The myth of self-love & what it really means to love yourself

24. November 2020

The concept of self-love is nothing new, still, we cannot scroll through social media without coming across at least one inspirational quote on how to love yourself more.

But a lot of what is written and taught online, barely scratches the surface of self-love. The myth of self-love says things like: 

  • “You have to love yourself first. Only then you will have a fulfilled and loving relationship!”
  • “If you would just love yourself more, you would see your beauty!”
  • “How can you expect someone else to treat you right, if you don’t even know how to love yourself?”

Ever heard any of these? If yes, how did it make you feel, or how do you feel now, reading these lines? 

The myth of self-love or “Of course, it was my fault!”

When I ended a very unfulfilling relationship, I knew I made the decision, because the man simply did not love me. And without judging him, in the end, you cannot judge people for not having the same feelings, it was the only right decision. Whilst I was not judging him for not loving me, I did not think about judging myself for it – but the modern concept of self-love had a different idea!

Shortly after the break-up, which was also the start of my journey to becoming a resilience educator and coach, I read about self-love. The concept introduced to me was extremely triggering, as they made me feel and believe, the fact, the man did not love me, was my own fault!

I struggled with my body image. I was not happy with my work situation and therefore lacked confidence in my own talents and skills. In short, I did not love myself or my life situation at all. And following the modern concept, or myth of self-love, the man could have never loved me, because I did not love myself – so it was my own fault.

A mirror, a dancing woman & affirmations

I have to change, I have to love myself asap! That was my conclusion based on everything I read and absorbed at this time. So, naturally, I looked for a solution – and the number one solution of the myth of self-love are affirmations. 

I did what I was told. 

  1. Get in front of a mirror.
  2. Smile and tell yourself: I am beautiful. I am worthy. I am love.
  3. If you don’t feel it just yet, dance or jump, as movement will strengthen the new belief.

I did that. I felt stupid. I also felt energized and happy, but I think that was more thanks to the movement and serotonin I got from the dancing – which I enjoyed. 

But affirmations are not the root problem with the myth of self-love. Do you realize how most tips on loving yourself focus on emotions, on creating positive feelings? If I dance around all day, telling myself I am worthy and amazing, I might believe it for a while, but at the end of the day, reality hits and everything is as it was before.

What practicing self-love truly is about

The modern concept of self-love ignores the fact, that ACTION is required. And honestly, I think it is being ignored for a reason – anything that requires your own action is just not as attractive, as we all want the quick cure – always. 

But very soon I realized, self-love is not about speaking or chanting yourself into a positive feeling, into a short lasting high. Self-love is about action, action that makes you feel proud and good about yourself! 

Already my grandmother knew, in order to live a happy and fulfilled life, it was important to be of integrity and always do your best!

Now, what can you do to start loving yourself?

  1. Speak and act with integrity. Ever lied to someone and then felt awful about it? If you want to love yourself, you have to be a person you can be proud of – that starts with integrity. Also, this will improve your relationships and we all need connection and community.
  2. Know your identity. Finding your identity, your true nature and then living by it unapologetically, will reward you with confidence and a new sense of self. Knowing who you are and always acting to support your beliefs, dreams and goals, will make you self-aware and confident. 
  3. Prioritize well-being. Whether this is about mental or physical well-being, learn to read your body signs correctly and give it what it needs. 
  4. Follow your impact. A huge part of living a fulfilled life is based on our role in society, our purpose. I do know to be true, that finding our purpose and creating our work around that will give us the impact we dream of. And that leads to more love for yourself, for this accomplishment. 
  5. Explore your creativity. Many people believe, they are not creative. And of course, we are not all writers, musicians or artists. But creativity is not limited to the fine arts!!! Maybe you are great at planning parties, or you find out, you have a hand for plants – anything can be a creative hobby. And finding a hidden creative talent, will make you feel amazing about yourself – another reason to love yourself even more.

I’d love to know what self-love means to you! Let us know on Instagram and tag me @navinabaur in your stories or posts!