes her ‘hot’.
It’s a playful track in which Morgue takes pleasure in tongue-in-cheek descriptions of her weekends and the knowledge that she’s got the listener ‘hooked’. Self love can sometimes mean not just accepting the messiest parts of ourselves but embracing them.
Much of Lizzo’s discography focuses on self love, but this is one of the best. She describes a quality she has that just draws people to her. People can call it self confidence, but Lizzo calls it her ‘juice’ – and she can’t be held accountable for the effect it has on other people. Her quick, quippy lyrics and funky hook made the track a hit with listeners and music critics alike.
Self love can be a slow process, a post-break-up glow-up, an everyday effort or a huge celebration. Whatever your self love journey looks like, the right song in your headphones can help you to project confidence in your own skin every time you step out the door.