Let’s get real on what self-love means in today’s world of false beauty standards. Are we in the pursuit of our own well-being and happiness or are we going down a narcissistic path? In this post, I’m taking a deeper look into the meaning of self- love and the work we must do to harness that love each and everyday.
I’m sure we’ve all seen the #selflove on Instagram. It is literally on everyone’s post (I use it all the time), and from what I’ve come across most of times it is hash-tagged to a post discussing a cute outfit or a little skin therapy. Sometimes the post is about taking time alone or having much needed quality time with loved ones. These are all great forms of self care, which is the first step towards self-love. However, are we all really acknowledging what it means to truly love ourselves? In today’s world of social media influencers, Kardashians, and photoshop, it is easy for us to fall into the comparison game. Feeling unworthy because we don’t have the perfect lips or butt, if only we were more like this person or looked more like that person. Sure, comparison has always been around, but now with our “look at me” culture we are on another level. Plastic surgery once thought of as the last recourse for the aging is now the first stop for generation Y. Don’t like your lips, fill’em, don’t like your butt, suck out the fat from your waist and plump it, don’t like your nose, well get a new one.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with plastic surgery and wanting to be happy in your body. Hey, I’ve thought about a boob job for a very long time and am still very open to plastic surgery when the time comes, so I’m certainly not judging. I have personal training clients, friends and family that have undergone procedures. I’ve seen how it has helped some of them finally feel comfortable in their own skin and I’ve also seen others become unhappy with something else on their body. So the bigger question becomes, are they, you, and me loving ourselves for who we are and finding our joy from within.
We seem to perceive that self-love starts externally, however, it all begins internally. See, no matter how small your waistline gets or how expensive your clothes are, if you’re not happy from within, you’ll never feel complete. You will always be chasing that new accolade, accomplishment, compliment, relationship or object, to make you happy.
“I will be happy once I have or done …..”, was a line I lived by for years.
I never changed my personal appearance, but I did seek validation from what I accomplished. From my education, what and where I studied, to the title I held at my job. At first I would be excited over my accomplishment, but then it would fade away. Ever get to where you wanted to be and find yourself not happy? Meeeee!
If the waistline or accolades are not the answer to all your happiness and the ticket to self-love, then what is? Well, let me start by giving you these two very different definitions of self-love. According to dictionary.com the definitions for self-love are the following:
1: regard for one's own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic
2: conceit; vanity
So as we discuss all things self-love on social media platforms, the focal point appears to be on the external and not enough on the internal. The falsehood of perfection, has caused a focus around the second definition, on vanity, only having admiration of our physical appearance. This only fosters the cycle of exactly what we are needing to move away from, when we discuss self-love. We are staying in the realm of unhealthy comparison to our peers and exacerbating materialism. If we shift our focus to our individual well-being and happiness that’s when we make major strides. That’s where our power is, it’s owning who we are, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. To have true self-love is to have self acceptance. Self acceptance is understanding your strengths, weaknesses, and worth. By ignoring societal pressures, opinions of others and even our own self doubt, we become who we truly want to be at our core. Aligning with with who we are at our core, being our authentic selves, is where we find our bliss.
So ignore everyone else’s ideology of so called perfection and be you! Love the skin you’re in, love your mind, love what you bring to this lifetime. There will never be another you, so why try to be and look like someone else? My hope with this entry is to raise our awareness of the topic of self-love and have real conversations about what we are focusing on when discuss it. Self-love goes beyond what’s on our screen. Please understand it is an ever evolving process. It will look different for everyone as they grow in their love, but remember self-love is always about you becoming a better version of you, not someone else. If you’re following someone that doesn’t inspire and empower you to love you, then maybe it is time to unfollow.
In love and light,