Learning to Love Yourself
Valentine’s Day approaches with advertisements for chocolate, flowers, cards, and other items—focusing on monetary gifts primarily for significant others. But whether you have a partner or are single, the greatest love you can cherish is yourself.
Our society tends to focus on caring for others and being humble, yet also spouts advice like: if you can’t love you, how can someone else? While these sentiments are well intentioned and important, loving yourself is about happiness and well-being rather than ego and is often a challenging process.
You may be familiar with various advertising campaigns that promote healthy body image, like the most recent This Girl Can video “I Jiggle Therefore I Am” from the UK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN7lt0CYwHg
Personally, I enjoy how this campaign celebrates women having fun and being healthy while appreciating their diversity over promoting weight loss or shame. Other hashtag movements and projects are also promoting this type of body love.
Photographer Jade Beall’s #LoveTheMirror campaign features individuals who are working toward self-love and acceptance, which can inspire others to also love themselves. For more on her project, explore the link below: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/09/lovethemirror-body-image-jes-bak r_n_6438108.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000046&fb_ref=Default&fb_source=message
Some people use mantras or specific statements, while others work their own mental game. There is no one right or wrong way to remind yourself that you are smart, capable, and beautiful, or as we learned from The Help: “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.”
As I work toward being happy and healthy, I started to notice different articles and resources that I had previously always ignored. In Everyday Feminism’s article, “3 Things to Remember When You Can’t Stop Being Hard on Yourself,” I was struck by the reminder to think “so what?” when I’m stressed out or rehashing the day’s events needlessly. Accepting that things happen and being able to treat the past as the past is no easy feat, but using such moments as an opportunity for self-compassion rather than guilt and shame made me hopeful. See more about the article here: http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/10/let-yourself-off-the-hook/?utm_content=bufferc826b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Evaluating these types of self-help articles is very important, but I also enjoy hearing first person accounts to see how certain strategies work for actual individuals. Many voices say great things, and I encourage you to seek out the ones that are most useful and meaningful to you. And, of course, share the loves with others!
One article that was recently recommended to me (from http://tinybuddha.com/blog/21-tips-to-release-self-neglect-and-love-yourself-in-action/) discusses family and culture influences and multiple steps to help shift toward a happier self-perception. I enjoyed how she acknowledged that the tips are part of an on-going process and included various physical and mental activities that could be beneficial for different people. Each individual may have a spiritual or religious belief that can also help guide them, but she also makes sure to stress the importance of seeking professional treatment as needed. As great as family and friends can be, an extra hand might be the support you need!
So in this month of “love,” don’t forget to share a little for yourself. Instead of looking at yourself in the mirror and saying “good enough,” focus on what is beautiful and what you’re going to accomplish or have accomplished in that day. And if you’re like me, you may enjoy a little you time with some wine, chocolate, and a bubble bath for no other reason than “because I deserve it.”