“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.”
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 repeated it over and over 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 or whatever Luther Ingram said.
I get it, the term self-love has become over saturated 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 boyfriend and wanted him to think she’s happy. But what we not gone do is blame 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’s an internal feeling of peace and awareness. It’s 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.
“Contrary to popular belief, self-love doesn’t have an aesthetic. It’s not a photoshopped image of your life.”
The problem is, most people don’t even like themselves but they aren’t even 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. But most times, 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. It’s not the shortcut, it’s the scenic route. 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, what we not gone do is 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 when pleasurable things in the moment lead you 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.