For so many years we have heard that you need to accept yourself. You know what I accept? I accept that my apartment doesn’t have a bathtub I can get both knees, both butt cheeks and both boobs all underwater at the same time. But moving is too much work and negates all the things I love about where I live. So I accept the bathtub for what it is even though I actually hate it. Things that I don’t really like but don’t care enough about to change – that is what I accept. Therefore if the focus is self acceptance you are secretly hating yourself but not caring enough to change it. Self Acceptance should not be an option.
Self Love is what we need to work towards. But that sounds so lofty. That sounds like way too much. And egotistical. Like, who am I to love myself? But who are you not to? The truth is every other relationship in your life will come and go except the relationships with yourself. As Glennon Doyle says in the incredible book Untamed – “Me and Myself: We are till death do us part.”
Think how difficult your life is in times when your main romantic partnership is rocky. Everything seems like a struggle because that piece of your life is in upheaval, right? Have you felt anxiety or stress when you partnership isn’t stable? For me, when I am not in a good relationship place with my mate it impacts most areas of my life; it is harder to find easy joy or I find myself hypercritical of things or overthinking like crazy. So I wonder, what is an “accepting” relationship as the most important relationship in my life, the one with myself, unconsciously doing to everything else in my life? If a secondary relationship causes so much upheaval what is the primary relationship causing??
How to get past self acceptance and to self love? I have no clue. I am working on this too. But I know part of the journey is realizing where you are. Acknowledging what isn’t working in your relationship with yourself and then actively working on it. For me this looks like reading LOTS of self discovery and growth books, seeing a counselor, and spending time actively working on the areas that I hate. Not working on them to improve them, necessarily, but instead allowing them space and looking at the positives they bring. For example, I, like most women, have a lot of negative feelings about my body. So yes am I trying to gain muscle and lose weight, sure. But I am also thanking my body daily for all the amazing things it does for me. I’m cultivating a kindness and appreciation for it, regardless of what the scale says that day. And each day I celebrate it, I am one step closer to self love.
Where are you on your self love journey? If it is a struggle for you, I’d like to leave you with the reminder that “loving yourself does not take away from the love you have for everyone else.”