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The importance of practicing self-love

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Illustration by: Israel Gonzalez | Staff Illustrator

There is a tremendous amount of self-deprecation in society.

It is not uncommon for people to slap labels on themselves that embody the antithesis of self-love: “fat,” “ugly,” “stupid,” “failure.”

Disparaging statements are used so frequently and carelessly they become ingrained in everyday interactions. These destructive phrases are passed off as jokes, classified as trivial or go unnoticed in the course of conversation.

Harmful words are not funny or inconsequential. These subtle jabs are insidious and cruel. They have the ability to rip apart a sense of purpose. Derogatory comments undermine the importance of positive attributes abound within each person.

Ultimately, speaking with less than love about oneself will cause unforeseen consequences that will cause life to be less than desirable.

Society does not encourage us to love ourselves—it wouldn’t be good for business. If each of us embraced our flaws and quirks and refused to believe we need quick-fixes in order to enhance our lives, who would play the role of the insecure consumer?

It is not our job to condemn capitalism for an internal issue. Each individual’s job is to learn how to love themselves.

Many people are not cognizant of the way they think and speak about themselves.  Their own personal negative narrative is so heavily engrained in their minds they do not know they are listening to it day in and day out.

Take a moment to consider the last time you looked in the mirror and felt true love and appreciation for the person staring back. Look in your eyes and remember the soul sitting beyond them: so much more valuable than any outer image or material possession.

The voice in your head that says “fat” or “ugly” is capable of saying things like “worthy” and “lovable.”

Our culture does not encourage conversations about self-love. Conversations about self-worth are often cast off as sappy, New Age, hippie-inspired mantras that hold no significance in the realm of reality.

Society is backwards, because when we begin to live from a place of love for ourselves, we are able to love others. We are able to think with love and in turn act with love. This leads to the healing our world needs, but cannot ask for because our fast-paced culture drowns out its cries.

Self-love is not narcissism, nor is it selfish. Instead, it is liberating and imperative. When we find it in ourselves to show the eyes staring back at us compassion rather than condemnation, we begin to plant seeds of empathy everywhere we go. When someone can find the courage to say “I accept myself even in all my faults,” they are able to apply the sentiment to others.

People should dare to practice self-love. There is vulnerability in claiming you know you’re enough, but there is also freedom to be found in the openness.