Who wants to talk about self-love? Not me. Ick, it just sounds so silly. Oh, you’ve got to put yourself first; meditate, light a candle, love your body, love your personality. And this one made me laugh, massage your feet with intention and thank them for getting you around. Thank you feet, for not being stinky.
All jokes aside, I think this whole self-love trend isn’t too helpful. Google the term and you’ll find thousands of articles about what you must do if you are to love yourself. Many of the suggestions don’t resonate with the majority of us. How could they? We're all different. Then you wonder, well if I don’t learn to massage my feet everyday "with intention", then I'm somehow abandoning my needs.
Some of the lists of suggestions get quite ridiculous, such as: shower yourself in good vibes. What the heck does that mean? Write yourself a love letter (that’s just weird). Take yourself out on a date. Ummmm, not until I get my love letter first Nikky!
This over-the-top self-love movement is not healthy. YOU MUST LOVE YOURSELF! Use positive self talk. I’m awesome, I’m amazing, my body is perfect. Isn’t this just a form of false self-esteem? It’s like that positive thinking movement, no one can be positive all of the time, it’s OK to be in a bad mood sometimes; god it’s normal. No one feels comfortable around those fake positive people, you know them, you can spot them a mile away! It's like their eyes are going to explode at any minute and their anger and sadness will pour out like lava.
Being dissatisfied with certain aspects of yourself is what motivates you to make changes that do create a positive boost of self-esteem. You can’t live in a bubble of glitter and unicorns. The world can be unfair and we need to learn how to deal with that in a healthy way. I haven’t met anyone who loves everything about themselves, and if someone believes they do, they’re lying to themselves. And I’m going to take a stab in the dark here; lying to yourself is probably not a form of self-love.
Yeah, watch your self-talk. Constant negative self-talk isn’t good for your self-esteem. But then again, that’s something that’s probably been conditioned into you, most likely from childhood and may require outside help.
Anyway, sometimes you will be disappointed in yourself. I once cooked this awesome dinner and knocked it off the stove and all over the floor! This was my own stupidity for rushing and daydreaming (which I tend to do a lot), I wasn’t happy with myself then, but I can laugh about it now.
It’s human to move between emotions, good and bad. It's impossible to be positive all of the time, and if you try, you’ll exhaust yourself. Or worse, make yourself sick. Just because you don’t like how your legs look today doesn’t mean you have low self-esteem, or that you hate yourself. You can have off days. That’s where chocolate shines.
It’s about balance. If you find yourself wallowing in negative feelings about yourself more often than not, this may be a problem and maybe you should seek help. Trust yourself, you'll know. But on the other side of it, you can’t expect to feel positive about yourself all of the time.
These new aged self-love concepts are out of reach for the average person, if not everyone. It sets impossible standards that make you feel like some sort of failure for not reaching. How can self-love be self-love? In the way it’s promoted these days, it can’t.
So, what about self-acceptance then? Begin to accept the stuff you don’t like about yourself, accept that you don’t like it, you don’t have to love everything. Change it if you want to; or not. If you’re not hurting yourself or anyone else, then do what you feel is best for you. Oh yeah, and accept when you can't accept yourself. I might be wrong, but if you can't be positive all of the time, then surely you can't accept everything all of the time. But if I can't accept that I can't accept everything, then I'm going accept that I've opened a can of worms.
Stop trying to LOVE yourself and start trying to ACCEPT yourself.
When it comes to the verb form of self-love, I prefer the term self-care. Maybe you like meditating and massaging your feet with intention, so apologies for making a joke out of these. But for many of us these aren’t enjoyable activities (I dislike meditation immensely), and believing you must complete these lists that don’t resonate with who you are, is (in a way) abandoning yourself.
Self-care can have endless definitions and everyone will have their own. I think self-care (setting aside the self-esteem part of it), is more about following your own path, or following your heart/intuition. Doing what you ACTUALLY want to do. Not what others tell you you SHOULD do. Maybe listening to your favourite music makes you happy, maybe eating a huge piece of chocolate cake (in moderation, ha ha I have to add that), maybe you like shopping for the sake of shopping, or going fishing (not me). Or maybe you want to sit on the couch and binge watch your favourite show.
This is something I’m only just learning and still struggle with. I abandoned myself years ago. I stopped listening to myself. When I had a feeling, or artistic inspiration, or one of my crazy ideas, I’d talk myself out of it. What’s the point really? Life is so serious and we must clean the fridge out instead of wasting time playing Uno or painting birds (on paper, not real birds). After a while I stopped hearing these inspirations! And now I have to relearn how to connect with them again.
Self-care is about learning to listen to yourself. Those desires you have when you want to do something but then talk yourself out of it because you think there are more important things to do, like the washing! The washing can wait for a day can’t it? Let’s go to Kmart and waste money on crap we don’t need! Yes, I do that with my 12-year-old on occasion, and its fun.
Of course, there will be times when you have to ignore yourself and do something boring, because that’s life. But when you ignore yourself constantly, you lose yourself completely. You almost become a robot.
Remember when you were a kid? It wasn’t that long ago, was it? Well maybe. My 12-year-old thinks anyone over twenty is a grandma. Anyway, when you were a kid you had a desire and you acted on it. You did this without a second thought. Sometimes you didn’t get your way, like that second or third piece of chocolate (I’m must stop writing about chocolate), but you’d come up with crazy ideas in your head and you’d create them. For what? Just because. There doesn’t have to be a reason or a reward at the end. Do it just because and you’ll feel good.
I know, we can’t always do that as responsible adults, blah blah blah. But you’ve gotta find the time to give yourself a decent amount of self-care each day. I recon after relearning this innate skill we were born with, and after some time, we won't even call it self-care anymore. We'll call it "just livin' man". So now I bid you farewell; it’s time to go to Kmart!