Self love is the new key to happiness. At least that’s what you might assume if you observe the hype surrounding love for yourself. But do you really have to love yourself warmly and deeply?
Do you actually love yourself? A question that we have been coming up with for some time. Be it in social networks, advertising or a number of psycho guides.
Self-love is now THE key to happiness, it seems. On Instagram alone, there are 2.2 million posts under the hashtag “self-love”, and almost 200 posts have the hashtag “learning to love yourself”.
Clever minds use clever-sounding phrases to suggest that self-love is a worthwhile goal. You have probably read or heard that “you are the most important person in your life” or “you can only love you if you love yourself”.
If you are looking for a definition of self-love, you will find one sentence on the net: “Self-love is the all-encompassing acceptance of yourself in the form of unrestricted love.”
Self love puts pressure on you
Loosely translated, this means: no matter how bad I behave towards other people, how much I might get in my own way sometimes and whether there are illnesses or disabilities that make life difficult for me – at best I should feel pretty great Find. And always and everywhere. You notice: Self-love is not a harmless concept.
The many people who self-confidently stage themselves with all their flaws and mistakes on social media often trigger one thing above all – immense pressure.
Because they make what for many of us is a very heavy matter look light as a feather: the relationship with ourselves.
Change as part of life
Short rhetorical question at this point: Do I really have to love that I’m mostly unpunctual, misplace my key at least once a day and have trouble opening myself up to other people?
Or is it perhaps enough that I accept these sides as a part of me – which makes me the person I happen to be? A person who likes to develop and change? Because that’s what we all do throughout our lives – we change.
Anyone who has ever been in love knows them, the notorious rose-colored glasses. When we start looking at ourselves through these glasses, we become incapacitated.
Because what we love dearly, what we think is great the way it is. As a result, the boundary between self-love and self-infatuation is vanishingly small, perhaps as thick as a sheet of paper.
(Not) a hymn of praise for self-love
And anyway: Tell someone with a chronic illness that the key to happiness is to love yourself with all its facets. Daring thesis: Hardly anyone is deeply in love with their illness. Just accepting the fact that there is something in your body that limits life is a huge mountain of work.
Admittedly, you won’t find a hymn of praise for self-love here. But a diplomatic counter-proposal: self-acceptance. Unlike self-love, this is about perceiving and accepting ourselves as a whole.
That means we know our positive and negative sides and find the overall package of us as a person okay. We may even love certain character traits or body parts, but we are okay with quarreling about other areas.
Self-acceptance versus self-love
This gives us one thing above all: air to breathe. When we accept ourselves without the need to always love ourselves, we have room to grow and the opportunity to evolve.
We give ourselves the “go” for mistakes and contradictions. We can be reasonable and naive, fast and slow, entertaining and boring.
Don’t get me wrong: Of course it’s super awesome when you really love yourself. But only if it’s like that from the bottom of your heart and you’re not trying to chase after a new social ideal of happiness, even though you actually feel very different.
Accept who you are
With self-acceptance things look a little different – there is actually almost no alternative if you want to be healthy and happy in the long term. It is about having a positive basic feeling towards yourself. Only when we have internalized this do we set limits, dare to say “no” and treat our own time with respect.
Self-acceptance can also act as a shield. If we are at peace with ourselves, know and accept our weaknesses and strengths, then attacks from outside can harm us less.
Science now agrees that we can control our self-worth through thoughts and feelings about ourselves – and it does not depend on the opinions of others.
Does it really have to be self-love?
Yes, self-acceptance can really be established. Learning might sound a bit too easy in this context. Because it is a long process to really accept yourself in all colors and shapes.
And the same applies here: It’s okay if it doesn’t work right away. Compared to the highly praised self-love, however, acceptance gives us the freedom to feel stupid at times.
The fact is: We all master life as best we can and of course we deserve love for it. But whether it really has to be our own is questionable. Because with all the striving for self-love and the search for a good connection to ourselves, we should not forget one thing:
The world also consists of many other lovely people. And maybe we should start investing more energy in our interpersonal relationships and come to terms with the fact that we “just” find ourselves quite good.
It’s okay, I promise!
And in case nobody has told you that so clearly:
It’s okay not to confidently throw yourself in front of the next camera with rolls of fat on your belly, only to show other people how much you care about the excess skin hanging over your too-tight pants.
It’s okay to fight with yourself, curse your reflection some days, and sometimes even wish you were a little more like XY.
It’s okay not to celebrate every inch of your body, not to write love songs for your personality, and not to think you’re absolutely gorgeous. You can still have a good life.