Disclaimer: Some parts of this post are cross posted both here, on my writing blog, and on my tumblr. Self love is different for every person, just as it will be for each of your characters. This is a brief post, as such I am brief in my descriptions and reasoning. I may expand at a later point. There are also two kind-of-almost swear words in here, so…
I often see self love romanticized and of all the things writers tend to romanticize, this one upsets me the most because it can make people who struggle with self love feel worse. It’s damaging and harmful to your audience, in this case I recommend you do valiant research if you don’t struggle with or understand self love.
Why Is Self Love So Important To Write About?
Self love is an important thing to talk/write about because it’s either pushed under the rug, taken out of context, or it’s made out to be a greedy, selfish monster. So many people struggle with self love, therefore it’s important to show that self love is normal, and healthy. As storytellers it should be a required part of our jobs to portray it as healthy and normal in our fictional worlds.
Our minds and worldviews are shaped by the information we let in: both conscious and subconscious. We live in a society that thrives on tearing others down with barbs and nails that just barely scratch us but over time those scratches build up, break the skin and become infected. Maybe we should work at breaking that destructive system.
What is Self Love?
Self love is essentially taking care of yourself. It doesn’t mean you always treat yourself. It doesn’t mean you’re arrogant or prideful. It is merely taking care of your physical, spiritual, emotional and mental health and damn, it’s messy.
Self love is often tough love. Sometimes self love is getting rid of something you really want because you know it isn’t good for you. It’s distancing yourself from precious friendship that are draining you and tearing you down.
Self love is having self control. It’s easy to ignore self love and give into things in the present that feel so good, despite that voice in the back of your head telling you it’s OK because the person over there says ‘it’s self love.’ Is it really loving to you, though?
Sometimes self love is accepting the fact that you feel like crap instead of pretending you’re OK. Living in denial is just as harmful as wallowing in your pain.
Sometimes self love is purposefully making yourself cry because you know you’ll feel better afterwards.
Sometimes self love is wearing yourself out so that your mind will stop racing and you can finally sleep.
Self love is a daily battle and sometimes it’s lost.
But self love is also standing up again the next morning, taking a shower, making coffee and going on with your day because one battle lost doesn’t mean the war is over. It’s accepting that you may never like certain things about yourself but that’s OK because those things that you don’t love make you different from the person sitting next to you and those differences are your power.
Self love isn’t just treating yourself to something nice every once in a while or telling yourself you look hot. Self love isn’t pretending you’re confident, telling yourself to get over something or giving yourself a pat on the back. Yes, those are some of the aspects of self love but they’re only the tip of the iceberg. Self love is – to be straightforward -gross, disgusting and dirty; we should portray it as such.
Self love is different for each of us, what is self love to you?
Show us the beautiful, encouraging moments of self love, self confidence, and self discovery but don’t underestimate the weight and power of those bad moments. Those bad moments are just as important as the good.