Living each day much muchier
What does it mean to love yourself?
Valentines Day is over for another year and for many people, it’s a time of mixed emotion. Sure, love is grand, but a day dedicated to it can be a hot poker stirring the murk of our true feelings about love, the lover we’re with or maybe the one we wish we had. But, forget about that for a moment because I want to look at the relationship you have with yourself, the longest one you’ll ever have and one you can’t leave, ghost or take a personal space break from.
You’re stuck with you. That makes learning to love yourself a necessity if you want any chance at happiness.
Thanks to Whitney Houston, we’re assured that self love is the greatest love of all. I don’t know about that. All I know is that it’s much harder than it seems.
Just when I think I’m doing okay, an unflattering photo,stray comment or confrontation with my limitations comes along and I struggle. I’ve looked at worth and approval. I decided to break up with the endless diet cycle and establish a tenuous truce with my body the way it is.
Yet, I’m far from giving myself the point, wink, click combo in the mirror and saying ‘damn girl’ each morning.
The lore on self love so often closes the book at the chapter where you’re perfect as you are. That’s a hard pill to swallow when you know, just quietly, that you’re not. Surely you shouldn’t have to pretend that you are.
The truth is somewhere in the middle. We all struggle. It’s okay. It’s human. The question is, how do we get from that to loving ourselves?
When you think about what it means to love others, it’s never about how much you adore them, or compliment them or admire their good looks. It’s more often about how much you can support them, help them succeed and be there for them.
So, why would loving ourselves have anything at all to do with our looks or talent? It’s a distraction. More than that, it’s a superficial quick fix that a) doesn’t last very long and b) distracts us from what really needs to happen.
Loving yourself is exactly the same as loving another. It’s getting to know what makes you tick inside, your dreams and your triggers. It’s supporting yourself to make the best decisions about what you need and what’s good for you. It’s helping yourself to succeed and honouring your inner voice.
It’s making the choice to nourish, not punish yourself.
By nourish, I mean getting enough sleep, putting a range of decent foods in your mouth and moving your body. It means pushing yourself to experience new things and daring to try through the fear of failure. It means curating the experiences you expose yourself to, including how much you work, the media you watch/read and especially (can’t stress this enough) how you let other people treat you.
Regardless of how you feel about the skin you’re in, you can choose to nourish yourself, but it’s so individual that no-one can define that for you. They’ll try and probably charge you for it and none of it will work, long-term.
You won’t find it in a thousand year old book or your next google search. It’s not sticking to a 1200 calorie diet or denying yourself something and it’s not posting selfies with a positivity hashtag. It’s not defining yourself as beautiful because actually, you don’t owe pretty to anyone. It’s none of those things because none of those things are actually you. You are the very breath that you take right now and the choice to nourish yourself in that moment.
When I define loving myself in that light, I might not actually be doing too bad. I grimace about a few things, but overall, I’m making choices to move, eat, breathe, honour and push myself.
It feels good and I’m pretty sure that’s what it means to love the skin you’re in.
“I find the best way to love someone is not to change them, but instead, help them reveal the greatest version of themselves.”