You hear the term self-love tossed around a lot. It’s all the rage in empowered women’s circles and in social media feeds. So naturally, you begin to wonder about the concept and whether it’s something you can reasonably achieve, or at the very least, aspire to. I’ll be honest; there are days when my inner dialogue sounds crude, self-depreciating and downright vile. If I heard a friend repeat the things I tell myself sometimes, I’d be tempted to slap her silly ass, to demand that she stop all that nonsense. I’d tell her she was her own worst enemy, and that she deserves better than her own brute words.
Then there are times when I am proud to live in my skin, imperfect as it is. I am happy to be the wild-haired woman I see in the mirror. For me, self-love is an ocean with salty rolling waves that ebb and flow with the rhythm of my thoughts. Sometimes the waves are high and my frame of mind is positive; the world seems a more pleasant place. But sometimes I feel small, and self-love seems elusive as my eyes hyperfocus on the endless flaws that are a part of me.
I know that just as you can’t have a positive life with a negative mind, you can’t practice self-love if you consistently entertain the shit-talking hater in your head. Show her the door. Bye Felicia. Or better yet, allow her to stay and be bitch slapped with a slew of new ideas and self-love mantras. Fill your headspace with powerful self-talk. Say the words you need to hear and believe, even if you don’t yet believe them. In time, the message will sink in and self-love will become more automatic. At least that’s how it happened for me.
But you will have days, as I do, when the negative voice will become a scream. Her critical pitch will punctuate your struggling thoughts. And that’s when you’ll need to remember why it matters what you think of you. That’s when you need to remind yourself of this…
What I think, I attract.
What I think determines what I accept and allow in my life.
What I think, I expect and eventually get.
It’s time to stop basing your self-love on contingencies, such as how much you weigh, how much you earn or how well you perform. Because that’s not self-love at all. And you deserve to be loved right now, right in the middle of your mess.
P.S. Yesterday, one of my dearest friends who is battling obesity and struggling to love herself on her weight loss journey said this, “He told me that he would show me how to love my body…” And while I am so glad she found a man who appreciates her and has the good sense to treat her with respect, I worry that she is giving her power away. I worry that she, like so many women today, are waiting to be saved, to be granted permission to love themselves. Among the best lessons I learned from divorce is that we have to be strong on our own and understand our intrinsic worth and value no matter who agrees. Because we teach people how to treat us, and it starts with how we treat ourselves.
The path to freedom and happiness is paved with positive self-talk.
Namaste, my beautiful friends.