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Self-love isn’t a destination, but rather an ongoing conscious choice. Being able to continually check in with yourself to address those old insecurities, or new ones, is important, especially to ensure they aren’t morphing into something more. It is best to often remind yourself to accept your flaws, review what is important to you and find new ways to support those things.
The hard truth is that Self-love is hard work. We often see ‘LOVE YOURSELF’ quotes all around us on social media, artwork, etc., but what does it look like in practice? What’s the difference between self-love and self-reliance?
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Something to remember is that self-love isn’t loving every single thing about yourself 100% of the time, that’s not realistic. Self-love is about not allowing those thoughts to consume us, and about acknowledging and then dismissing our unhealthy thoughts, and choosing to give that energy to the things that make us happier, stronger and more fulfilled instead.
While we look after ourselves, it’s good to notice when what we are doing is more self-reliant. There is often an internalized belief that all we have is ourselves to depend on, otherwise, we are bothering others if we were to ask for help. Be sure to communicate with others and lean on those you can trust and who trust in you. This is also a healthy form of self-love.
Self-love also isn’t just saying yes to things that we enjoy, it’s saying no to things that you don’t serve us. It’s good to question “Is that thing you’re doing self-care or self-sabotage?” “Are you not responding to messages because you’re holding a boundary or are you not responding because you are withdrawing and isolating?”
Just like every other skill we have to learn, it takes practice and constant work to make these check-ins with yourself.
Know that self-love is less about the ability to withstand loneliness or establish independence and more about awareness and acceptance of our incompleteness and imperfectness. Loving ourselves doesn’t have to be a radically individualistic pursuit. It’s about letting others love us even when we feel unlovable because their version of us is often kinder than our own.
A simple step to take today: Challenge yourself by letting a loved one, a friend, or a colleague in on what might be really going on for you. Have that vulnerable conversation and you just might find that you’ll feel much better after you did.