Self-love; Huh?

So now we have to love ourselves too?  The concept seems ridiculous.  Isn’t that someone else’s job?  It contradicts everything I was taught as a child.  Growing up Catholic, there was not alot of Self-love doctrines being tossed around.

Is it literal?  This is preposterous, isn’t that extremely vain, to love yourself? 

Self-love defined is love of self or the regard for one’s own happiness or advantage.  It has been conceptualized as a basic human necessity and as a moral flaw, similar to vanity and selfishness, synonymous with conceit, egotism etc.  (Ah there it is)

HOWEVER…. Throughout the centuries self love has adopted a more positive connotation through self-love protests, the Hippie era, as well as the increase in mental health awareness that promotes self love as intrinsic to self-help and support groups working to prevent substance abuse and suicide Beck, Brown & Ghahramankiy-Harroway, 2008).

It makes sense now, on why I was so confused at this concept.  How do you unlearn what you were taught, that being conceited and egotistical is now a good thing.

My take on it is that although it is literal, it actually is a fundamental concept. 

You actually have to look at your life and be brutally honest with yourself and your thought patterns and adopt new methods that reflect self worth. They do say that the biggest part of maturity is unlearning patterns of behaviour that no longer serve you. We apparently, must advocate for ourselves and love yourself first. The old adage of “you teach people how to treat you,” is very relevant here.

Self-love isn’t a trip to the spa, self-love takes a conscientious effort to self reflect and it’s a continuous process.

The need for self-love typically happens when you go through something traumatic, and that is usually a break-up. When you devote so much of your energy trying to make something work and you neglect your own needs.  When you feel it’s someone else’s responsibility to make you happy, chances are you are not loving yourself.

How can you expect someone to love you- when you don’t love yourself?

When you love yourself, you can build a foundation to build a happy life.  How do you do this? 

When you learn to love yourself, it allows you to connect more deeply with others.  It fosters emotional psychological and physical health. Self-love is not about vanity, it is about vitality. 

You can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself first.  When you love yourself first, you will have a deeper compassion for others, and joy with the pleasure of giving. If you do not have a strong foundation of self-love your entire life will be uncertain and unstable.  But if you love yourself, life moves forward and everything falls into place.

You will have a different outlook on life, and build resilience.

You simply cannot take care of others until you take care of yourself first. When you truly, unconditionally love yourself, you can move through the world with deeper compassion for others, with a deep sense of joy and pleasure within the act of giving.

Self love is, therefore, your fuel and foundation. If it’s not there, your entire life will be unstable and uncertain. But if you truly love yourself, life moves forward with ease and everything magically falls into place.

You’ll have greater resilience to withstand any challenging life event or personal adversity. Depression, anxiety, stress, and the obsession with perfection will vanish in the face of pure optimism that self love creates.

You will always know that this moment shall pass and say, “I am okay because I will treat myself fairly no matter the situation.”

That all sounds great, really, it does. The small print is, that it is a lot of work. It takes deep introspection. It’s being okay with yourself. My mom used to say, “You were born alone, you will die alone.” I thought that was such a grim outlook- and I used to challenge her and say, “not if you die in a plane crash, or you were a twin, or triplet or quadruplet….” (you get where I was going with this) Of course she was right, even if any of those things happen, you technically are born alone, and you do die alone- both are personal journeys- into this world, and out. My mother’s premise was that you should be comfortable about being alone. She really did hammer that down to me. Maybe she was on to something.

She understood this concept, be okay with yourself. You shouldn’t always need people around you. Be your own cheerleader. (This would make more sense later in life). When you can only depend on yourself- you learn very valuable lessons. You have to be your own motivator, encourager and you have to love everything about yourself. Your imperfections- everything. Things you don’t like about yourself, make an effort to change them. It’s alot of work, and it is definitely uncomfortable, which is why many of us, leave it in the hands of other people. Of course, an impossible feat, which is why, you always feel disappointed when relationships crumble, the evidence was always there. You can’t expect someone else to make you happy, when you are not happy with yourself.

This Self-love thing- is like an algebra equation nowadays it can be perceived as being narcissistic. How much self-love is enough? Is there some sort of measurement? Can you overdo self-love? Is there a perfect amount of self-love? Is there a formula?

I had to know more. We all have done it, and I myself am guilty of taking “selfies”. Is that not self-love? Apparently not… The American Psychiatric Association actually confirmed that taking selfies is a mental disorder. They went as far as to label the condition as selfitis. It is defined as the obsessive compulsive desire to take photos of one’s self and post them on social media as a way to make up for the lack of self-esteem and to fill a gap in intimacy. It is categorized into three levels, borderline, acute and chronic.

Uh, oh. Now I had to see if I had this selfitis. If you are taking up to three selfies a day but not posting them on social media, consider yourself borderline. – whew- I don’t fall into this category.

If you are posting at least three images of yourself a day, that’s acute and if you have and uncontrollable urge to take and post up to six photos a day- you’re the winner of chronic selfitis.

Whoa, dodged that bullet. Okay cleared the almost diagnosis of selfitis. What’s next?

There is a flip side. Finally, good news….

Taking selfies, are not indicative of low self esteem, it could be quite the opposite, if you are feeling amazing at the time and you want to share it with your loved ones via social media, you shouldn’t stop taking them. Daily selfies can be empowerment for the person. Instead of being a passive subject in a photo, your display of beauty and self-esteem is front and center. Don’t just take your selfie, own it. When you feel the best and want to share it with the world, it may just give you the self-esteem you didn’t know you needed (Guerra, 2018)

Kim Kardashian

Now back to being confused, own it, or be diagnostically doomed. Self-love should have a disclaimer. Okay, so let me get this straight, If I own it, I have high self-esteem. If I overdo it- I have selfitis. I think I got it!

Look, the best advice I can give ( not that I am an expert) is do whatever makes you happy, after all it’s all in the title- Self. Only you can determine what that looks like. You don’t need anyone’s validation or permission to do anything. Self-love is about self discovery. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin, like really comfortable. Like NO FILTER comfortable. Believe it or not, I hardly wear any make-up, and rarely use a filter when posting.

Even doing podcasts with my cousin, we don’t have a make-up crew or a lighting technician- and we definitely don’t edit our videos. (um, if you saw one, this all is blatantly obvious, our last podcast was under fluorescent lighting- THE WORST lighting of all time- but we pulled it off!) We do all of our podcasts- on the fly and LIVE- no retakes. It’s not easy putting yourself out there, and sometimes we get positive comments, and then sometimes we don’t. It doesn’t affect me. I have enough courage to put myself out there- that’s enough for me.

Some people know, some people don’t. I take alot of pictures, and yes alot of myself. There is a personal reason for it. My mother developed Alzheimer’s at 57- way before social media, and I wish I took more pictures of her. I have a few, but not nearly the amount I wish I had. I didn’t get to take videos that I can look back at. So, I take pictures of lots of things, then I order books of my social media account, so that if that disease should be my fate, my son will have lots of memories of his mom.

Shameless Selfie

“I am not in this world to live up to your expectation of me, and you are not in this world to live up to mine” Bruce Lee

EXACTLY

Don’t let anyone tell you anything. Keep doing you!

love yourself first.. the rest will follow, and be unapologetically you.

It isn’t, but it’s worth it!

References

Beck, Bhar, Brown & Ghahramanlou‐Holloway (2008). “Self-Esteem and Suicide Ideation in Psychiatric Outpatients”. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior 38.

Guerra, J (2018). “Are selfies good for self-esteem, New research says they are but there’s a huge catch”. https://www.elitedaily.com/p/are-selfies-good-for-self-esteem-new-research-says-they-are-but-theres-a-huge-catch-9862083

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