An Argument for Self-love

love yourself
So many women default to self-loathing. Or, at the very least, self-neutrality. Pride is a sin, after all, and it’s more socially acceptable to trash-talk your own body than it is to praise it. Our society has conflated humility with self-deprecation, which makes open acknowledgment of your own beauty, power, and worth absolutely taboo.

But there are so many reasons to cultivate self-love, so many reasons to let go of loathing. I talk a lot about how to love yourself here, but today let’s talk about why.

Hating yourself and loathing your body sucks up energy. LOTS of energy. If you can diminish or eradicate those circular thought patterns, you’ll liberate that energy for other tasks, goals, and ruminations. I promise you’ll be amazed at how invigorated you feel once you’ve cast off that incessant fretting.

Happiness is important, but serenity is vital. And it can feel impossible to achieve when you’re busily judging yourself. Because even when the more immediate worries clear out, self-loathing is still there, whirring busily in the background and keeping you agitated. Make it stop, and serenity is within reach. Learn to love yourself, and happiness follows close behind.

Acceptance of your own beauty opens you up to a more diverse beauty ideal. Once you acknowledge that yes, indeed, you are a gorgeous, luminous creature, other equally gorgeous and luminous creatures appear all around you. Seeing beauty in others begins with recognizing it within yourself.

Self-loathing often goes hand-in-hand with self-deprecation, which puts other people at a distance. It’s not your job to make everyone in the world comfortable with you, of course. But the more comfortable you are with yourself, the easier you are to talk to, relate to, love.

When you’re trapped by your own self-hatred, it can make simple tasks seem impossible. It can fool you into believing that you’re not capable or strong, or that you couldn’t possibly put forth the effort required to meet your goals. Yes, hating your body affects your confidence in other areas of life and diminishes your overall self-worth. Letting go of that negativity allows you to reclaim the power to act and achieve. When you love yourself, you value yourself, and you act accordingly.

People love you. They do, and they always will. But in the end, you must be your own champion. The only person who can truly teach the world about your marvelous, sensual, graceful, unique, lovely, and undeniably beautiful self is YOU. When you believe you’re beautiful, the world believes right along with you.

Loving yourself is hard. It’s work. It’s never-ending and there are a thousand forces working against your success. But believe me when I say it is worth the effort. You are worth the effort. Put that effort forth and you will be dazzled by the world of opportunity that unfolds before you.

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Originally posted 2010-08-25 05:17:00.

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27 Responses to “An Argument for Self-love”

  1. Melissa

    This is very poignant, especially for the season that I'm in right now.

    My entire life has been filled with friends and strangers saying and doing things to make me feel like I'm just not good enough, not quite as good or talented or smart or capable or pretty as the others in my circle.

    It's something that has brought a lot of destruction to me, in more ways than I ever, ever thought I would allow. And I'm trying very hard to overcome it.

    Thank you for posting this.

  2. Bobbie

    Standing ovation! I am sending this to my fifteen year old daughter and her friends.

  3. kristophine

    Yeah, I needed this today. Nothing like (allegedly narrowly) losing out on The Perfect Job to make my brain start up the negative self-chatter.

  4. Anonymous

    What a powerful, inspiring post! Thanks so much for putting this out there. I just tweeted your website address–I have a lot of teenage followers, and I hope they check this out. Well done.

  5. Anonymous

    Thank you for posting this amazing post Sal!

    For many years I have been working on acknowledging negative thoughts of self and trying to be kinder. It is an ongoing challenge, but once you start it gets easier to replace bad with good thoughts.

    A similar process also works when you have a friend, family member or others in your life experiencing challenging times or in need of help. It goes along with the saying "you can't take care of others until you take care of yourself". So if you are assisting or caregiving for others doing positive self work helps tremendously!

    Kind Regards!

  6. The Budget Babe

    sal this was absolutely beautiful and exactly what i needed to read today!

  7. Andie

    Thanks for writing this because it's really true! Shout it out from the rooftops! 🙂

  8. Katie K

    Thank you for this beautiful post, Sal. It reminds me of a poem by Charles Bukowski, which I feel like I've posted here before and has become something of a mantra for me. Here's a snippet:

    Nobody can save you but
    and you’re worth saving.
    it’s a war not easily won
    but if anything is worth winning then
    this is it.

    think about it.
    think about saving your self.

    I've gone through a lot in the last year but the biggest change was the realization that I was worth saving and similarly that I was worth loving and that instead of waiting around for someone to do the saving and do the loving (which wasn't happening), I needed to be proactive and do it myself. And it feels very strange, very self absorbed but that's been my mission. It's not easy and there are good days and bad days but this journey of loving myself and providing for myself and being good to myself has been sort of mind blowing. I feel like a different person all of a sudden, much more connected to all the aspects of myself. It's amazing, really.

    And I also want to thank you because I feel like reading this blog and seeing how you speak positive words to yourself, and treat your body with care and clothe yourself in flattering beautiful clothing has been such a good example and have helped me along my journey. So many of your posts have sparked some sort of realization for me. So thank you Sal!

  9. Cynthia (It All Changes)

    I was at that default for so long I'm learning (slowly) to love myself again. Some days I force it and some days I believe it. But its a gradual process.

  10. Zeynep

    Love this post. 🙂

    You linked to a very similar post in one of your Friday link posts (last week or maybe the week before? Not sure). I made a comment on that post and mentioned Megan Fox. For some reason she reminds me of this issue. I like Megan Fox. I think she's smoking hot, and I love her confidence for it, and I couldn't understand why so many women I've spoken to hated her. I finally asked some of them, and they replied: she's conceited. (I guess because of comments where she acknowledged her attractiveness?)

    I think that's sad, quite honestly. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I love blunt honesty, and it's SO refreshing to hear a celebrity talk about loving her body, being confident in her attractiveness and sex appeal, etc. That's what makes me like her in particular so much.

    If someone as beautiful as Megan Fox put herself down instead of acknowledging her beauty, where do we stand? What kind of example does that set? "Look at this beautiful woman, and even she hates her body. There's no way that I could love my body if she can't even love hers."

    Actually… funny enough, I just wrote a paragraph in this comment talking about how I loved the shape I'm in right now and how I look awesome. But then I deleted it because I thought other people who read my comments will think I'm conceited or flaunting it. Heh. Oh, the irony…

  11. Scholar Style Guide

    Your blog is such a feel-good read. Thanks for that.


  12. Anonymous

    I had a very positive self image when I was a teen, but anytime I would say something good about myself, my "friends" would rip me apart: call me conceited, point out my flaws. I don't *think* I was being conceited, but I learned with them that I had to be self-deprecating in order to be accepted. Fortunately I realized they were not exactly the most supportive group, and no long-term damage was done, but I do wonder how much of our negative self-images are brought on by other people bringing us down, particularly during those incredibly vulnerable teen years.

  13. Unplanned Cooking

    Such a great post. That's one thing I like about getting older: with each year, I feel more comfortable in my own skin.

  14. Kristin

    Oh Sal, you have such a way with words. This post so resonated with me today, especially my experience with your point about self-hatred making simple tasks seem impossible. In some of my harshest times, getting off of the couch and doing something easy, like the laundry or walking the dog, seem like the most difficult thing in the world. Anything that was truly difficult or challenging (reaching out to friends, particularly hard projects at work) were right out. Re-directing those negative self-thoughts into positive ones completely changes their intertia!

  15. Brenda

    An Argument for Self-Acceptance…As a former self-loather, I have found that the opposite of hate is not love, but indifference. I just recently posted a video on my own blog, and I was amazed at the fact that I saw myself as being fat, with a large butt and thighs, but the amazing thing is that I really didn't care.
    This is huge for me.
    I don't love my body, but I don't hate myself because of my body.
    I gave up trying to be perfect. And that goes with body image. I don't have to love my body. I just can't hate it.
    Self love is alot to ask of someone. I stopped defining things as 'good' or 'bad', but they just are.
    Acceptance is more palpable, for me, than adoration.

  16. isabelrasmussen

    I love that line:

    Once you acknowledge that yes, indeed, you are a gorgeous, luminous creature, other equally gorgeous and luminous creatures appear all around you. Seeing beauty in others begins with recognizing it within yourself.

    That is why I created the Beauty Message Challenge: Tel yourself "I am beautiful" everyday for 10 days.

  17. Kryst

    Great post and very timely for me, as I am in a process of self-rediscovery. For me, it's not so much that I have come to loathe myself, but rather I have slipped into a state of just existing – indifference really.

    As I try to reset myself and my life, I am sure I'll be reading your blog for motivation. Thanks for writing – I look forward to reading more.

  18. Stephanie Vincent

    Sally…ironic enough…this was my facebook status yesterday.

    “When you dislike something, there is no real motivition to take care of it. When you have to take care of it, you hate doing it, it’s difficult and you would always rather be doing something else. When you love something, love itself is the motivation. Taking care of it comes without question, you enjoy doing it, it’s… easy and there is nothing more you’d rather be doing. Do you dislike you body or do you love it?”

    sharing this post!! 🙂

  19. Ann M.

    This was a wonderful read and while I first discovered your blog via fashion, I love your self-love and body image posts a lot – it's not something I ever really thought about myself, so in a way they're eye-opening and they ring very true. Even though my body image has mostly been very good throughout my life so far – thanks to my mother – it is still good to actually think about it sometimes and that's what your posts make me do. Thank you for that.