The very first thing I would like to mention here is that self-love is not a one-night process but a slow and steady struggle yet an art that an individual has to go through or has to practice every passing minute. It takes days, months and even years for the sake of loving yourself to a level that you’ll be ready to flaunt every imperfection you got.
An important point to be noted here is that your imperfections must not be confused with your negative personality. Negativity in no way will bring you any good and it shouldn’t be taken as ‘one of the imperfections’ you may, or one may have.
Another thing to not be confused is self-love with self-obsession. They are totally different.
Let’s consider an example to make this point clearer— when anger starts to take over you; the obsessed part of you will not want to go against you and your beliefs. All you’d think about is what the other person has done wrong or has said bad to you. You’d never be the bad guy in your story but always the other one. Self-love on the contrary, begets the realization of a possibility of you being in the wrong. It helps you to open the gates of your immaturities and work upon them. Self-love never confines you but provides limitless opportunities to explore your inner self—your true persona, either if it’s good or bad.
Self-love is a cure to your every problem, it’s a blessing but self-obsession is toxicity—a curse for your entire existence.
People think of it as a choice to adapt but shouldn’t. It must be a need, to be crystal clear. But when and how do you start to realize this need?
In most of the cases, a toxic relationship serves as a wake-up call because that’s when people follow the mantra— “all of me loves all of you”, well as you should. But John Legend didn’t ask you to admire, or in better words, bear with the toxic side of the other person as well.
The biggest mistake you make is when you get dependent emotionally (and physically) on the person you love. Your life starts revolving around somebody else entirely. You give every inch of you and your efforts in the name of ‘love’.
Be it the person you love romantically, your sibling, your best friend or even your mother or father; this applies to all the bonds you have; if there is even a slight of negativity/toxicity which is hampering your peace and happiness, it’s not worth it.
Allow yourself to give yourself priority; make somebody a part of your life, not the life you can’t live without because then you are making space to sabotage yourself.
Taking care of yourself and thinking about your happiness first (if it isn’t bringing any harm to the other person) is not being selfish!
Another common case is when there is no self-acceptance. And when there is no self-acceptance then self-destruction automatically make its way and your low self-esteem serves as a bridge to that.
There could be innumerable reasons as to why you don’t feel confident enough and usually it’s all about the physical appearance like your height, body weight, skin tone, blemishes, acnes, scars or anything which compels you to think low of yourself.
You develop a feeling of bitterness towards yourself. Let’s take an example of Bulimia. It is one of the eating disorders where people binge eat and then throw up or take laxatives to extract food from the body. It is not healthy, and you shouldn’t practice such behavior just to get external validation.
External validation is to get appreciation by others that you think you need to feel superior or if not superior, then at least to feel worthy.
These are the reasons why the concept of self-love is so important to adapt; so that you don’t have to take somebody else’s opinion to feel worthy or you don’t need somebody else’s existence to feel complete. You can be and you should be enough for yourself.
And like previously mentioned, it’s not something which you can achieve in one night. It’s something you need to practice every day and night. You must put efforts for that and work hard for yourself.
Here are the few things that you can begin with to understand yourself better and start with practicing the art of loving yourself:
1. Embrace Your Flaws: You must have heard or read this statement a dozen of times before that perhaps you don’t even give much thoughts to it anymore. But you should! Start admiring yourself the way you are.
Every human has imperfections, you can’t be perfect and accept this fact. Normalize being imperfect inside your head. And let me remind you, embracing flaws in not equal to accepting your immaturities. Work on those areas where you need to but stop pressurizing yourself for those things over which you have zero control.
2. Confront Your Self-destructive Side: What’s wrong is wrong, even if it is something in you. Face those wrong set of values that you carry either intentionally or unintentionally. Keep asking yourself questions that you might never dared to and take steps towards making yourself better. There can be many situations like you holding on to foul feelings such as jealousy, hatred or it can also be you simply lazing off—there you are killing the creative and productive side of you.
3. Add Discipline in Your Life: Try to be a better version of yourself by bringing change and adapting good things in your life. Discipline plays an important role for that and discipline is not about only less talking, wearing neat and tidy clothes as we were being taught back in our primary schools. It’s more about making proper schedules and adapting healthy a lifestyle; waking up early, having a balanced diet, reading good books, regularly working out and following routines.
4. Self-comparison: What most of the people do wrong here is that they always compare themselves to somebody else when they shouldn’t. Self-comparison is more important than that. Study your own self; your own behavioral and working patterns. Emphasize more on the results which you got in the past and check if you have improved or not and if you did then by how much.
Loving yourself is surely not easy. These above-mentioned points might sound easy for a moment to follow but they are not. You need to keep telling yourself that this is something must in your life. The level of satisfaction, happiness and peace self-love brings, nothing else in this world has that power to provide you that.
“Maybe I made a mistake yesterday, but yesterday’s me is still me. I am who I am today, with all my faults. Tomorrow I might be a tiny bit wiser, and that’s me too. These faults and mistakes are what I am, making up the brightest stars in the constellation of my life. I have come to love myself for who I was, who I am, and who I hope to become.”— Kim Namjoon (also known as RM of BTS)