I’m a big fan of all things self-love.
In fact, I don't think you can fully accept love from others if you don’t love yourself. If you can’t love yourself, you’ll never truly believe that others can love you, flaws and all.
But, for a lot of people, the idea of unconditionally loving yourself can be a bit daunting!
Let’s be honest, we all have things about ourselves that we just don’t love, but does that mean we’re falling off the self-love train?
It is possible to love yourself while not loving all the pieces of yourself!
SELF-LOVE IS A MINDSET
Loving yourself isn’t all or nothing, yet for many women, when they try to improve their self-love they feel they have to love everything. It’s no wonder so many women struggle with this concept!
While it’s a lovely idea to love every single thing about yourself, I don’t think it’s possible, and I’m not sure that’s even the end goal.
Let’s look at this from a different perspective...think of someone whom you love with all of your heart. Maybe it’s your child, your partner, your mom, or your best friend. It doesn’t matter who fills that role for you, just bring them to mind.
You love them unconditionally, right?
Are they perfect? I don’t even know them, and I can answer that...no, they’re not perfect (because hello...NO ONE is perfect!).
Do you love every single thing about them?
Maybe! But more than likely, there are some traits about them that you don’t love, per se, but you accept because you love the person.
Do you see where I’m going with this? You accept their imperfections that might even drive you crazy because you love the person. Those annoying parts don’t impact your overall feelings for the person.
This is how loving yourself works. There will always be parts of yourself that you don’t love, and that’s okay.
Self-love is a mindset because when you love yourself, you accept yourself as-is. The parts that you don’t like don’t influence your overall love for yourself.
IMPERFECTION = OPPORTUNITIES
When I say you accept yourself ‘as-is’ that doesn’t mean you have to leave it as-is.
You are presented with an opportunity anytime you are faced with something that’s not quite to your liking.
If you don’t like how you fly off the handle at the smallest provocation, take the time to work on yourself and change your reactions.
If you hate how you never stand up for yourself, then learn how to be more assertive.
There will always be parts of yourself that you don’t necessarily like, but you have no desire to ‘work on.' That’s okay too.
But, I’m betting there are several things you can set goals around to confront the areas that challenge your ability to love who you are.
IT’S ALL ABOUT RESPECT
One of the biggest things I’ve learned on my personal growth journey (as part of my midlife awakening) is that while we may not love everything about ourselves, we can always respect everything about ourselves.
In my world, when I respect something or someone, there’s no room for hate. I may not necessarily like it, but I can’t hate it. If there’s no hate, there’s space for love.
What does it mean to respect parts of yourself? For me, that means recognizing what that feature or characteristic does for me and being grateful for it.
For example, I'm rather quiet and shy in social situations and, I've never liked that about myself. I wish I could be more chatty and outgoing, but this is a part of myself that I can't change. Sure, I can learn techniques to be a better conversationalist in social situations, but it still won't be something I enjoy.
Instead of beating myself up about it, I am grateful that it gives me the chance to genuinely connect with a few people and have a meaningful conversation instead of just light hearted mingling with bunches of people.
Loving who you are and practicing self-love is an ongoing process and a daily choice. It’s not always easy, but it is a game-changer in how you experience your life.
You’re not perfect...I’m not perfect...no one is perfect.
Give yourself a break and release the expectation that you have to love everything about yourself. You don’t! It’s perfectly okay not to love all of you.
But...what’s not okay is not to accept and respect all of you.