What the hell do we think of ourselves when we strip away the dieting, the stressing about working out, the angled body photos, the well edited photos on Instagram, the memes that compare all women who aren't size 2 to caricatures of overweight people to illustrate how our bodies aren't "summer ready?"
I wanted to just chat about the self love concept for a bit and by 'chat about' I might mean blab/go on and on. I'm not talking about this because it might be popular to talk about right now or because it seems like a "zen" thing to discuss and zen is so in right now. I just kind of want to share my thoughts on it and what it has meant for me to honestly give self love a decent chance at being a part of my routine.
If you're thinking "blah blah, self love, EVERYONE'S using that catch phrase right now and ya, ya, love yourself-move on to something else, for the love of ***!!!"---I'd say well, that's pretty cool that you've surrounded yourself with so many influences that discuss self love that you're BORED of it, bravo! Honestly, I don't think there can be enough discussions/mentions/reminders of self love in the world- especially the social media world. I'm happy to be adding a small bit to the discourse. I wish I read more about self love on my daily feeds than where someone bought their outfit, honestly. And if you're like "self love...what the hell kind of hippie crap is that?" I'd say it may sounds hippie but it's also COOL. If you're COOL, keep reading...
First, self love, and incorporating it into my life, is a fairly new idea for me. It wasn't until I started experimenting with yoga that I really even heard the term used and nonetheless began to think about what it meant, what it could mean for me, what it could do for me. I began my yoga practice (sounds fancier than saying "I've been doin' yoga" even though I really wanted to say that instead) about a year and a half ago and I've learned so much about self love in that short time. One of the biggest things I've learned is that self love is SO MANY THINGS. It's not just nurturing the image you have of your physical self but also your mind and what you think of who you are and are becoming. This struck me most, like what's my opinion of myself and am I happy with that, am I fulfilled in that opinion?
I also find it pretty special that practicing self love can literally be anything you want it to be, whatever makes you happy and makes you fulfilled in body and spirit. For me, it's lots of dancing and singing to '90s music, eating avocados, drinking wine at the end of a long day, doing yoga, getting out in the sun on a work day (I work in an office so getting outside once a day is LIFE!) and lastly, reminding myself how friggin' lucky I am. That last one may sound super cliché but I had to sneak it in because when life gets ugly/hard/shitty/scary/sad etc., taking a second to think about all the good stuff brings me back down to earth and I feel peaceful. A peaceful mind really helps me lay a foundation for my self love, so I had to give it a shout out.
Also, can we talk about the illusion/ load of crap that is Instagram? First of all, I think most of us are aware, that, in large part, it's a total freaking farce. Perfectly square edited photos of beautiful people always in the best natural light and (in the case of women) super skinny etc.? When I see a beautifully edited photo of either a gorgeous subject or setting, I can tend to think "ugh, this person is flawless, they're so happy and they've got what I WANT." But, I have to pull back periodically, literally set my phone somewhere out of reach (last night during dinner, I left my phone in the next room so I wouldn't be tempted) and practice being present. I know that no one is perfect, no one is as flawless as their photos make them seem and no one has more things because they're happier or in a certain career because they are more deserving than you. No one's worth is more important than your own. Part of self love for me is reminding myself of these things because 1) I'm forgetful (ask my husband- he's probably rolling his eyes in agreement now) 2) but more seriously, I'm still learning to put myself first and nurture those parts of myself that I neglect day to day, so these are good reminders. It's SO easy to get caught up in the mundane and forget about your body/heart/mind health. So, to me, instagram is a double edged sword. I like that you can capture a moment and look back on a diary of photos but I don't like that it can cast an illusion of a perfectly photogenic life- physically and theoretically- because there ain't no such thing, boo. If I'm finding myself getting sucked into the black hole that is Instagram perfectness, I have to disconnect and do something in real life that fulfills me (see "dancing to '90s music").
Maybe self love is something different to you but I know that putting myself first and trying to be present makes me the happiest and the most fulfilled. I'm finding myself putting my phone down more (working on doing it even more, though), listening to my body/mind more, just being in/enjoying the now and worrying less about my physical body. Yup, I struggle with body image, but I'm trying to be more mindful of how my body feels/what it needs than what it looks like compared to someone else and it makes all the difference in my self esteem and my overall mind's health.
I knew this post would be a little all over the place but I wanted to hopefully spread the idea that self love is a real thing that can seriously make a difference in quality of life! Since I can remember, I've been an insecure person and, I've always been really conscious and scrutinous of myself. I feel like reminding myself to practice self love in the last year+ has helped me relax and actually live with a little less stress and a lot more mindfulness.
Thanks for reading if you got thru this.
Love yo self, you worth it, you beautiful human you!