Everyone talks about how important it is to accept oneself. But how should that go, how does one start loving and accepting himself? And do we really need more self-love in a society full of “actors”?
Love yourself! Accept your weaknesses! Embrace your inner child! is today in many self-help books. Loving yourself sounds great, but how in the world should one learn to love himself, when we’re witnesses of the trends suggesting that we should be searching on flaws on our bodies and try to change them, not accept them? Just take a look at Instagram models!
Anyone who scrolls through the posts of his friends, colleagues and the beautiful and the rich on a daily basis is ultimately envious and feels inadequate. Scientists at the University of Innsbruck came to this conclusion after a simple experiment: they asked test persons about their mood, immediately after they spent some time on a social network checking the posts of their friends.
The longer they were on the network, the lousy their mood was afterwards.
After comparing their lives with their friends’ lives on social networks, many people feel disillusioned and regret that their own life is not as exciting as that of the other. In many women, for example, envy easily arises at the sight of all the great bodies and pretty faces.
Do we need self-love in a society full of “self-lovers”?
Self-love is not an easy thing. Although in all the selfies and bikini photos, which are today quite natural and pop up uninvited on all social networks, there is also the question whether we should definitely love each other even better. Self-love, after all, is the basis of all self-confidence, and ultimately the key to finally being able to stop comparing oneself to others. This is why the healthy love we feel to ourselves tends to falter when comparing is taking place, and this is why “media fasting” is a good start. That means: more self-love leads to fewer comparisons and the need to show on the net what one actually is not. Problem solved.
Welcome to the age of narcissists and self-promoters
But where is the difference between healthy self-love and the completely exaggerated glorification of one's own person? Scientists are now talking about an "age of narcissists" in which adolescents already see themselves as a gift of God to humanity.
Narcissism is a striking self-love and exaggerated self-centeredness, explain psychologists. Narcissistic people are primarily concerned with themselves and are not interested in others. They overestimate themselves excessively and think they are entitled to all they want. Healthy self-love, on the other hand, is the acceptance of one's own personality, the acceptance of what and how one is. Self-love means trusting oneself, respecting oneself and appreciating one's own value. Self-acceptance plays a decisive role in this.
Women and competition
Many women today share the worry of being “in love with themselves” or even labeled as narcissistic. British linguistics expert Judith Baxter from Aston University in Birmingham found in a study that 90 percent of men make jokes at the expense of others. 70 percent of women, on the other hand, do this to each other. "As absurd as it sounds, this negative talk amongst women is actually meant to be positive," explains Kim Fleckenstein, personality development coach.
Sounds paradoxical at first, but from the evolutionarily point of view, this is deeply “embedded” in us. Throughout the course of human species development, the role of men was to compete with others, but women have always put more emphasis on the sense of belonging to the community. For women - obviously until today - it is important to have little threatening influence on others and to be able to build the largest possible community around them.
The way of evolution seems to be pretty unfair. Because at this point it makes life unnecessarily difficult for women.
Only those who love themselves can love others too - is that true?
What you hear over and over again is the phrase: "First learn to love yourself, then you are ready to give to and receive love from others". Sounds like some grandma's wisdom and somehow a bit spiritual. Is there really something to it? "That's really how it is," says Anne Heintze, therapist and founder of the Open Mind Academy; "accepting one's own person is the first step in gaining acceptance by others".
1. Stop comparing yourself to others
The entire “self-staging” on social networks makes you unhappy? Then stop following the persons who give you a bad feeling. No matter what feelings you may have, envy or anger, comparisons with celebrities or Insta beauties is only affecting you in a bad way, because the image that these people convey on the net is not real and is often not worth aspiring those same goals. Simply be the person you are. Do not try to be a copy of someone you do not know, and who has a bunch of worries, hardships, and problems that you do not have the chance to see in the online world.
2. You don’t have to be perfect – nothing is!
You do not have to be perfect. Neither for yourself, nor for others. Or, do you expect perfectionism from your environment? Probably not, because you know it does not exist. So why are you so strict to yourself? And what do you have at the end of your supposed perfection? Stick to the motto "Perfect is boring, human is beautiful!"
3. Dare do something different
What is it that you have you always wanted to do, but have so far put it off? Do not underestimate the feeling of being proud of yourself when you have achieved something. No matter what the challenge is - go for it and put all your strength and passion together into it and end up with the great feeling of having achieved your goal!
4. Shine bright - do not put out your light
No matter if it’s in the CV or an online dating profile: Do not put your light out! You are who you are, you can do something others cannot, which makes you a unique person. Stop listening to the phrases you’re directing to yourself, such as "I idiot!" or "Damn, I never do anything right". It's best to immediately delete this from your head. Thoughts manifest faster in your head than you think. Instead, praise yourself more often.
5. Take care of yourself
You should say "no" more often and have no guilty consciousness about it. Only no, without an explanation afterwards. Do you need time for yourself and do not feel like going out with the girls on the weekend? Then say that and do not make excuses. You woke up this morning with a splitting headache, but were not in the office 2 weeks ago because of the stupid cold? Who should take it as an offence now if you take a break today? Listen to yourself and your body. That too is self-love.
6. Be the person you want to be
Sometimes the reason why we somehow do not like ourselves is not due to our great modesty or because we were not praised enough in our childhood. Sometimes we can really suffer because we have chosen a life path that is not ours. We suddenly realize that we started law school only because of the parents or that we live with a man with whom we’re not compatible. And what now? Turn everything over, make everything new? The inconvenient answer is "Probably yes". Take a moment to ask yourself what you really expect from life and what life you would really like to live. It probably will not give quick answers, it may take a few weeks or months. And it's uncomfortable - but it's worth it. Anyone who dares to give up his previous, unwanted life and actually do what feels right and good, will then wish to have taken the step much earlier.
Start today to be the person you’ve ever really wanted to be. Self-love will not feel that difficult for you anymore. Promised.
“The day she realised, it was not about the world but was all about her, she grew the wings. The day she understood she was not answerable to any of them who always blamed and pointed her, she had the fire blazing in her eyes. She raised and soared towards the sky. The whole world looked at her in awe and wished if only they could be her. She was not confined to be on the ground anymore. She had the wings of fire and she left a trail everywhere she went, for other to follow.”
― Akshau Vasu