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Don't wait for permission to love yourself

Don't wait for permission to love yourself


“Oh they really love themselves” said with a judging sneer. We’ve all heard this at some point in our lives whether about us, someone else, or in passing. But why does it have such a sting?

Loving ourselves can be seen as acceptable by society, but usually only when there it is a palatable, socially acceptable idea of self love that is by no means inclusive. When boundaries are set, loving yourself is no longer something profitable or easily consumed, so the praise turns to anger or judgement. But this is not a reflection on you.

When people in marginalised bodies are confident, happy, or sexy on the internet they are attacked, or even pitied – “How dare you love yourself in a body like that?”, “Oh aren’t you so BRAVE!”

This brings it back to the consumable self love - people will accept you loving yourself if they can get something from it. If they don’t, you can be sure that they will tell you why you don’t deserve to occupy that space in increasingly cruel and unusual ways.

A lot of us will carry these thoughts, even just at a subconscious level, because we have been programmed to believe that if you don’t look a certain way, then you have absolutely no right to feel good about the body you are in. We may even notice and praise someone for looking and acting a certain way (and mean it!) while at the same time thinking quietly “but I’m so glad that isn’t me.”

Loving yourself is simply the act of knowing what serves you and what doesn’t. Whether that is knowing what thoughts about your body are helpful, what outfits make you feel good or what people you no longer need in your life. It is about prioritising your own joy, both for now and the future and sneering comments do not serve you at any time. Of course this isn’t an easy thing, when society tells us certain parts of our bodies or personalities are not worth loving.

Many of us may show the current version of ourselves love, but what if your body changed? Or sometimes we think "I'll love myself if I was more like this..." Taking time to sit with current and future versions of yourself is important for loving yourself too.

We are born to change, and this is ok. Loving yourself doesn’t come easy to many, and this is also ok. We’re all on our own individual paths and sometimes it won’t look like how it does in the media. An important thing to remember is that you will change and that’s ok. If you are working on self love for the person you are now, then remember to hold that same space for the person you might be in the future, and vice versa.

And finally, a reminder. If you feel like calling someone brave, or hideous, or sneer at how they love themselves, it’s time to address where these thoughts are coming from.

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