The issue with "Self Love"
The self love movement has been on the rise in the past decade. (Coincidentally, so has the rise of mental illness...)
This movement is fervent to teach people to love themselves first, to take time for themselves, and to remember that they are worth this. Filled with pedicures, spa days, me time, and face masks, self care and self love have formed a really beautiful bond.
YES, YES, and YES.
It’s a beautiful movement with beautiful intentions, but like most movements, it began to shape shift with the momentum and the voices leading it.
My beef here is not with the concept of self love, but with the perversion of it into a body image obsession we are seeing with millions of women.
Are the constant affirmations actually making us feel better, or making us feel more and more insincere, and insecure?
Diet culture was the movement before that caused women to pick their bodies apart, compare, and manipulate food to anxiously see a change in their weight.
What we see now is a movement calling women to obsess over their bodies not out of self hate, but of self love.
Here's the issue:
We are not meant to find our satisfaction in our bodies.
The glorification and sexualization of the female body can make this incredibly hard to swallow, but read that again.
“Your body is an instrument not an ornament.” -Evelyn Triboyle
Self love and self hatred can have the same root: self obsession.
That is why switching from one to the other gains us no ground but further buries us in deeper fixation with something that will never satisfy.
We are taking the woman crying in front of the mirror because she hates her thighs and encouraging her to name 4 things she loves about them.
At the end of the day, she is still in front of the mirror.
The obsession with our bodies is not shaken here, it is actually strengthened.
Women are empowered not when they find their value in the mirror, but when they find it outside of it.
Maybe we are not supposed to build a universe around our bodies, but instead build a body that is purposed in the universe.
What can you add to community, creativity, to conversation, to your family, your corporation?
It’s not found in the mirror. You can change the way you look in the mirror, but at the end of the day, you will find yourself empty if you constantly find yourself in front of it.
If you are done with the affirmations that work for 20 minutes and leave you feeling worse than when you started, then start changing the way you approach this:
Step one may not be to LOVE your body, it might be just to respect it.
You do not have to absolutely adore someone to speak with respect to them! (You do this every day to the employers, coworkers, and family that you don't always gel with)
Pay attention to your thoughts.
Work to redirect slanderous, hateful, or malicious thoughts. If the thoughts in your brain are constantly telling you that you are not worth it, YOU WILL SHOW UP ACCORDINGLY.
You will not take care of someone you do not love.
You will not show up for someone you do not think is worthy.
Step one of true self love isn't always taking yourself for a spa day, it is showing up for yourself in the things that matter.
Speaking with respect.
Eating with respect (not out of spite, rebellion, or self sabotage!).
Moving your body with respect.
Be faithful with taking a step, instead of being insistent that you have to have everything figured out or that you have to fully love every part of yourself right off the bat.
Start where you are. What IS in your control is to decide that you will not speak disrespectfully to a body that has been faithfully getting you through every day!
I have found so much success with this with my clients, and I promise it is possible for you, too!