The Lies We're Being Told and Sold About Self Love

It’s easy.   Well, it’s hard, but it’s really only the making time for yourself thing that’s hard.   Once you get used to that, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is technically.   Take an extra fifteen minutes for yourself after dinner!  Yes, even if you have kids.   Take a bubble bath.   Have that glass of rosé.   Whispering Angel is going to fix it.

If you’re having a hard time with it, therapy will help.   You definitely need therapy, and as soon as you get into therapy and figure out why you’re fucked up, it will be easy.  If therapy doesn’t work, don’t you dare try meds though, meds are for crazy people.  Not even crazy people should take them actually.  Have you heard of essential oils?  I’m sure I could help you treat your bipolar disorder in a natural way; I work with DoTerra/Young Living.  So seriously, no meds.  Meds are giving up, and you’re way too strong for that (even though you don’t feel like it, boo.  Trust me, I know you can get through it on your own.)

But before you check out therapy, are you working out enough?  Endorphins are a natural high!  They can cure your depression, make you less anxious…exercise will fix everything for you if you let yourself let go and get into it.   I’m positive that you’re not working out enough.  And drinking enough water.   Drink more water, and then get back to me!

If you do need therapy, it will fix everything, as long as you show up every week.   All you have to do is show up for yourself.  Like, literally, show up at the office.   And you’ll get better in no time.  I know because I had this great therapist once who helped me get over this awful breakup, and I felt better in a month!  So trust me, I know what I’m talking about.

Decide to love yourself.  That’s all.. The second you make the decision to love yourself, it all becomes easy.  Just ask yourself, “What would I do if I loved myself?” and do that, always.  You’re the only reason it’s hard; you’re making it hard.  There is nothing external.

You can love yourself in a month, if you’ve never loved yourself before.  Of course you can! Just take my four-week course.  The first week we’ll work on self-care (you’ll love those bubble baths).  The second week we’ll work on self-compassion (I’ll tell you to stop yelling at yourself when you don’t finish all fifteen items on your to-do list, and only get thirteen done).  The third week is self-esteem (we’ll make a list!  With all the things you like about yourself!  Trust me guys, this is the key.  If you make this list and read this list anytime you feel “down”, you’ll come right up again.   It’ll be impossible not to love yourself.)  And in the final week, we’ll synthesize everything we’ve learned and call it all “self-love”.  

Clothes you love will fix it.   Money will fix it.   A nicer apartment will fix it.   Money can do that for you, and once your external circumstance are more inspiring, your internal life will follow.   Fake it till ya make it!  It worked for me J Don’t I seem happy?  Don’t you want to be as happy as I am?  Just look at my Instagram!

 

This all makes me fucking sick to my stomach.

 

You’ve read at least one of these.  You may have read several.  Some of you, like me, may have been exposed to them all on a regular basis.  But enough is fucking enough.

I’m not saying that bubble baths and other types of more relaxation-focused self-care don’t help.  I’m not saying working on negative self-talk doesn’t help.  I’m not saying working out doesn’t help.  I’m not saying it’s wrong if you want to use essential oils to help you with your mental illness/self-esteem/anything else.  And I’m definitely not saying therapy doesn’t help.  Let me debunk this shit from you, one step at a time.

It's easy/self-care will fix it.

This is an aspect of self-love, but there are many, many others. Taking time for yourself is really key to developing a good relationship with yourself. So is giving yourself the things that make you feel good or happy or calm. And so is relaxation, to ease the anxiety of this clusterfuck world we live in and the totally unrealistic demands that society shoves on us as women.   But again...there’s more to it than just that.  There are other steps you have to take.   And you know that guilt that comes up every time you do take time for yourself, take a bubble bath, skip a social outing, invest in a larger purchase?   The only way to get rid of that is to build up your actual self-love, your deep, sustainable self-love.  And once you do, these techniques become about a million times more effective.   If you’re focusing on these because you have no idea where to start when it comes to self-love, check out my Self Love Foundations post, where I cover some ways to start that are small but more likely to bring you sustainable and meaningful results.

Therapy will fix it.

Nothing is guaranteed.   No one can guarantee anything to change the way you feel about yourself.  Even shock therapy.   If someone gives you a guarantee that it will work for you, they’re lying to you.    That all said, I think (and in fact know!) that in some, or even many , cases, therapy can be enormously helpful to this process.  But just like above, it can’t do everything alone (though I will vouch for it doing more than bubble baths did for me, by about a million times).   It’s also, you know, hard work.   Which I’ll get to below.   And finally, there are good, bad, and useless therapists, and you need to put in the work to find one that really works for you.   And if yours doesn’t work for you, and you know therapy would be helpful to you in this process or with anything else you’re going through, keep looking.  The value of a good therapist cannot be measured.

Don’t consider meds:

This is such utter fucking bull.   This is where I’m going to get a bit heated, without the slightest apology.   If you med-shame other people, read this blog post.   And if by the end of it you haven’t decided to stop, get off my website and don’t come back.    Shaming other people is just generally so psychologically destructive, but shaming people who have been smart enough and self-aware enough and brave enough to make a really hard decision to better their health just because you don’t agree with it yourself?   I have zero tolerance for it.   Again, read the blog post.   Now, onto why meds are a great option, though definitely not something I’m saying are a quick fix or the ultimate solution or anything.

If you suffer from a mental illness (you’d need to find this out first, though so many of us already have been diagnosed), medication might be a tool to help you in dealing with that.   Some mental illnesses mess with your brain chemistry in such a way that it becomes really difficult, if not impossible, to change your thought patterns, because you’re so totally overtaken by your moods/emotions/negative thinking/whatever the symptom might be.   Medications, when used correctly, won’t fix this.   You read that right.   They won’t fix it; nothing is supposed to be magic and fix everything for you.   But they may well help.   They might help with regulating things so that it becomes more manageable for you to take on this type of work, to do the behavioral things you need to do to change your life, and to fight off the negative thought patterns.   Medications, when used necessarily and appropriately, can make a huge difference.  

Finally, I’m not anti-essential-oils, or DoTerra, or Young Living (though you can check out my feelings on MLMs in an upcoming post, if you’re curious).  I think they’re an excellent tool.   Do I think they can cure bipolar disorder or schizophrenia?  No.   Do I think they alone can cure anxiety or depression?   My personal opinion is no.  But if you want to use oils to treat your mental illness, that’s absolutely your choice and I will support you!   And I use essential oils to nourish my life in many ways (my favorites are from Saje, by the way).   But just as I don’t like it when people shame meds, I don’t like it when people shame other peoples’ modes of coping.   We’re all suffering.   We don’t need to attack each other in addition to that.

You also MAY NOT NEED therapy.  It’s kind of normal not to love yourself.   It’s worth looking into, but just because you don’t love yourself as you’d like to doesn’t necessarily mean you need therapy.

Exercise can fix it.

Exercise can help.   We all know that exercise is good for your mind, in addition to your body.   It helps regulate your hormones and increase the ones that make you feel happy and relaxed.   And it can play a really enormous role in increasing your sense of self-love.   But it cannot do it alone.   It can make it easier to challenge those negative thoughts by helping you regulate your mood.   Feeling better in your body can clearly make you feel better about yourself as a whole.  Health is huge to self-love.   But you can’t just Pilates away the harder mental work.  And yes, drink your damn water.   It really will help.   But it’s not going to change your entire brain chemistry.   It’s more work than that. 

Just showing up at therapy is all you need to do.

This is the first step in many cases, if you need therapy.   It helps.   A ton.   If you have a good therapist, of course.  And if you’re actually going to do the work once you’re sitting in that room.   But that’s kind of key.   You need to find someone who can help you effectively with what you’re struggling with, and then you need to show up to do that work.   You don’t just sit in a chair while someone fixes your life for you.   You have to show up and engage and put in the effort to do the mental work, even when it’s really fucking hard.

Just Decide:

This one is a little bit harder. This one, to me, is more true than the rest. And deciding...is huge. Is totally key, and totally necessary. It’s the “just” that’s a lie.  It’s not that fucking easy. You decide, and then you work.  Really really fucking hard.  And you return to that decision every time it gets unbearably hard, with a great deal of kindness and gentleness towards yourself and forgiveness for when you’ve “given up”. 

Easy fix-it self love courses:

I try not to be super-critical of the work of others.   And this work is really well-intentioned in most cases.  I really believe that.   But a lot of these courses teach untrue things, like the myths that I’m debunking here.  Others reduce self-love to self-care, and teach that once you’ve got a handle on your self-care, you love yourself.  And that’s just not true at all.  Finally, this work, if done to create sustainable results, is not immediate or easy.   It’s hard work, where you build a strong foundation and continue working at it in the way you live your life, over many years.    Courses and teachers and books and trainings and coaching can all help with this.   But the work is ultimately yours, and if someone is telling you that the work is easy, they’re not teaching you how to do it in a way that you can sustain throughout your life.   And creating temporary, superficial, surface-level “self-love” seems like a waste of both your energetic and financial investment in my opinion.  Why buy the knockoff that you know is gonna fall apart in a month when you could buy the real thing that’ll last you forever if you’re willing to work a little harder and invest a little more time and energy.

Fix the external:

Life will never stop giving you challenges.  The external will always bring up obstacles.  Even if you tackle the current ones, you need a foundation of sustainable self-love to better handle the ones that come later.  

 

Fake it till you make it:

If you have to create self-love by lying to yourself, you’re not going to be able to sustain it.  Unless you want to lie to yourself for the rest of your life. In which case, you really don’t actually love yourself, do you?

This is a short-term fix. A quickie. It might give you an idea of what self-love would feel like, but it’s not the real thing.

Again, there’s a grain of truth here. It’s always useful to look for the grain of truth in the lies. Visualization can be hugely helpful to the self-love process (blog post to come).

Why do I feel so confident in sharing this advice with you about self-love?  Because I’ve done this work.  For years.  And getting to where I am now was really fucking hard-won.  No bit of it was easy.  Some of the lies actually helped me in this pursuit, as I mentioned above.  But not one of those things alone created a sustainable sense of self-love in me. And none of them combined even did it. There was more to it. And it was painful, and difficult, and took a long time. And parts of it could have been easier, more effective, more efficient. But I don’t regret taking the long way, because it allowed me to learn the things I needed to learn to share this with others.

Stop buying lies. Stop listening; tune out to things that don't serve you. When you hear something about self-love, or self-care, or self-esteem, remember that whatever you are hearing is almost definitely just one part of the self-love story. Ask yourself if it feels true. You heart knows these answers for you better than your mind, or me, or literally anyone else you could ask.

I want to help others on this journey. Please feel free to check out my offerings or get in touch with me if you’re interested in doing this work.  If you ask me, it’s some of the most worthy work you can do in your life.

 

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