Self-ImprovementSelf-Love

Selfie Does Not Equal Self-Love

I recently had a conversation with a friend about our social media culture and how we both have to post daily, build a following, and engage with that following all to support our brands. It’s one of those things that we’ve accepted as part of our culture—and it is also how people are doing business. Rather than getting frustrated that this is the new norm, we decided to embrace it—under one condition, post authentically.

My brand, Amour De Soi, is focused on self-love which is a popular topic these days. From #selfie to #selfcare, the self is trending. But what does social media’s algorithm really understand about self-love? And, what exactly is self-love?

My definition of self-love is the journey of getting to know oneself—understanding your true identity. Your identity is not your introduction. “Hi, I’m Heather. I live in LA. I’m a writer. I enjoy doing yoga. I’m obsessed with Erewhon and pugs.” These are facts about me, but those words don’t even scratch the surface of my identity. Finding your identity takes courage to explore your own depths. To explore your own depths, you have to let go of your ego and step into vulnerability. And who the heck wants to show that side of themselves on social media? Well, I do, and my intuition tells me that others are craving more ways of exploring authenticity, as well.

The soul-searching journey of getting to know oneself is downright challenging in this day and age when our social media society constantly screams at us to be a certain way, like a certain thing, dislike a certain thing, be a certain size, wear a certain label… which directly correlates with self-esteem issues. And, let’s not forget the comparison battles (although most people post their reel life, not their real life). Selfie does not equal self-love.

How do we find our identities in our selfie society? It’s easier said than done. I know, because I did it. One of the most challenging journeys of my life, I chose to discover my self-love because I wanted to live up to my full potential. I wanted to create a beautiful life, one in which I woke up every single morning stoked to be alive, fueled by my purpose, while spreading joy to all I meet. I knew I was never going to #livemybestlife if I didn’t learn how to dive deep in my own pool of thoughts and emotions, learning who I really was at my core.

What did I find in the deep dive into my pool? I found who I was, along with the talents and skills that I possess. Then I started metaphorically swimming. I began to apply all I knew about myself to my daily actions, incorporating my self-love into my real (and reel) life. I started dedicating time to my purpose; writing. I learned my boundaries within myself and also with others. I faced my fears and doubt, recognizing them as blocks to overcome to rise to the next level. I treated my body with more respect (with healthier foods and exercise, but more importantly, I was kinder to myself with my inner dialogue). I learned how to squash negative thoughts, not letting them take the wheel. I found myself, my dreams, and my desires… and then I ran head-on towards living my best life.

Self-love does need to be trending but not only for self-care purposes. People need to learn to embody self-respect. The self-love journey teaches us to stop making poor choices that cause chaos and frustration in our lives. These lessons are difficult because hard choices have to be made in order to change a situation. It’s the choice to not open a bottle of wine to destress but rather open your journal to understand why you want to reach for a numbing substance in the first place. It’s the choice to rest and recharge on your off days, rather than filling your schedule and running away every chance you get (newsflash: you can never outrun what’s in your head and heart). It’s the choice to sleep alone with yourself instead of a former lover who doesn’t respect you or themselves (if someone doesn’t respect themselves, it makes it pretty difficult to respect others). To settle into your own skin, your own bones, your own body, completely and totally alone, and love what and who you are, that’s knowing your identity. That’s self-love. The key to self-love is self-awareness, and self-awareness will get you further in life than a trust fund.

My own personal belief is that when you love yourself, you don’t judge yourself. When you stop judging yourself, you stop judging others. Therefore, self-love becomes the cure for much of our society’s issues. When you start to learn—and love—who you truly are, a funny thing happens—you can no longer live in falsehood. You become your most authentic self. Can you imagine a world filled with self-love and respect for others… especially on our ever-so-addictive social media platforms? The more we are able to love ourselves, the more our social media presence can shift to a place where vulnerability begets vulnerability.

Social media’s not going anywhere anytime soon, so let’s trend authenticity. My intention is to start the global conversation on what self-love really is. It’s far deeper than self-development, it’s soul development. Before you post your next selfie, make sure you know your self[ie].

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I can see people's auras and know when someone is lying. Follow Heather on Instagram or read more articles from Heather on Thought Catalog.