Why is it so easy to preach self-love but so hard to actually love yourself?
I’m sure everyone has heard their parents, friends, or favorite influencer preach the importance of confidence and self-love. And we use these words all the time, but what does practicing self-love really mean?
I would argue that the true meaning behind confidence and self-love is always changing as society and the world around us changes. When we’re constantly told to love ourselves and not care about what others think, it becomes confusing as to what that really means.
You may even preach these ideas yourself with personal mantras and affirmations or give your friends the self-love spiel when they’re feeling down. And its sooo fucking easy to preach self-love all day long, but its sooo fucking hard to actually practice it.
Even as BeSababa’s social media manager, I post all the time about taking care of yourself and loving yourself because I think it’s a really important topic to talk about. But that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with my own battle of confidence and self-love, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a really hard thing to master, especially in today’s society.
So why is modern culture obsessed with preaching self-love?
Honestly, I think that so many people WANT to love themselves so badly that it kind of feels like a ‘fake it until you make it’ situation for most. The idea and the desire is there, so the easiest thing to do is to talk about it.
But the reality is, no one has ultimate peace. Even someone who is confident as fuck in their mind and body still will face life’s challenges and will still be affected by the world’s turmoil. Modern culture attaches so heavily to the idea that loving yourself and not being insecure will make you happy and float around like an unaffected fairy. But that’s not what self-love even is and what it means.
If self-love solved all the world’s problems, don’t you think that war, politics, and hatred would be exterminated by now?
Self-love is so much more about accepting your imperfect humanity and being comfortable with the idea that you aren’t a perfect human and life sometimes sucks. This is still a hard thing to accept and to practice, but it isn’t impossible to make progress towards it.
Why is practicing self-love so hard?
Some psychologists and research suggest that finding confidence, self-love and genuine happiness isn’t achieved by a one-size-fits-all solution. This means that the things that work for someone else in finding their confidence might not work for you.
This makes sense because everyone values different characteristics in others and themselves. For example, if kindness is an important virtue to you, you might find that making an effort to be a kind person to others results in you feeling more love for yourself.
If practicing having confidence and genuinely accepting oneself doesn’t have one formula for everyone, my next thought is that it feels impossible to achieve, like, Well how tf do I know what makes me feel confident and what values matter to me if I can’t get a step-by-step self-love guide?
Even though it feels a bit intimidating that everyone’s kinda on their own for finding confidence and love within themselves, it’s also a very freeing way to view these desires. This is because acknowledging and accepting that there’s no rule book, no “right” way to learn to love yourself, allows you to be liberated in practicing whatever activities make you feel most loved by yourself and confident in your body.
It’s almost as liberating as realizing self-love doesn’t mean being perfect! Lot’s of fun surprises here.
Have you ever been told to go for a nature walk to help calm your stress or anxiety? Or to write down your thoughts when you feel sad? But then you do these activities in an effort to feel better, and it’s a nice distraction, but in the end, you’re still stressed, anxious, and sad. And then you feel even worse because something that’s “supposed to help” didn’t and now you feel unfixable!
But you’re not broken and unfixable, you’re just not looking for relief and confidence in the ways that are unique to you.
Searching for a lifestyle that fills you with the most love for yourself is a hard thing to do. It takes time and patience to find those things that make you truly feel amazing.
But ultimately, it has to be worth it if it means you can find acceptance for your most pure self. And the great thing is, it will be completely unique to you, so no trying to fit into other people’s structures or boxes here!
Self-love has become an idea and concept that is so heavily preached and sought after, but it isn’t as glamorous as the media makes it seem, and that’s why it’s so beautiful.
Practicing self-love can look like anything. It can be staying up all night on homework because your education fuels you. Maybe it’s laying on the couch all day because New Girl fuels you and makes you laugh. Or starting your own business, or choosing a partner who brings out your best side, or going camping every weekend because you thrive on a nature reset.
Self-love is not loving yourself and being confident because you are happy with your appearance and you’re “doing life right”. Self-love is saying “fuck it, I’m fucking awesome just the way I am and I’m gonna do shit that makes me feel alive”.
Let’s throw away the narrative of what fluffy self-love looks like. I’m talking about the uber-productive TikTokers you see that wake up at 4 in the morning, work out, eat, meditate, journal, and drink a gallon of water all before 8 am.
Once you can accept that self-love is a journey that is unique to you, embracing your humanity, it becomes a hell of a lot easier to practice self-love.