‘Self-love’, the basis of many social media posts, and generally a concept in which my generation is incredibly infatuated. New bath bomb? A form of self-love, spending too much money on wine and ‘cauliflower crust pizza’, all in the name of self-love. But when did the act of loving yourself turn into something falling under the idea of ‘pics or it didn’t happen’?
I am proud that millennials have made it their mission to prioritize mental health, self-care strategies, rest days, off days, and ultimately promote techniques that further the idea of putting oneself first. However, it becomes disheartening at times when the very concept of loving oneself, becomes clouded by ultimately requesting validation for the ways in which we are practicing the same self-love we so often promote.
Our obsession with reminding others that we are practicing self-love/self-care becomes particularly detrimental when the act itself has nothing to do with us at all. How often do we do things for our eyes only? Living in a world in which we carry around handheld devices that connect us on a global level and allow us to instantly share every step of our day if we so choose, can provide unnecessary pressure to prove the many ways in which we are working towards our own happiness and mental stability. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with allowing others to take a peak into our every day lives, however, at what point is the line drawn between doing it for you, and doing it so that others know you’re doing it? Thus begins my curiosity with our newly developed definition of ‘self love’.
I can guess from experience, that most of the time, we spend more time getting the right picture of our dinner, workout class, bubble bath, or salad, than we do actually enjoying the benefits they brought us. If you share with others how amazing your yoga class was, and then spend the rest of the day refreshing the likes/views on the post, then chances are you didn’t internally benefit from the experience as much as you could have.
When a phrase is tossed around so casually, it begins to lose its meaning; we know this. The unfortunate reality of that being true in this case, is that loving yourself is and should be one of the most genuine and frequently practiced concepts in one’s life. Stop pretending to love yourself. Stop doing it for them. The beauty in self-love and self-care is that it should have nothing to do with the people watching. It’s one of the only things in this world that we can do better than anyone else. No one can love you the way you can. Absolutely no one knows what you need and require from the inside out in order to reach your truest potential for happiness like you do. Why do we take more time out of our day for others than we do for ourselves? If we took half the amount of time that we spend convincing the world that we love ourselves, and put those minutes into genuine self-care strategies, the outcome would be unmatched.
This requires daily attention and effort. And while breaking this cycle is easier said than done, it’s worth stopping and asking yourself: “who am I doing all of this for?” It’s fine to share that pizza, that bubble bath, and that amazing yoga class, but next time you post, ask yourself this: “would I still be doing this if I couldn’t tell anyone else about it?” “Am I willing to love myself in the dark?”
You cannot fake self-love, your heart will know the difference.