A decade ago, making a playlist of songs about self-love was hard. Sure, there was Hero by Mariah, and let’s not forget Whitney’s power cover of The Greatest Love of All. But otherwise, loving yourself was seen as egotistical and not something you should aspire to.
Flash forward, and we now all know how important it is to have a good relationship with yourself as well as others. So, I created this playlist, packed with songs about self-love, so you can soundtrack the days when you’re feeling great or boost yourself when you’re not having a fantastic time.
Among these 25 tracks are punchy shots of joy plus vulnerable odes to the journey towards self-love. Overall, they’re all relatively upbeat songs, and none are about seeing ourselves as better than anyone else because that is a negative energy.
So, throw this on as part of your self-care routine, whatever that may look like. I’ve also ordered the songs by beats per minute, so you can find the spot in the playlist that matches your vibe (slower through to danceable). Want to watch these videos instead? Check out the playlist on YouTube.
Could this playlist have opened with anything else? A sensual anthem for the ages. Is it a new dawn, new day, new life for you? Then feel yourself.
This Is Me (The Reimagined Remix) [with Keala Settle, Kesha & Missy Elliott] by Keala Settle
I usually find songs like this a bit cringe, but who can resist a pep talk from Missy Elliot? Plus, you don’t need to know anything about this musical to get low-key obsessed with this tune.
Soulmate by Lizzo
Is there any song that embodies self-love better than this iconic tune from Lizzo? To be fair, most of her lyrics focus on putting yourself first to have a better relationship with others, but this one takes the cake.
Still Learning by Halsey
Sometimes, we need a tune that shows vulnerability and this one from the New Jersey singer’s third album. Our journey towards self-love often takes time, and this song shows how to take small steps.
Shake It Out by Florence+The Machine
The first of two songs about shaking on this playlist (I bet you can guess what the other one is), this track is an excellent reminder on a bad day that we can all struggle at times. But there is something so uplifting about finally letting go of what can drag us down.
Fabulous by Ally Brooke
This campy tune from the Fifth Harmony songstress is a confidence-boosting anthem. Pop it on before you walk out the door if you need to strut and stomp your way through a difficult day.
Weightless (Less is More Version) by Natasha Bedingfield
I wasn’t into Natasha Beddingfield in the mid-noughties, so it took me by surprise when everyone at Mighty Hoopla festival last weekend said she was the best act by far. Yet, this uplifting song from her third album is perfectly buoyant for this self-love playlist.
I am a Light by India.Arie
This is the first of two appearances by the soulful songstress. My nervous system always relaxes whenever I hear this sweet mantra, lulling me into a blissful meditative state.
Free Yourself by Jessie Ware
One of the goddesses of the nu-disco genre, this track picks up the pace. If you need momentum to keep you going, throw on this tune.
Fabulous Opera by Tom Rasmussen
Unsurprisingly for me, there are a few non-binary voices on this playlist (including Janelle Monae and Demi Lovato). Still, one you may have yet to come across is the incredible Mx Rasmussen. These lyrics chart how their life blossomed after finding their joy.
Hero by Mariah Carey
When it comes to songs about self-love, few have the majesty of this track. Uplifting and empowering, it’s like an instructional tune that teaches you how to be a wholesome warrior who can face anything.
Formation by Beyoncé
There had to be some Queen Bey on this playlist, obvs. Here she celebrates her culture, identity and success as a black woman from the South. Also, this song will make the phrase “I slay” run around in your head for days, which is no bad thing.
I by Kendrick Lamar
This playlist features few men, so it’s great to have this song from one of Compton’s finest. Even if the lyrics aren’t entirely upbeat, it’s hard not to belt out the chorus with glee.
Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld
“I love me! Gonna love myself. No, I don’t need anybody else.” Is there a better power mantra for self-love than this? I dare you not to shout it along with the song.
Born This Way by Lady Gaga
Having a self-love practice is especially important if you’re queer, and Gaga delivered with this Pride anthem. Even after all these years, I still get goosebumps when I hear the opening of this song.
Disconnect by Marina and Clean Bandit
This song is an excellent reminder of how we can care for ourselves when life gets too much. Anxiety, poor sleep, too much screen time – we all know how it feels.
On The Regular by Shamir
This lesser-known banger from 2015 is by queer electro-pop wunderkind Shamir, who was only twenty when he put this song out. It’s an excellent bop for when you’re feeling yourself.
I am by Beautiful Chorus and India.Arie
Another appearance from Ms Arie, but this time with the all-female vocal ensemble, Beautiful Chorus. After you’ve heard this track, you will understand why I often listen to this group while meditating.
The OG of self-love songs, right? Originally written by George Benson (of the funky Give Me The Night fame) in 1977, it was immortalized by Whitney Houston in this epic version from her first album in 1986.
I Like That by Janelle Monáe
Songs about self-love are rarely sexy, but it shouldn’t be a surprising outcome for this artist. Monae croons about cherishing yourself in the face of adversity and owning that feeling of awesomeness when it isn’t reflected back to you by others.
I Love Me by Demi Lovato
If you’ve been working on your self-love practice for a while but have yet to see much progress, this song is for you. It questions, “I wonder when I love me is enough?” and all I can say is keep on going. Self-love is a process that isn’t linear, so some days will always be easier than others.
Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
I had to include this for my favourite Swifite, Heather. This song is all about deflecting the idea that others may have about you and embracing the great things about yourself that others might not see.
Happy – From “Despicable Me 2 by Pharrell Williams
When you’re feeling great about your life, this is the soundtrack to your upbeat vibes. Not having a great day? This infectious song reminds you that you’ll still be ok no matter how bad things get.
I’m Still Standing by Elton John
An upbeat anthem about resilience and perseverance, this 1983 track was Elton John’s comeback song after he struggled with drugs (he eventually went sober in 1990). If you watch the video closely, you’ll spot Bruno Tonioli from the UK’s Strictly Come Dancing.
Good Thing by Zedd and Kehlani
I discovered this song while putting this self-love playlist together, and it’s my new theme song. It also helps that it’s sung by mega-babe Kehlani, who was also in the last season of The L Word: Generation Q
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