Have you ever been told to “just love yourself” and wanted to roll your eyes, yell at the person, or ask “how the hell do I?!” Some love self-love, others hate it, some still don’t get how so many describe it as being so simple.
The self-love movement has taken social media by storm in recent years and it seems like every second person is preaching about how all you need to do is love yourself to feel great and make your life rosy, wonderful, and utterly fabulous (yeah, I was guilty of being one of those people!).
While the movement itself is great, I do think there are a few myths, reoccurring phrases that are told as truth that are quite common. These myths I think are more hurtful than they are helpful.
Choose to believe them if you want, I certainly did for a time, but perhaps this will offer you a different perspective of how these beliefs can be interpreted.
Self-Love Movement Myths
Here are the five myths I believe should be reimagined.
Myth #1: If you don’t feel great, just work on yourself
The self-love movement constantly preaches that if you don’t feel great or if something is off that it’s an opportunity to work on yourself. Yes, it can always be an opportunity to work on yourself and to improve, but my question is when do you stop?
Humans are meant to improve yes, but not everything is supposed to be wonderful and great all of the time. We’re supposed to have moments, times, periods in our lives of not-so-great emotions. This is part of being human. We can not meant to constantly grow and improve ourselves.
This movement, I believe, really pushes you to always focus on just loving yourself, when in reality, there are many moments when you won’t. It doesn’t mean that you need to work on yourself, it just means that you’re experiencing one of many human experiences and emotions.
Instead, I think it’s more important to ask yourself if you want to improve. If the idea sounds exhausting, perhaps it’s time to slow down, to have your winter period (when things don’t grow).
If you do want to improve, or you feel that you’re stuck in feeling off, then yes, absolutely give yourself extra love and get working on yourself, not to better yourself necessarily, but to feel better.
Myth #2: Everything you need is within yourself
A popular phrase in the spirituality world and that is often seen with self-love too is the belief that everything you need is within yourself. I call bullshit.
Yes, we can give ourselves a lot by tapping into our intuition, by listening to what our bodies need, etc. But not everything we need is within ourselves. I honestly don’t believe that we can be truly happy and in love with ourselves without outside sources too.
This is not to say that we need to rely on outside sources like things and people to make us happy or to practice self-love, it’s simply saying that we need both. We need to tap into what we need inside, as well as use outside, external sources to experience the true capacity of being human and love.
Connection to others is just as important as a connection to ourselves. Convincing yourself that what you need you already have robs you of experiencing deeper connections with others and fools you into thinking you can do it all alone. Nope. We’re humans, we’re meant to do things together! And we learn from each other. We aren’t both with ideas. Those ideas that we get from our intuition? We got those ideas from others to begin with.
Myth #3: You can’t find a partner until you love yourself first
This one really irks me because I think it’s the most hurtful. So let me start off by saying that you can find a partner, your person, your soulmate, whatever term you like to call this person at any time.
You do not have to fully love yourself in order to find this person. There are people who meet at different stages in their self-love journey’s all the time. If we all waited to fully love ourselves before we got into relationships, most of us would be single because self-love is a lifelong journey. It never ends!
You can absolutely work on loving yourself when you’re single. And you can absolutely work on loving yourself while in a relationship while also being loved by a partner.
Please, if you are blaming yourself for not finding your person, stop thinking it has to do with you and the amount that you love yourself. There are so many factors that come into play, and blaming yourself is not going to help you feel any better.
Myth #4: People treat you the same way you treat yourself
The idea that people treat you how you treat yourself is, in my opinion, mostly false. Some people may see how you treat yourself and use it as an influence for how they treat you, but it’s certainly is not that simple.
People treat others based on a number of things. I think people are much more likely to treat you differently or better based on how you hold yourself, your confidence and kindness rather than how you treat yourself. You can be as confident as you want and demand respect or super sweet but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t hard on yourself or put yourself down.
People treat people how they do based on their impressions of others, not so much how you treat yourself. And there will also be assholes and bitches and rude people around. This is not a rule that applies to all.
Treat yourself kindly, of course, but you can’t expect others to treat you well just because you’re kind to yourself. How they treat you is more a reflection of themselves as a person and their own inner battles and wounds than it is about you.
Myth #5: You can love yourself to happiness
Happiness comes from many things, not just love. In our culture, we put a ton of emphasis on love, like having it is the solution to making everything feel better. Can it temporarily feel like that? Sure can! Will it always make life feel utterly amazing? Nope.
Work on loving yourself, yes, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all you need. Be sure to do and practice things that aren’t just in the name of love, but in the name of fun, in the name of curiosity, in the name of learning, in the same of supporting, in the name of nature, in the name of growing. Have intentions for things other than love and your life will be filled with so much more than just focusing solely on loving yourself to the point of utter happiness. Happiness does not come from a single thing. True happiness is a combination of many things.
To sum it all up….the self-love movement is about accepting parts of yourself that you didn’t want to accept. It’s about being okay with who you are, even if you don’t love those parts yet…or ever! Self-love is not the answer to everything, far from it. If you have the expectation that life will suddenly get better once you figure out how to love yourself, I’m sorry to say that you’ll most likely be disappointed.
Work on self-acceptance, work on self-love, but work on other things too. It does good to focus on things other than just yourself, your own love, and your improvement.