This is how you start loving yourself

Like many others, I have been struggling with low self-esteem and thoughts of hating myself for most of my life.
There is pressure to deny this part of ourselves, especially on social media.
Quotes from self-help books and honest posts from self-care influencers urge us to embrace positivity no matter what.
But do people who say they love themselves truly do so? And what does it look like?

Love and hate are opposites of the same coin.

Strange how the universe sends messages in batches.
Today, I watched episode 2 of the new season of Euphoria. In it, Kat is struggling with depression.
At the same time, she feels the growing weight of society telling her to accept herself, which only adds to her feelings of self-hate.
AKA What is wrong with me that I cannot love myself because of my flaws, when everyone else seems to do so?
Then, watching the new season of Queer Eye, Karamo was asked the first time he did to start loving himself:

“I started examining the things I did that stemmed from not loving myself, and I moved away from them.”

So instead of focusing on the stereotype of loving yourself (naked social media selfies, smiling 24/7, ignoring haters), I try to find a healthy middle of either extreme.
Eating junk food, not cleaning my place, not leaving the house all day, I do these things because I don’t believe my body deserves otherwise. Yes it might give me stress, make me feel bloated and tired, yes I wouldn’t let a loved one spend a day like this, but it’s just me after all.
And it’s exactly this kind of thinking I’m trying to heal little by little.

So when thoughts of self-hate creep in, I don’t judge myself.
I welcome them like an old friend who has lost their way.

And while daily gratitude lists, meditation and a spiritual practice do help, the human experience promises highs as well as lows. Being stuck in either is not realistic.
So instead of wallowing in constant sadness or craving contact ecstasy, it’s finding comfort in being content.
I don’t let routine guide me through the day without questioning my unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Loving myself means being responsible for myself.
To me, it’s the promise of showing up when I can, and treating myself like my neighbour.

How do you practise self-love? Let’s share tips!

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