Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Baby, you should go and love yourself

2015 was the year I became a Belieber. I didn't think it would ever happen, but as soon as Love Yourself hit the radio I knew I just had to buy the album...and now I'm hooked! But as much as I love that song (and I really love it!), the line "Baby, you should go and love yourself" highlights a big problem for me. It implies that loving yourself isn't a good thing, and reiterates how it's ingrained in our psyches that to love oneself can sometimes be perceived as negative.

If you read my January post you'll notice that I'm all about encouraging self-love. It's something I've struggled with for a long, long time (and to be honest still do), and I know I'm not the only one. So let's explore this further: why do so many of us find it hard to love ourselves? Or if we do why is it such a bad thing to vocalise it? 

LOVE <3 image source

It seems to be that self-hatred has become more socially acceptable than self-love. When we hear someone say "oh I look so bloated today", "don't look at my bad skin", "my hair is a mess" etc, our initial response is one of compassion and we instantly say something to build them up and put aside their self-criticism. We show empathy and we see them in a positive way.

However when we hear someone complement themselves or speak positively about themselves (a rare occasion), we are taken aback and often respond with thoughts of "wow, you must love yourself" - and this is often not meant kindly. It's not our fault. It's how we've always been. Perhaps it's a bigger problem in British culture as we are somehow programmed from a young age to over-apologise and self-deprecate (we do say "sorry" a lot!). And because we don't internally approve of this in others, it is no doubt much harder to internally approve of ourselves too. 

But this attitude must change. To love yourself is not the same as having an inflated ego. Inflated egos are not attractive, whereas self-love is. There is a huge difference between the two. Self-love is about knowing you are worth your love, being kind to yourself, and appreciating all your wonderful goodness. An inflated ego believes it is the most important person in every situation and that it is the centre of everything. I'm not here to put down inflated egos - we're all on our own journeys, working through our own messes, and I have no right to pass judgements - but I think it's really necessary to point out that there is a BIG difference. Realise this and hopefully you can begin to shift your thinking: it is okay to love yourself.

In yoga-speak I'd like to introduce you to one of the yamas (ethical codes) of yoga: ahimsa, meaning non-violence. Of course this means non-violence to others, but ahimsa also means non-violence towards oneself. The reason for this? Everything is OM. Everything is One. If you are violent towards yourself, you are indirectly being violent towards others. So really, according to yogis, it is your ethical obligation to love yourself ;)

You are enough. You are enough. You are enough. You deserve your love as much as anyone else does. Once you learn to love yourself, you'll find it easier to love others too. Love cultivates more love! It's a pretty good cycle to be in! And it's a crucial part of being Beautifully Healthy, inside and out. 

Need some tips on how to actually learn and grow self-love? Check out my January post to learn more. 

I'd be really interested to get your thoughts on why we find self-love so hard and your tips for combatting this thought process. Please do comment to let me know!

Love & light. Namaste,

Lucy x