In a world that thrives off of our feelings of inadequacies and desire to change and transform ourselves, these poems provide an escape.
When reading the eight self-love poems on this list, readers can’t help but feel inspired to love themselves as purely and freely as the speakers in these poems do.
Best Self-Love Poems
‘Phenomenal Woman’ is one of Angelou’s best-known poems. It spends its lines defying the stereotypes that many Black women face in the world today. The speaker describes her body beautifully and confidently throughout the poem. She has attributes people can’t resist, she’s desirable to anyone who sees her, and she’s completely confident in who she is. Readers will likely read this poem and feel inspired to treat their body the same way this speaker treats her—with reverence and self-love. Here are a few lines from the poem:
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
‘Pretty Ugly’ is the perfect poem for someone who needs a boost of self-confidence and self-love. Read from top to bottom, the poem is filled with doubt and feelings of inadequacy. The speaker says that they’re ugly and that no one should try to convince them otherwise. But, when read from the last line to the first line, the poem’s meaning is entirely transformed. It becomes clear that it’s just a matter of perspective and that one can feel confident in themselves all the time.
Here are the first four lines of the poem, which can also be read from top to bottom or bottom to top:
I’m very ugly
So don’t try to convince me that
I am a very beautiful person
Because at the end of the day
‘Envy’ is a three-stanza poem in which the speaker uses different types of flowers to explore how pointless envy really is. The rose-tree isn’t meant to bear “violet blue,” she starts off. If the tree tried to change, it would find that change is impossible. Through this kind of comparison, readers are supposed to be reminded that whoever they are is perfect. There is no reason to lust after a different type of bloom when yours is exactly what it’s supposed to be. Here are a few lines from the first stanza:
This rose-tree is not made to bear
The violet blue, nor lily fair,
Nor the sweet mignionet:
And if this tree were discontent,
Or wished to change its natural bent,
It all in vain would fret
‘Listen to the MUSTN’TS’ is a classic Shel Silverstein poem. It is directed at young readers but has a message that anyone could relate to. The speaker describes all the negativity that a young person will face in their lives and encourages them to ignore the voices and do whatever it is they dream of doing. Here are the last two lines:
Listen to the Never Haves, then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child, Anything can be.
‘Still I Rise’ is without a doubt Angelou’s most popular poem. It’s an inspiring piece based on her experiences as a Black woman in America. It also encourages readers to self-love and to persevere through any kind of hardship they’re faced with. The poem is a proclamation of intent to continue fighting, no matter what happens. There’s nothing, the speaker says at one point, that could possibly hold her back. Here are a few lines from the poem:
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
The speaker takes a tone of empowerment in ‘homage to my hips’ that is meant to show off her self-love in the face of a world that tells her she’s wrong. She expresses her appreciation for her big hips that don’t fit into tiny places but are powerful, as she is. She carries herself with the kind of confidence and love that anyone would like to have. Here are a few lines from the poem:
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
In this piece, Aida’s speaker expresses some conclusions he’s come to about his life. The speaker expresses himself clearly and fully, suggesting that he’s discovered something quite important about himself and the world. His life, he states, is a beautiful one. It’s better, he implies, to live life intensely and fully than to put on a show for someone else. He uses nature to help prove his point. At the end of the poem, he adds:
You don’t always have to pretend to be strong,
there’s no need to prove all the time that everything is going well,
you shouldn’t be concerned about what other people are thinking,
Anna Swir writes passionately in ‘Ill Open the Window’ about a speaker’s post-breakup state of mind. She uses vivid imagery to allow the reader to imagine the beauty of experiencing things alone and independently. She speaks confidently throughout the poem, expressing her determination that things in the future are going to be even better than they are now. She has a deep desire for independence and describes herself as getting rid of emotional complications from her failed relationship. She reaffirms her need for solitude at the end of the poem and is ready to find herself again. Here are the first four lines of the second to the last stanza:
Tonight I am going to sleep alone
on the bedclothes of purity.
is the first hygienic measure.