Someone once asked me, “Can self-love be taught?”
It was one of those questions that made you second guess everything you thought you knew about the subject. The more obvious answer to that would be, “It can be learned.” But can you actually teach someone to love themselves?
What seemed like a simple question then grew into a creature with legs, romping and stomping in my mind, leaving marks in the halls as if to say, “Are you quite certain with your answer?”
Self-love, I suppose, is like learning how to ride a bike.
Someone can show you how to do it, and they may even give you a little push or support you until you get the hang of things. But they can’t make you ride it. The decision to keep going is yours and yours alone.
So the better question to ask would be, “Can you learn it?”
Yes, it can.
However, self-love isn’t something you can learn by searching for answer from without you. You have to look within and go deeper into who you are.
Self-love = Approval
If you go on Instagram and search the hashtag #selflove, you’ll find over 65 million posts on the subject. The thing with social media is that you’re never sure whether they’re honest or superficial.
I’ve noticed the same trend in people’s journey to self-love. The biggest mistake you can make while learning to love yourself is to use the context of self-love as a way of seeking approval from the outside world.
Go within, not without. You have to learn to accept that your flaws don’t make you any less, no matter what they are.
Self-love is not something you find if you just sleep earlier at night, workout more, or cut ties with people who don’t add value to your life. These are only ways of expressing it.
Love is not the means but the result. It’s the ‘why’ in the things you do.
It’s not a zero-sum game.
Loving ourselves comes with its challenges, and these challenges can look awfully familiar. It can look like struggling to actually love who we are. It can look messy, mad, and maddening.
I want you to know that it is not those moments when you’re down that define you, but what you choose to do that makes all the difference.
Self-love without self-accountability can easily turn into self-sabotage. You can love yourself with reproof or brutal honesty. It doesn’t make self-love mean any less as long as the end goal is growth.
How will you practice self-love today?