On Self-Love

Self-love. Urgh. Another cringey article about saying mantras in front of the mirror is here guys.

Or maybe not quite

What is self-love anyway? Is this stuff real and doable if you’re not all sunshine and butterflies, naturally gifted Instagram sweetheart?

Sometimes we get this impression that self-love should be this kind of a crush. Obsessive appreciation. Wearing a crop top. The goal is to deny the existence of our dark circles and double chin and focus on what we like in order to declare ourselves beautiful and worthy.

So, just like many other passionate self-help readers, I tried to ‘love myself’. Dressing up in this fake confidence, I tried to feel pretty by alterning the way I look in my head, only to be faced with truth with every spontaneously taken and publicly posted picture.

Overcoming self doubt is no easy journey, especially if you don’t acknowledge it as a journey.

The trick is not to try and love what you see. It is to love despite whatever you see. Slowly, day by day. Β And sometimes you might need to start with just liking or… mild interest.

And the kind of love and care you can express towards yourself has actually very little to do with what you look like and that is where most people fail – because that is where most insecurities lie.

But if you think about love in general, a love you keep for your partner or brother or even a pet… their faults and mistakes, they do not really matter, do they? When you feel deeply for someone, it doesn’t erase the things that annoy or bother you, it just exists alongside those as something stronger.

And just like that you build and feel what I think real self-love is. You know that you have good days and bad days and that sometimes you might rock that outfit while other times your face is not exactly selfie-worthy. You learn about yourself, and you discover some ugly things but also something surprisingly amazing along the way… and then you accept it all and own it as part of your story.

And the best is, the benefits of cultivating a relationship with yourself go far past mirrors and changing rooms. What comes into your life is an ever present voice of compassion.

You leave the place when something feels off because you trust your instincts. You call a friend because you know you need someone when feeling a bit lonely. You refuse that second drink because you want to have a productive morning and that is your priority. You feed yourself nutritious food because you want to feel your best. You sign up for that beginner class… you sing in front of people… you confess your feelings… because nothing really bad can happened when you are fully supported.

When you have you.

Self-love is nothing superficial that can be accomplished in ‘5 easy steps’. It is constant work and change, especially if you’re starting off a bit shaky in this confidence department. And while I’ll be trying to invent a less cheesy name for our inner relationship, it will lead you to amazing places in life.

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