We live in a time where prophecies of self-love or mindfulness are as common as celebrity gossip. Just because we are bombarded by inspirational quotes or daily reminders to take 15 seconds just to be calm, it does not mean self love comes easily.
I’ve always felt like we have to tread a fine line to achieve self love. People both respect your confidence but want your self-deprecation. Too much self love and you’re arrogant and delusional. Too little and you enter a dangerous cycle of self-doubt and negativity.
It doesn’t diminish from the fact that we understand it’s importance. We understand that external pressures have beaten the automatic self love we might feel, reminding us that we can always be skinnier, more accomplished, better.
We understand the dangers of a lack of self love – the poor mental health and dangerous consequences therein. We even understand that we cannot truly give our love to others without first knowing and giving love to ourselves.
If anything, it’s these twisted ideas and fraught relationship with ourselves that make the idea of self love all the more important. Self love is the way in which we know who we are and what our place in the world is.
This became all too apparent as I uprooted my place in the world to go backpacking through Southeast Asia. In a whirlwind sabbatical from work and life, I was confronted with the age old opportunity to “find myself.” I was lucky to have been joined with a group of remarkable people on my journey who I knew would support me throughout the journey.
However, it was also obvious to me that they could not experience this for me. They would never be able to fully know the reasons that had brought me to this trip; nor inhabit every need I wanted to fulfil or boundary I was willing to push. As much as they wanted to help, it would never compare to how much I was able to help myself. And in the same way, I would never be able to reciprocate. Our journeys were only ever meant to be interwoven but never forged.
Coming to this realization was bittersweet. On the one hand, no one wants to think they're totally alone in the world. But on the other, the idea of being alone doesn't have to mean you're lonely. In fact, it's an empowering thing to know that you have radical self-responsibility – that it is entirely up to you to design a life that inspires you. It's a reason to be a little selfish and do what truly makes us happy. We can finally give ourselves permission to serve our own paths, to break our own grounds.
So where do you begin?
To fall in love with oneself doesn’t need to be a radical overhaul of our mindset. Such drastic changes would never stick. I mean, we don’t even fall in love with another person that quickly.
Treat it like a great romance. Start the courtship by getting to know each other – a daily flirtation with mindfulness or getting to know a little more about meditation.
Start to go deeper, be more inquisitive, listen more. Get to know your needs and what makes you tick and give yourself a little treat that fulfils them.
Then, start planning a future together. Take a look at your goals, your life. Are they beginning to match up together?
And then happily ever after is just at the end of the sunset…or at least that’s how the story goes.
By: Tiff Ng
Just another girl with wanderlust on her mind and a stomach full of avo on toast. After quitting her job in social media marketing, Tiff is now travelling the world, working, blogging and tearing up dance floors no matter where she is.