I am sure that many of you have been told to love yourself first. What does loving yourself entail? How do we conquer this? What are the benefits? I think we need to unpack this statement and recognize the confidence it takes to truly love yourself in a generation that dictates what it means to be a successful man or woman. After a few tries, I finally learned how to love myself.
The media is such a powerful and dangerous tool when it comes to showcasing what the ideal human being acts or looks like.
Girls having flawless skin, long, healthy hair, a tiny waist and the latest fashion essentials. Boys having the body of Zac Efron while exerting athleticism, confidence, and superiority. But how many of us actually look like the media’s portrayal of “attractive” males or females? Why do we give in to this unrealistic expectation of beauty?
We don’t have the luxury of a personal chef or trainer to tell us how and when to eat or the kinds of exercise activities we should be performing. We don’t have the Kardashian’s makeup artist to conceal any minor “flaws” that society has categorized as unattractive. However, you can still love yourself without all of those things.
The first step in being able to truly love one’s self is being critically aware that the media creates a false idea of what we should act or look like.
If you can acknowledge this and really believe it, then you are one step closer to truly loving yourself. By ignoring the media’s attempts at projecting the ideal male or female figure, you are defying the odds. You are rejecting normalization. YOU are the epitome of confidence and strength and that is the most beautiful thing a human being can wear. Secondly, having a positive mindset will allow you to ignore the falsity of constructed male or female ideals. By looking at the glass half full instead of half empty in regards to your character, you will begin to fall in love with yourself.
Lastly, you have to stop comparing yourself to those around you. It simply does not make sense. You are a product of your family, and that is something that you should embrace. Rather than focusing on your faults, take time to recognize your unique traits and qualities that distinguish you as an individual. By accepting that you are human and that you physically appear as a realistic male or female, you are releasing yourself from the death grip of the media.
Once I was able to love myself, I could reciprocate that love with those around me.
Think of it like this – if you love another individual before loving yourself, you are making it difficult for the both of you. Whether it is a friend, family member, or partner, you have to truly believe in yourself and be happy before you can devote your time and energy on loving them. Imagine two helpless swimmers in the water who are both drowning. Both swimmers are trying to throw each other a buoy to keep them afloat, but they are neglecting saving themselves. This task is impossible unless one of the swimmers decides to save themselves before assisting the other. The same goes with love.
Love yourself first, and then you will be able to love others around you.
Featured Image by Max Moore.