Lately, I’ve been seeing the concept of self-love catch a lot of slack. I first experienced it watching the HBO heavily R-rated series Euphoria. One of the characters was daydreaming about women she idolized. She was in a funk because she doesn’t really like how she looks very much. Well in this scene, all of her female idols filled her room aggressively yelling at her to love herself. They yelled it repeatedly as if saying it multiple times would instantly bring her the love for self she so desperately wanted. They surrounded her and she began to breathe hard and sweat then the daydream ended. That same week, I saw a post on a blog for married people saying something along the lines of “self-love is keeping women single“. Now that’s the post that had me clutching my pearls and rushing to my laptop to address this foolishness. How can me loving myself keep me single? If loving me is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Is Self-Love Bad?
I get it, the term self-love has become oversaturated and constantly misused. It has been the random caption for women all over the place who couldn’t think of anything or women who just broke up with their boyfriends. But what we’re not going to start doing is blaming self-love for the reason women are single and unhappy because that’s just not true at all.
Self love doesn’t mean selfish, self-centered, or self-serving. It’s not a scapegoat for negative character traits or a reason to avoid accountability. It’s fully appreciating yourself and accepting every aspect of who you are while continuing to grow and be an even better person. The goal is to love yourself enough so your relationships with others can be enriched. Once you know how to love yourself, loving others is easier. The issue comes when self-love is misrepresented by cute pictures of vacations, spa days, and pretty outfits. Contrary to popular belief, self-love doesn’t have an aesthetic. It’s not a photoshopped image of your life; it is an internal feeling of peace and awareness starting with understanding who you are, what makes you happy, and what choices need to be made in order to maintain this level of peace and happiness. Self-love isn’t always fun or cute because much of it is telling yourself no to bad habits that make you feel sad and emotionally depleted.
The Problem With Society and Self-Love
The problem is, most people don’t even like themselves but they aren’t aware of it. We live in a fast-moving society where people aren’t still long enough to evaluate if they are happy or if they like who they are as a person. Most times this realization comes through some sort of catastrophic life event where they have no choice but to sit in their emotions. People would rather numb themselves with drugs, alcohol, dating, sex, work, etc to avoid facing these feelings. That’s why the majority of this society doesn’t even understand the true meaning of self-love so of course they’re going to bash it.
This society criticizes emotional health but glorifies emotional toxicity. This is because toxicity is easy. It’s easy to lack discipline and blame it on “that’s just who I am”. It’s easy to just do drugs or have sex to avoid facing your insecurities. It’s easy to just accept the bare minimum from a man you’re dating just to have a man and refuse to confront him in fear of losing him. The reason people are beginning to bash self-love is because it’s hard. If self-love was easy, everyone would do it. But unfortunately, we’ve created a society run by instant gratification and pleasure rather than the need for deep emotional appreciation for self. But again, we are not going to blame self-love for women being single. You can blame selfishness, lack of accountability, unhealed trauma, self-centeredness, etc but self-love is not the culprit. A woman who truly loves herself is very unproblematic.
So what does self-love actually look like?
- Keeping promises to yourself when you set goals and boundaries.
- A deep understanding of what you want and need to be happy.
- Telling yourself no to instant gratification when you know it’ll lead to unhappiness in the long run.
- Listening to your mind and body when it needs to rest, not go there, or not be around them.
- Actually liking who you are.