Self-Love Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Self-Love Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

One of the greatest things to come of recent years is the highlighted importance of taking care of one’s self.

You can pamper yourself through a million different ways, like allotting time in the week to be alone, journaling, meditating, or the like. However, there is another way that’s just as special, and just a touch more permanent.

Getting a tattoo done to show how much love you have for yourself may seem like a big commitment, but in reality, self-love is a huge commitment on its own- so a tattoo only seems right, doesn’t it?

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about self-love tattoos, including some inspiration for those who are looking to get one done. Ready? Let’s dive in. 


What is the History of Self-Love Tattoos? 

Though it can be argued that people may have gotten self-love tattoos from the dawn of body modification, it’s likely that tattoos reminding the wearer of their own importance have been more popularized in recent years. 

It goes without saying, but tattoos were originally thought of as forms of rebellion- a way to symbolize going against the man (or your parents, or the government). Due to that mutinous history, it wasn’t necessarily thought of to get body art that serves as a reminder of anything more than political stances, etc.

In recent years, though, and we mean around the last decade or two, the tides have made a significant change. Thankfully, people started looking at tattoos as more of a sign of mutinous emotions and more of a way to express their own interests or aesthetics. Self-love, of course, being one of the most popular things people want to share with the world.

Women are among the most common groups of people to get self-love tattoos, due to callings to express personal stories, share the societal qualms that they experience, etc. There are so many different types of art one can choose to have inked on their body, and with self-love being as wide of a topic as it is- each tattoo can be completely different from the last. 


What Do Self-Love Tattoos Symbolize? 

Self-love tattoos symbolize exactly what they’re named after: self-love.

However, this particular topic can be shared in a number of different ways.

These tattoos could showcase a personal hobby or passion, be a reminder of the love you deserve to give yourself, be an artistic representation of something that makes you feel good, and more.

At its most basic definition, these tattoos serve as a reminder that you deserve to give yourself the utmost amount of love and affection- especially if you’re the kind of person to put others’ needs before your own. They’re a way to show, not only the people of the world, but yourself that you, and the things you love, will always be important.

However, you don’t need to be going through a particularly rough time to feel like you need a self-love tattoo. You could simply be wanting to express the care you already have for yourself. After all, it is your body, so what better art to adorn it with than the things that you personally love and want to be shared with the world?


What Do Self-Love Tattoos Mean? 

The best part about getting tattoos done is that they don’t need to have any true meaning.

As long as they invoke the emotion you want them to invoke, or make you smile and laugh, or feel good about yourself, it doesn’t necessarily matter if you have a concrete meaning to them or not.

When you truly think about it, even the act of choosing to get a tattoo done is an act of self-love. It showcases your bodily autonomy and that you personally chose a design or artwork worthy of a permanent place on your person, but when that artwork is as meaningful of something that expresses who you are as an individual, it makes it all the better.

Due to that, these kinds of tattoos could mean a billion different things.

It could mean that your childhood was important to you, that you won’t stand down in the face of adversity, that this band makes you happy, or that, plain and simple, you are always going to be enough.  


Characteristics and Styles of Self-Love Tattoos 

Just as there are countless meanings behind self-love tattoos, there are also countless styles and art pieces you can choose to get done. If you need some inspiration or are looking for something not quite as loosely defined, here are some of our favorite styles of self-love tattoos you can get done:

  • Messages and reminders
  • Hearts
  • Semi-colon 
  • Blooming flowers
  • Song lyrics
  • Memories

Let’s break these down further so you can see why they make our list:


Messages and reminders

Here’s the thing: self-love is nothing short of a journey. Though some people are lucky and have never felt self-conscious or unsure of their place in the world, it’s more probable that they only have this confidence and fierce presence after they went through a dark period of insecurity.

Here’s another thing: this period doesn’t last. It’s temporary and fleeting, and what better way to remind yourself of the light at the end of the tunnel than with a clearly defined message or couple of words on your skin?

This can range from a simple affirmation: “I am enough”, to something a little more ornate: “to thy own self be true”. It’s a beautiful way to let the world know that you’re not to be trifled with, and when it’s seen by others, your tattoos can serve as a reminder for others to love their own selves just as much as you already do yourself. 


C’mon, if there’s any design more symbolic of love than the heart, we’d like you to show it to us.

Your tattooed heart can be tiny and subtle, or big and intricate. Whatever type of design it may be, this heart can hold all of the love you give to yourself in a simple symbol. Some people choose to make their hearts even more clearly designed as a representation of self-love by tweaking them a bit.

You can put your own name in the center of the heart, simply put “me” in the middle, or make the design ambiguous by designing the straight parts of the heart as arms wrapping around themselves in a hug. 


The semi-colon tattoo is a huge symbol of self-love, and is perhaps one of the most popular instances of a singular tattoo banding people together of single stories.

Semi-colons are symbolic of where a sentence could have ended but doesn’t. It signifies a pause before the story continues. Of course, this is a beautiful, understated way for those who have struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts to show that their story is not over yet.

Blooming Flowers

Flowers aren’t just beautiful tattoos for how gorgeous they are, but they can also represent what a journey reaching “self-love” truly is.

You don’t get beautiful, blooming flowers by neglecting your seed in soil. Flowers don’t bloom without consistent love, feeding, watering, and care- in the same way that your mind needs positive energy and thoughts for it to flourish and bloom.

Song Lyrics

Music is a language in and of itself. That being said, songs have the ability to speak to you and your soul- so when you find a lyric that strikes you as a reminder to love yourself, why not think about getting it tattooed?

Need some inspiration? Listen to “Be Good To Yourself” by Journey, “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, “I” by Kendrick Lamar”, or “Good As Hell” by Lizzo to start!


If you have a particular memory of happiness and joy that sticks out in your mind, why not find a way to memorialize it on your skin? Pick a memory that’ll serve as a reminder that with all the lows life throws your way, it’s nothing compared to how good the highs can be. 

You can get these memories as line art, pick a symbol to commemorate the day (like a pail and bucket for a good day at a beach, a baby bottle for the birth of your child, etc), or simply get the date tattooed in and of itself.


Where Do Self-Love Tattoos Usually Go? 

Wherever you choose to put your tattoo is up to you, but the most popular places to put tattoos regarding self-love are going to be more visible areas, so that you can see them and be reminded of the love you should be showing yourself every day!

The most popular areas to get these tattoos is on the arms and the wrist areas. The inner arm near the armpit is a fairly common, albeit painful, area to get them done as well.

 If you’re not a fan of necessarily visible tattoos, you can also get your tattoo done on your collarbone or chest area so that it gets covered by your clothes (while still being close to your heart- get it).


Self-love tattoos are a revolutionary way to showcase the love you have, or are working on cultivating, for yourself! There are a variety of designs you can choose from, but in spite of the variety, the importance they hold doesn’t shift. 

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