Self-love is the act of putting yourself first. It does not mean loving everything about yourself all the time, but instead, accepting all the things you may not love. I do not believe this comes easy and know that it’s a lot of work, so don’t let the toxic positivity behind this movement get to you. I believe that the fundamental purpose of the Self-Love movement is actively learning to appreciate yourself at your own pace and on your own terms.
A quick Google search will tell you that this movement was started by Alana Arvanitis and a quick look at The Self-Love Movement website will tell you that she is the most upbeat human, exuding rainbows of confidence and happiness, but that is not where she started. A direct quote from Alana Avantis, “I hit rock bottom, in the darkness of sadness & grief, pushing my body to the extreme just in order to survive. Then, I collapsed; I had nothing, nothing to give myself or anyone around me. My only choice was – me. And I chose the path of Self-Love, self-enquiry, sovereignty and happiness”. A little more on Alana, this woman facilitates workshops and online programs that aim to inspire, empower, and support people (both men and women alike) with their commitment to Self-Love.
The takeaways that I discovered on my own journey
- Listen to your body
- You will likely see me talk about this again and again, but achieving Self-Love truly involves, “listening to your body”. This includes busting out all the motivation (possibly in the world) and trying out those activities you wouldn’t usually aim to do and see how you feel afterward, deciding whether or not it served you, or if you even want to try it again. It also includes NOT doing some things and NOT beating yourself up about it (those pressures we get to work out first thing in the AM or try that new diet … just examples, no shame in either). Regardless, either mustering up the motivation to try something new or allowing yourself the space to say “no”, you should be proud of yourself, that is some active self-listening… if that is a thing.
- Practice holistic self-care
- Making your happiness and wellness top priority allows you to be your best self, which benefits you and the people in your life. So, indulge in some self-care, and I don’t mean bubble baths and chocolate, I mean Holistic Self-Care (social, intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual). Recognize which of these tanks may be empty and which ones need a little more attention.
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Don’t get me wrong, these comparisons are commonplace in our culture, especially today, where social media is being used as a measurement of what our lives should look like. This is SO damaging to self-confidence and hinders the ability to see all the positive changes already made within oneself. Silence that inner critic when you notice it begging you to compare yourself to others. Instead, try mindset shifting, focus on the changes you are already making, and the growth you have witnessed within yourself, this practice constructs Self-Love.
Why Practice Self-Love?
Always question why you are doing something, even if it is seemingly harmless and overtly encouraging. I honestly question the “why” of this movement a lot, maybe more than other movements, and maybe that is because it makes me wonder who exactly we are loving ourselves for, likely because we were so often taught not to do it, even for ourselves. I find it is important to investigate what the end goal is. Will loving myself change anything for me? Are people motivated to do this to win people over with their positivity and inspiration? Is it to prove something to yourself, or is it to prove something to your followers? This is your journey, ask your own questions, and answer yourself truthfully.
Also, as previously mentioned, the act of Self-Love almost reminds me of toxic positivity, the concept that we should never dwell on the negative because that would mean admitting that we may not love what we see or feel. We act as if to be strong means we never feel shame, embarrassment, or anything other than complete self-acceptance. This is because, in our society, we undervalue negative emotions and label them as weak, or shameful. I believe that we CAN love ourselves through all of this though, and that is by doing it on our own terms, that means loving the bad and the ugly, as it made us who we are today and was the true developer of our strengths.