It can be a near-impossible task for many of us to stop and simply accept ourselves as we are at this very moment. There can be this sensation that you’ll love yourself, REALLY love yourself, when you lose those pesky 25 pounds. Or when you get your teeth straightened and pearly white. Or when you stop being such an anxious, unsure, jittery mess.
We’re always told to strive to be the best version of ourselves. But what if the best version of myself is a bitch? I actually saw a tweet (that I failed to bookmark…damn it) that instead of trying to be the best version of yourself, aim to be the favorite version of yourself.
Right now, the favorite version of myself is a woman sitting on a balcony typing on her laptop and enjoying a rare cool breeze amid weeks of heat. Who forgot to bring out her glass of ice water that’s still sitting on the table inside. Even now, as I write this, picking at myself feels a little inevitable. It’s scary how easy it is to normalize self-depreciation even when you’re telling others to stop.
But I guess that’s part of learning to love yourself right now. Loving even the habits that are bad and enduring. So, I guess what I want to say is that there will never be a perfect you or a perfect moment to embrace you. Learning to love yourself right now no matter what’s going on in your life might be hard. It might feel impossible, and that’s okay. That’s why you’re meant to LEARN to do this. It’s not an automatic process. It takes time.
So how do you love yourself, as you are, right now?
Accept That You’re Not Perfect (And That’s Okay!)
I think the phrases “no one’s perfect” and “everybody makes mistakes” can be so annoying because they are often used to get around taking accountability for one’s actions. Unfortunately, this aggravation hides the fact that there is truth in both of these statements.
You are not a perfect person.
You will make mistakes.
Accepting these statements as facts shouldn’t be an excuse to fail from owning up to your own fallibility. Instead, treat them as an aspect of self-forgiveness. It’s sometimes an unfortunate truth that we withhold love from ourselves with the condition that we’ll get all of it when we become “a better person.” Either physically or mentally or both. But no one will ever be the perfect version of themselves.
You can certainly improve in multiple ways, but you shouldn’t withhold that love and forgiveness from yourself as a condition of getting where you want to be. You should try to love yourself every step of the way forward. And yes, even when you step backward.
Accept That Not Everyone Is Going To Like You
If you’re a perpetual people pleaser, this will be a hard pill to swallow. But there it is: not everyone will like you, or even WANT to like you. No matter what you say or do, you will be on the wrong side of somebody. That’s just life, and life is far too short to be preoccupied with figuring out how to twist and bend yourself to be as desirable to as many people as possible.
You’re not going to get around to loving yourself by wading through fields of strangers, listening to them to figure out how you can adjust yourself to THEIR most idealized version of yourself!
When you accept that not everyone will like you and that there are people who, for whatever reason, will choose to never like you, it’s actually rather liberating.
You are now free to accept love and support from those who appreciate you for who you are and not their imagined version of who they think you’re supposed to be!
Let go of the need to seek approval from those who’ll never love or appreciate you as you truly are. Work on loving yourself and allowing those around you who will accept you, flaws and all.
Accept That Denying Yourself Love Is A Form Of Harm
Holding out for this perfect moment where everything comes together, thereby creating a specific condition where you get to love all of yourself might feel like a worthy goal, but in fact, you’re cheating yourself.
By denying yourself love, acceptance, and forgiveness in the present, you’re depriving yourself of a form of emotional support during a time you’re more likely to need it.
Unconditional love is the most powerful version of love; it’s not named so because the recipient is perfect and complete. It takes true effort to love yourself through everything. That’s what makes unconditional love so special!
It’s okay that you don’t always feel worthy of love. It’s okay that you have questions about whether you’re loveable. Sometimes, it can be hard to get to the root of who we are and all that we are to accept every part of ourselves.
Think of it as a snapshot out of a series of photographs.
Sometimes some photos are great! You’re in good lighting, the image is clear, and everything looks pristine. But there are also shots where you’re blurry, or you’re caught half blinking. Have you ever gone to take a photo of yourself, and you’re so awkward looking that you can only laugh? The “you” in the goofy photos is the same person who is in the perfect shots.
Our lives feature endless snapshots of who we are in every possible mood or mental state. Today’s snapshot can look drastically different from tomorrow’s. So try to look at that goofy, blurred, awkward person in the photo and love them, too. Because it’s always going to be easy to love a pristine version of yourself. But when you find the strength and the humor to accept the flaws, that’s when things really begin to come together.
Please Don’t Wait To Love Yourself
Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. Today is here, and you’re in this moment. You don’t have to wait for an idealized time, place, and version of yourself.
As I said at the beginning, you don’t need to wait on becoming the best version of yourself to offer self-love. The person that you are today is just as worthy of love and needs it more. So please try to give it freely, with all the compassion you can muster. 💜