Self Love is a hot topic of the moment, and rightly so. How do we differentiate between being an elitist knob, validating our actions with obnoxious hashtags and just doing right by you?
Self love is not only en vogue because it’s highly marketable and virtually immeasurable but because it’s a big fucking project. I say big, not because it’s expensive or bottomless (though it should be) but because being a master of self love doesn’t mean you can ever stop paying attention. Effort is always required. As your life fluctuates there will also be a need for your strategies of self love to change.
To me, self love is like magical fairy dust that everyone constantly alludes to but nobody can explain exactly how or where to find. If you admit to being low in the self love department it feels shameful, like you’ll be banished to the naughty corner, or you’re admitting to not brushing your teeth in the morning. It’s almost like an elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and because it’s so subjective the goal is always moving. When I did a quick scan of resources there’s an abundance of fluffy self love mentions, quotes and smoothie recipes but not much solid information about what it actually is, or requires.
Here’s my 7 commandments of Self Love:
1.Know thy self
You cannot uncover any shortcuts to self love without knowing yourself. Having a solid understanding of what makes you happy, what makes you sad and your basic needs is critical to baseline happiness. Without this baseline knowledge you’re toast. Soggy toast.
2. Recognise your boundaries
Knowing your boundaries is important. Sometimes we don’t know our boundaries until they’re pushed, or until there’s fingers where you don’t want them. But when you know they’re there don’t ignore them unless you want to face a whole lot of discomfort and mental anguish.
3. Need vs. Want
This point is counterintuitive to that hashtag of rationalization; #treatyoself and might seem like a trick right now. However, you can still exercise self-love while prioritizing your needs, vs. your wants. By staying true to your needs and being strong enough not to be thrown off by your wants (which are often temporary, expensive, illegal, fattening or bad for you) you’ll steer yourself away from those automatic and dominant fallback behaviours that jeopardise your deeper needs and intentions. I often would like to drink 396 Aperol Spritz in the sun at lunch but I know that what I need more is to eat a plate of veggies and keep writing.
4. Don’t do things that compromise your values
This could be anything. Don’t lock yourself in the house reading books all weekend if you know you thrive on social interaction and the taste of tequila. Don’t have casual sex when you’re really craving someone to snuggle up to in the candle light. Whatever is important to you, make sure you honour that first. If this means saying no to fuck boys then, please, do that.
5. Create a solid focus for yourself
There’s a good chance that I’m an undiagnosed ADHD kid because my inability to focus is a serious issue. I find though, that when I’m doing something I really love that the 112 tabs open on my web browser don’t even occur to me. Find those things that make you focus and keep working away at them incrementally, and intentionally. Setting yourself goals (even if they are small) is also really helpful. When you look back at these small wins you’ll have another reason to love yourself and celebrate.
6. Don’t waste your energy on shit people.
Life is short. Friendships should be genuine and equal.
7. Treat yourself the way you treat others
If you’re lagging on the self love them here’s a reminder that you should be as kind to you as you are to others. If you’re a typical ‘giver’ then re-route all the love you hand out to others to yourself and I bet there’ll be a significant difference in your demeanour.