From the personal growth industry amplifying ‘I am enough’ as the universal affirmation to the world of social media popularising grandiosity as youngsters obsess over their looks with incessant selfies, these realities have sure confused the shit out of this generation on what self-love really is.
Everyone seems to be on this trip of self-love where the term has become rather lamestream and has led to some misleading interpretations.
This may sound brutal but for the sake of wholehearted living in its actuality, it’s important to understand this notion of self-love and what it really implies.
How do you make the distinction between self- love and self-obsession? Why do some people who appear super confident on the outside yet feel insecure and unworthy?
Lo and behold, you’re in for some deep insights here.
For starters, it’s easy to portray an image of loving yourself by posting 20 pics a day claiming to be comfortable in your skin, but if you feel incomplete without the endorsement in the form of likes or comments it’s a sign that there’s deeper work to do.
Here’s where things get real, obsessing over yourself or publicly claiming how amazing you are directly or indirectly, is all stemming from a space of inferiority. Hence the constant need for approval and validation!
This may seem difficult to get at first, but if you introspect as to what makes you resort to this kind of desperate bragging you might just find some interesting revelations.
With the understandable tendency to suppress our painful experiences, say, of being unloved or unrecognised in this context, it’s natural to hit the other extreme of making up for all the times you were made to feel crap about yourself.
The danger however in doing that is, it can make you overlook your flaws or areas you need to improve about thyself. And this is when that self-proclaimed love turns into arrogance or even worse, ignorance.
Don’t get me wrong, as humans we all seek connection and social approval is very much a part of that. But the question here is, how far you are going, to seek that approval and what is the underlying reason driving it.
Cutting to the case;
To love the self is to be content with the self, without depending on external means for making that happen. Simply put, self-love is being in acceptance of yourself while being aware of the full package you are with all your quirks and more importantly a desire to continuously upgrade and evolve. Thats where you rule out complacency!
Contrary to the socially constructed image of confidence, true confidence lies in owning all our complexities and imperfections rather than chasing the delusional idea of perfection. If anything, relying too much on social media for promoting that ‘false’ sense of confidence only jeopardises self- love.
It’s equally important that your actions are not in pursuit of impressing those who surround you or fitting in but are expressions of your authentic self as the being that you are. Hence honouring your individuality is a key component of self- love and is not to be mistaken with being entitled or selfish.
For this reason, you will find that people who truly love themselves, have a high sense of worth, are happy in their own space, welcome feedback and are rarely triggered by things as easily, simply because they have the humility and the courage to confront their own limitations.
Don’t be mistaken though. It’s not like people who are high on self-love never experience insecurities or self-doubt because the truth is that while they may still be better off than most, there are several layers to us homo sapiens that make up our complexity.
The way to keep yourself in check though is by being intentional about loving yourself. So be gentle on you, offer the same kind of compassion to yourself as you would to your favourite person. Yet at the same time give yourself a kick in the butt when you catch yourself acting out of whack; because keeping yourself accountable is the kindest thing you can do for yourself.
The whole idea of self -love is to nourish yourself with the awareness of where you stand in the world and how to look after your needs so you can best serve others and with compassion.
As the old adage goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.