Updated: Dec 10, 2018
You've probably heard what self-love is, but I'll tell you what self-love is definitely NOT.
“Self-love, self-love, self-love” You keep hearing the term, but what is it? I mean you’re pretty sure you love yourself. After all, you’re alive and you plan on staying that way. It’s such a simple term, yet a majority of people, if asked, would not be able to give you a concrete answer as to how they love themselves and how much they do.
How do you know if you have it? Is it something you just have naturally? Can you build it if you don’t? How can you measure how much you love yourself? So many questions.
In my experience, it is far easier to differentiate what you are NOT, then what you ARE. For example, “I am NOT a murderer!” vs. “I am a good person?” Funny how that works isn’t it?
So in spirit of the concept above, I chose to frame what self-love does NOT look like and here are the top signs:
1. You get offended easily
If you are someone that gets offended easily, you might want to ask yourself why? The only way someone can offend you is if they are saying something that resonates with you. The root of being offended ultimately boils down to insecurity.
Here are some examples:
Scenario 1: English is your first language and you’ve been speaking it your whole life with no difficulties in communication with others.
Person: “You don’t know how to speak English.”
The statement above does not impact you at all because you know this to be definitely false through actual life experience.
Scenario 2: You’ve been self-conscious of your weight for quite some time now and you’ve been working your hardest to maintain discipline in your diet.
Person: “Oh my gosh (insert your name here) how many cupcakes have you had now?!”
This statement stabs you in the heart like a knife. Even though the person making this statement may not be criticizing your weight at all, you will take major offense because you are hearing this with your perspective of how unhappy you are and how badly you need to lose weight.
Now apply this concept to EVERY scenario. Make sense?
2. You are constantly comparing yourself to others
We, as a culture, are always comparing individuals to each other. It some sense, it is natural, but that doesn’t make it healthy (EX: It’s also natural to want to finish the whole gallon of ice cream, but it’s probably best that you don’t for the sake of your own general comfort and well-being…of your toilet).
One comparison that particularly caught my attention was one comparing Channing Tatum’s ex actress/dancer, Jenna Dewan to his current girlfriend, singer Jessie J. Who’s prettier? Who’s better? — this kind of comparison is done all the time in the media, not to mention in every day life. The reason this particular situation stood out to me was Jessie J’s response to it:
Jessie definitely has a point. Who is this helping? No one. We are OBSESSED with proving who’s better and for what? Nothing.
Comparing yourself to others is only done to make one person feel better at the expense of another and self-loving, confident people don’t need to put others down to feel great, they already do.
3. You find yourself judging people that “aren’t on your level” (AKA you’re so much more “woke”)
Here’s the thing, if you were so “woke,” then you wouldn’t be bothered by all those that are not. Why? Because whether they rise up to meet you on “your elevated level” or not, has no impact on you— that is, if you were truly woke.
If you were truly woke, you would understand that becoming enlightened or awakened is a process and it is in each individual’s own timing as to when that happens.
Judgement comes from a place of fear and at the root of fear is ultimately uncertainty and insecurity.
4. You feel like everyone needs to believe in all the things you feel strongly about and feel threatened when someone disagrees with you on any of those concepts.
Just like the girl who wears a cross around her neck daily and uses EVERY conversation (even a convo about the newest collection of VS panties) to convert everyone into a Christian (don’t ask me how, but where there's a will, there's a way), someone who constantly feels the need to make others adopt their beliefs is actually just reaffirming those beliefs to themselves.
Think about it, if you were confident in what you believed in, would it matter what any one else thought?
5. You aren’t your own biggest cheerleader
Sounds cheesy, but in all seriousness, why would anyone else cheer you on and believe in you, if you can’t do it for yourself? I don’t say this to be negative, but to make you aware of the ample amount of negativity you will likely face at one point or another. Especially when you dare to strive for greater or think outside the box, there will be many people who doubt you— who even go out of their way to tell you that they think whatever it is that you believe in or are trying to achieve is stupid and unattainable (they’re wrong, btw). This is where your belief in yourself has to be stronger than any of those DUMB external voices! People will hate if you are doing something that makes them feel uncomfortable; people feel uncomfortable for one of two reasons— 1. They believe you have something they don’t have and can never have 2. They can no longer hide behind excuses of how “they can’t,” when here you are proving them otherwise (again, it comes down to personal insecurity).
You’ve got to be your own biggest cheerleader because there will be points in your life where you are your ONLY cheerleader, oh and also— there’s no one that can do it better than you!
If you exhibit any of the above traits, it’s OK. We’re humans. We’re not perfect. And self-love, although simple in concept, is an enormous task in reality. The important thing is you constantly strive and work towards growth. I didn’t understand the true meaning of self-love until about 2 years ago, and ever since, it has made ALL the difference for me and I’ve taken a moral obligation to helping others understand and apply the concept in their daily lives. So, here’s to self-love! (hypothetically, cheers-ing you with champagne)