It’s a phrase passed around a lot, especially online. From celebrities to influencers and even regular people, this message is always preached. In songs, in inspirational quotes, in speeches…it’s everywhere. And for good reason. It’s good advice.
But it’s so freaking hard.
We already know that love is a strong word. So strong that some people live their whole lives not understanding it. It’s easy to say “I love pizza” or “I love my best friend” but even then, you may not fully know what love is or what it means.
And then there’s the concept of yourself. You. The one being you can control, you can fully know. You’re you and you’ve been you your whole life. You’re flawed and you’re limited and you’re learning and existing every day. You know more about yourself than anyone ever will. You see yourself in a way no one ever will.
But you are not the roadblock in this goal of loving yourself. Not always. The world is. The messy, complex, ever-changing world we live in has become such a huge part of who we are and how we see things. The world shaped us and continues to shape us, and sometimes, we have to fight that.
It seems sometimes that the world has boxes you need to check in order to be worthy of love. You gotta be skinny and have clear skin and be smart and be sweet and have nice hair and dress in a certain way and like certain things and express yourself in certain ways. Your butt must be a certain size and your nose must be a certain shape and you must live a certain way. And you better have all this figured out by the time you’re like sixteen years old because if others can, so can you, right? It’s tiring. Even people who seemingly check all these boxes still may not feel worthy.
Sometimes I feel like no one truly and fully loves themselves, and anyone who says they do are lying to sell the message, not necessarily to others but to themselves in an attempt to feel like they’re trying. Like when you tell yourself that you’re fine or you’re happy but you aren’t. But whether actually loving yourself is really possible or not, we still have to keep trying. We are who we are in these bodies and we will be for a long time, so if you can make this journey has happy and confident as possible, that’s the goal.
The first step is to not hate yourself. Step two to just like yourself.
A few years ago, I said that I wanted to be more positive, and I know I’m still quick to lean into self-deprecating humour out loud, but I think how I view myself internally has changed for the better. I’m either accepting or coming to even appreciate things about myself both physical and otherwise that years ago I disliked. I’m working on the things I can change and I’m making an effort to be nicer to myself and kinder to myself. I’m trying to look in the mirror and have my first thoughts be somewhat positive. It’s been a challenge and I’m nowhere near fully loving myself, but I can still be proud of these developments. For the most part, I like myself.
But here’s my theory on loving yourself: weirdly enough, you can’t do it alone. We as humans, whether we like it/know it or not, are constantly seeking validation and acceptance from people, be it friends or coworkers or random people at a bar or strangers on the internet. It’s why we edit photos that go on social media or dress up when we go out or act in certain ways around certain people. To really feel valid and worthy of love, sometimes we need to hear it from other people who genuinely mean it. In the same way we need other people to tell us we’re good at cooking, I think sometimes we need someone to tell us we’re beautiful in order for us to really believe it and see it in ourselves.
Again, it’s just my theory, but I’d love to know what you think of it. And I’d love to know if you’ve got tips for loving yourself, even if you’ve yet to do it. There’s no right way to reach the final stage, and there’s no time limit, so no matter where you are on this journey is okay. I think as long as there’s at least awareness for how you perceive and conduct yourself, that’s good enough.
That’s all for now!