What does self-love mean? If you listen to Google it means 'regard for one's own well-being and happiness.'
Whilst this is true, the definition of self-love is so much more than that. It's unique to everyone and it doesn't look the same for any one person so what the hell does self-love mean for you?
Do you remember the days when the girls or boys at school would try and insult you with "oh my god you love yourself"? Even to this day, I jokingly speak highly of myself and people scoff and roll their eyes, but why?
What is so wrong about learning to love yourself? The answer is.. nothing.
The Stigma Around Self-Love
To a lot of people, self-love is simply taking a bubble bath, getting a pedicure or having your hair done, but as it turns out, there's so much more to self-love than just pampering ourselves.
If you're running on three hours of sleep and always rushing from place to place it's seen as an accomplishment. As though you must be super busy and successful rather than overworked and unorganised.
There is an underlying resistance within us that says we mustn't be easy on ourselves because we don't deserve it. We must stay motivated strive for greatness and anything less means that we must hate ourselves, self loathe which leads to the more unmotivated, self-loathing behaviours.
We hear our mothers, sisters, friends complain about their lives or bodies and so receive positive (yet unhealthy) reinforcement. And so we learn from a young age that putting yourself down is attributed to a positive and complimentary response.
A lot of people may talk about the importance of self-love but they are not embracing it.
Self-Love is NOT
It is NOT being narcissistic
It's not having a big ego
It's not selfish
It's not vanity (it's sanity)
It's not about thinking you're better than anyone
It's not settling for less than you deserve
Self-love is not something you find in others
Self-love is not any of these things but it IS IMPORTANT. You need to realise this before you can implement it.
What is Self-Love???
It is about learning to accept yourself for who you are and not needing to compare yourself to others because you realise that YOU ARE ENOUGH.
It means having a high regard for your health and happiness and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. It's about taking control and responsibility for your life and how you live it.
It's Not Always Easy
It won't always be easy but that's ok.
We go through hard times and we experience pain, patriarchy, loss, neglect, injustice, judgement and so much more. As women especially, we are conditioned to be polite, "pretty", modest, "proper", selfless and the caretaker for others and it can take years of unlearning years to accept self-love into our lives.
We can't always be responsible for how we feel about the things that happen to us and around us. We can't always control our feelings but what we can do is process and harness them. Don't run from how you're feeling, don't try and push them down or judge them in any way.
Respect the fact that you and others around us may share different values and beliefs, and possess different feelings, and that is 100% okay.
Self-love isn't always easy, it's a choice and an important one. It requires you to be honest with yourself, your mindset and to shift your mindset to practice knowing your own self-worth.
Be kind to yourself.