Since I’ve already told you how to hate yourself, it’s only fair that I tell you how to do the opposite.
There seems to be an unfair stigma attached to loving yourself. People write you off as conceited and stuck-up. God forbid you like who you are, you egomaniac! So before we dive into self-love, let me explain to you what it isn’t first.
Loving yourself doesn’t mean projecting an overwhelming sense of superiority. You know you’re awesome and you don’t need your license plate to say # 1 PRINCESS to prove it. You don’t need your Myspace page to say “LOVE ME OR HATE. I’M A BITCH. AND IF YOU CAN’T HANDLE IT, GET OUT.” or if you’re a dude, “I’M THE MOTHERF%%$ING KING. BOW DOWN 2 ME!” All of the people who walk around proclaiming they are a precious gift and deserve to be treated like a queen are usually in reality, insecure, delusional, and kind of mean. Loving yourself doesn’t translate to thinking you’re better than everyone else. People who are actually comfortable in their own skin don’t need to shout it from the mountaintops. It’s just evident in their day-to-day decision making. For example:
You: You know what band I actually really like?
Diva friend: What?
You: Los Lonely Boys! They’re awesome.
Diva friend: Are you kidding me? They’re awful! How could you ever listen to that crap?!
You: Because I like them….
Diva friend: Oh.
Your diva friend was shut down by your conviction! They tried to make you feel bad about what you liked and you weren’t having it. In order to love yourself, you need to stand by everything you do. There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure because if you enjoy it, it’s just pleasurable period. Don’t ever make apologies for the things that make you happy (unless it’s heroin or an abusive relationship). Have confidence in your decisions.
The quickest way to find out if you truly love yourself is to examine your relationships. I’ve known plenty of people who have high self-esteem and still manage to fall for people who will treat them like crap. It’s a giant “WTF?” about their personality. How could someone be a certain way in every facet of their life, and then act completely contrary when they get in a relationship? We’ve all done it. We’ve all disrespected ourselves for the person we “love.” We’ve all found ourselves going against everything we believe in for some sex and an “I love you” from someone who doesn’t even know what that means. When seeking the love of someone else, we often forget to love ourselves.
There needs to be a foundation of self-respect. The kind of foundation that allows you to look in the mirror without feeling like a hippo and listen to a band like Los Lonely Boys without shame. As long as you have that base level of self-love, you can survive the missteps, the assholes, the bad friends. Because at the end of day, you like yourself. You think you’re good company. You go to lunch by yourself, catch the occasional movie all by your lonesome, and are content in spending a solo star night in. You would hang out with you. Sure. Why not?
None of this simple. None of this is easy. You will betray yourself and your ideals at some point. But the key to recovery is to always know you want the best for yourself. As the wise Beyoncé once said, “It’s me, myself, and I, that’s all I got in the end.”