self-love (n.): regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).
⏲ Read time: 5-7 minutesFor months, I’ve been jumping aboard the self-love bandwagon, spewing things like body positivity and promoting the idea of etching time to take care of our own needs. But in the same breath, I’ve been struggling to find out what exactly self-love means to me and how I can work it into my life.
By definition, it’s simple, yet entirely complicated. The idea of self-love is deemed a positive thing, but by its context, it appears to make us look very self-centered and narcissistic. What gives self-love a righteous pass, rather than being deemed as someone who’s just an egotistical asshole?
The world we live in today is ever-changing and it’s truly incredible to see how embracive as a society we have become with the idea of finding our true selves. People are more accepting now, and in a world that seems to be filled with hatred and anger, there’s still so much love to give, not only to everyone accepting it, but also to ourselves.
Personally, it’s been very hard to be a promoter of self-love, since I didn’t love myself for a long time. I’ve always struggled with my body image, though I’ve never shared my demons when it came to my weight. I have always been on the heavier side, and I knew that I wasn’t small like the other girls. Yet, I also didn’t feel that I was “fat” or that I was “overweight”. I thought that I was decent-looking, but I knew that I could have been a lot prettier if I lost 20 pounds.
It has been a very difficult relationship with myself because I wasn’t ready to call myself out on being as unhappy as I was in my own skin. I knew what it would take to lose the weight, but I also didn’t want to put in the work to do it. For most of my life, I was complacent, settled for what I looked like and secretly hated myself for letting it get so out of hand, just wishing that someone would give me the kick in the ass I needed.
Once I started dating Ryan, it took a while to unravel that hidden confidence I knew I had in me. If someone could undoubtedly love me the way he did, why couldn’t I love myself fully? I was able to give so much affection to him, why couldn’t I see what he saw in me?
Finally, after being miserable for so long, I decided that I was fed up with how I looked and decided to give myself something I desperately needed: that kick in the ass.
Self-love doesn’t only have to be dedicating the time and energy into the gym. For me, it has been a main focus of my self-love journey, but there’s been other facets too of how I’ve learned to live my best life. They haven’t always been apparent, but they certainly have been lessons along the way.
Removing toxic people from your life can be the biggest act of self-love you can do for yourself without even realizing it. This is where it gets a little messy, because it can be seen as one of those instances where it seems self-centered. If someone puts you down any chance they can and doesn’t want to see you prosper, you don’t need them.
If you’re trying to live your best life and someone’s negativity dims your shine, you’re absolutely allowed to cut the cord. It’s in your best interest to surround yourself with nothing but love and positive vibes.
The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that notion of quality-over-quantity. Growing up, I always thought it was about how many friends, rather than the kind of friends you had. The more I’ve grown, the smaller my friend group has gone, and that’s completely okay, because those still in my circle only want the best for me.
Self-love also isn’t always about spending money to pamper yourself. It can be allowing yourself to get a full eight hours of zzz’s, eating a nutritious and satisfying meal or even as simple as brushing your teeth. You only have one body, treat it like the temple it is.
The action of self-love can be so contagious, if done right. Seeing people live their best life, feeling happy in their own skin gives me an itch to push myself and change something I don’t like in my life. Surround yourself with those people and prosper together.
& if you ever need someone to cheer you on, just know that I’m always here, rooting for you❤