Loving yourself sounds kind of silly right, arrogant even. I mean in school we get taught maths, science, English and even the occasional lesson on how to look after yourself and what to do if you are getting bullied, but where were the lessons on learning to love yourself?
Society surrounds us with a bombardment of images – adverts telling us what we should look like, eat, do, think and believe. And, all these messages seem to have a similar theme: that we alone are not good enough, that somehow we must constantly aspire to something greater, whether that be to look prettier or want more materially. No wonder then, that growing up in this environment people find it hard to love themselves or accept who they are.
I, myself, have struggled with who I am and learning to appreciate any positive attributes I may have; self-love is a journey, and something I am still working on every day.
I’m sure many of you reading this are left wondering why exactly self-love is so important, or whether this is just some kind of hippy-dippy bulls***. Trust me, I get your scepticism. I, too was of the belief that expressing any form of gratitude or appreciation of who you were as a person, was really just an extreme display of narcissism. However, there is a lot of information out there showing the importance of self-love and how it can lead to feeling more fulfilled, balanced and happy.
Improve your emotional and mental health.
Allowing yourself to accept and even cherish who you are, has even been said to help with a number of emotional problems and prevent self-destructive behaviour. Don’t believe me? Well, there are reams of articles on the topic on sites like Psychology Today. As well as countless blogs you can scroll through on the subject (I recommend Gala Darling and Tiny Buddha).
“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” – Aristotle
So, if self-love can actually help us flourish and thrive, why is it being ignored?
Personally, I think many people are too caught up in the potential external dangers we may experience, such as drugs, alcohol and the effect of the media and television. As a result, acknowledging that often you are your own harshest critic and worst enemy is often something left ignored. The sad thing is that self-love is actually really easy to teach, and little steps can lead you to a more fulfilling life. It can be as simple as treating yourself to a cup of coffee or outfit you like, practising yoga or reading a good book, to giving yourself a compliment a day. I challenge you to give it a try, no matter how stupid or embarrassing it may seem at first.
I hope from reading this that maybe you have gained a small insight into the world that is self-love. Because, let’s face it, we are all pretty freaking awesome in our own special and unique way, and sometimes we just need to take a step back from our chaotic lives and realise that.
What do you think? Do we need to learn to love ourselves and forget material wants? Share your thoughts in the comments below.