What does self-love look like for you?

I may have said this before, but I’m still kind of amused by it. My instagram account tends to be an interesting reflection of my life. When I was covering mountain biking, my feed was full of mountain bikers. When I finished those contracts, I culled through and unfollowed a lot of people. Today? My account seems to be full of therapists. I follow Esther Perel, @mswjake, the Bibliotherapist, Peak Resilience… if I’m going to consume bite-sized content, it might as well be a mental health aid, right?

And so, today, we present Esther Perel posing a wonderful question:

What does self-love look like for you?

It can be wonderful to be alone, to give our body a massage, to cook ourselves a delicious meal for one, but this isn’t self-love, it’s self-reliance and self-sufficiency. Self-love, on the other hand, is closer to my colleague Terry Real’s explanation of self-esteem, our ability to see ourselves as a flawed individual and still hold ourselves in high regard. Self-love is the ability to not fall into a puddle of contempt even when we mess up. It’s trying new things knowing that we could fail, without thinking of ourselves, therefore, as failures.

Self-love is less about the ability to withstand loneliness or establish independence and more about awareness and acceptance of our incompleteness. It’s about letting others love us even when we feel unlovable because their version of us is often kinder than our own.

For more on self-love, read Perel’s blog and have a go at some of the questions (or provocations) she poses… like :

  • Can I apologize for a mistake instead of hoping everyone will just move on?
  • Can I acknowledge a time when I could have been a better leader in my own life?
  • Can I release myself from the shame of having not responded sooner to someone so that I can finally reach out?
  • Can I accept that I will be okay even if someone who hurt me—a parent, former partner, friend, or stranger—never acknowledges the pain they caused?
  • Can I let someone treat me for a coffee, dinner, or movie without feeling guilty?
  • Can I accept help from another without jumping to the conclusion that they want something from me?
  • Can I hold my point of view without being validated for it?

(If you answered yes to any or all of the above, can we spend some time together. I need you to rub off on me. :))

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