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Beginning to love yourself is difficult. It might even be one of The Most Difficult Things. A year ago I would not have felt at all qualified to write this, but in the past few months I have taken baby steps towards the all elusive self-love.
There are times when even accepting yourself can be a challenge, and liking yourself one of colossal proportions. It makes complete sense for loving yourself to be arduous. When a couple move in together, it tests their love for each other, but even the most devoted and inseparable couple have some alone time; even if it is only when they go to the bathroom. We cannot choose whether or not we move in with ourselves. We already have; and we never truly escape. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but we are never truly absent from ourselves. This means that being critical and getting easily annoyed at yourself is an easy routine to fall into, but allowing yourself to become truly embroiled in such troubles- which we are all guilty of doing every now and then- is quite a waste of time when you could be spending those same minutes, hours, days noticing the great things about yourself.
The first step to loving myself, for me, came from being kinder to myself and praising myself for little things. I wrote something today? Great. I found time to watch my favourite film? Awesome. Instead of dismissing the things that I liked to do, I started to view them as important, because they are important. They are important in making me who I am, and it’s wonderful that I have such a strong sense of individuality.
Next I looked for some people to look up to who are big on promoting self-love. Obviously, there’s Kanye West (“I Am A God” is my anthem when I want to feel on top of the world.) Internet famous Joanna Kuchta is also fabulous. Of course one of the perks of being famous is all of the external gratification you receive. When everyone else is telling you how fantastic you are, it is much easier to believe it. However, with fame comes a lot of criticism as well as praise. Other people’s voices can therefore battle in the same way that our internal thoughts about ourselves do. So it’s not like Kanye and Joanna are aliens who we can never understand. Even if you do delude yourself a little bit and post online as if you have millions of fans, you’re not harming anyone by doing this. Be proud of the 10, 20, 30 likes your Instagram photos get, but remember that online gratification does not necessarily translate into real life.
Another obstacle in loving yourself (on top of the inevitable self-inflicted ones) is society’s attitude towards those who do so. Coming across as conceited or egotistical is seen as something to be avoided above pretty much all else, but I would rather be a little bit on the conceited side than go back to hating myself. Furthermore, I have found that being around people who perhaps are verging on the egotistical is more positive than surrounding myself with those who dislike themselves. People who do love themselves most of the time tend to be a lot more positive all round. Sometimes it’s nice to pretend that you and the people you are with are better than everyone else, as long as it’s not in an openly spiteful way.
There are no terms and conditions for self love. Don’t just love yourself after going on a 5K run or receiving a compliment; love yourself after eating a donut; love yourself when you’re dancing alone to your favourite song. There is no one size fits all formula for happiness; we’re all just doing our best.