Ah, love, it’s a big word. It’s a beautiful feeling when we fall in love and feel loved by others but how many of us truly love ourselves?
Love in its purest form is unconditional. It’s all encompassing and accepting. It’s not about ignoring flaws or weaknesses rather it’s about acknowledging these and accepting them anyway. Unconditional love is how you feel when you look at someone and can say I love you for all that you are rather than a few parts. It’s more than how someone looks, talks or acts, it’s the complete package.
I love my family and fiancé in this way yet when it comes to myself, it’s a different story. I look in the mirror and see flaws which I choose to focus on. I declare that I cannot possibly accept or love myself the way that I am because of my flaws. It’s a conditional love which is based on my appearance and what I’m achieving in life. I believe that unconditional self-love is more elusive than loving someone else completely.
We didn’t come into this world loathing ourselves. Instead, it was something that happened over time. Sociocultural expectations and experiences have a lot to do with how we treat ourselves. Even if you have self-respect and confidence, it doesn’t equate to loving yourself unconditionally. Others tell us how we should be and if we don’t meet up to their expectations, we are deemed as being not good enough. Pretending to be someone else is exhausting – mentally, physically and emotionally.
We invest time and energy in trying to fix ourselves because we believe that we are broken and in need of repair. Imagine how different we would feel if we invested this same time and energy into loving ourselves rather than fighting who we are? Acceptance is the key to love. If we can love ourselves, then we can find peace.
To love yourself is to acknowledge the good and the bad but to love yourself regardless. It doesn’t mean that you can’t improve yourself or your life but it does mean that you are doing it from a place of love rather than fear. It’s about getting honest about who you are and what you want from life. It’s being brave enough to accept that you are who you are and showing this to others rather than putting on a fake persona. Be authentic and allow others to love the real you.
Self-love is about being compassionate. If you’re feeling tired, listen to your body and rest. If you’re feeling motivated or creative, celebrate this and create. Take the pressure off and trust that you will achieve more than if you try and push yourself constantly.
Self-love is being able to look in the mirror and say I love you without any conditions. If you want to change your appearance say to become fitter or healthier, you can do so but from a place of love. You exercise for how you feel afterwards rather than having to. It’s looking after yourself for your health rather than so other people like you. It’s about eating a meal to nourish your body rather than starving yourself to maintain an unhealthy weight.
Self-love looks good on everyone. You radiate confidence, there’s a spring in your step and you become love.