Why real self-love takes balls

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I've already told you why self-care isn’t a wellness fad. But there’s a difference between self-love and self-care. And true self-love takes HUGE balls. 

With the phrase ‘self-love’ being co-opted by diet culture, magazines or wellness accounts it’s easy to bundle it together with green smoothies, gym-worthy abs, overpriced yoga classes and out of reach wellness retreats.

There’s a lot of articles out there that link self-love with self-improvement - and then this often creates guilt for not doing enough of it. Fuck, there’s probably a Weight Watchers poster on it somewhere with the words ‘self-love yourself into 2018.’ I call bullshit.

Be mindful of anyone talking about self-love while also selling you something which is telling you that you’re not good enough.

Self-love is often marketed in a way that’s cringey, touchy-feely and maybe even self-indulgent. But in reality - it takes a punk ass attitude. I’ll explain why. 

Too often we spend too long treating the symptoms of the (dis)stress in our lives, by which I mean, for example you’re feeling totally slammed at work (the symptom is stress) so you book a massage to get relaxed (temporary ‘cure’). In my opinion - that's self-care. Don't get me wrong, self-care is awesome. But a bath isn't going to sort out the root cause of your problem.

That's where self-love and self-care are different. Self-love It isn’t about any nice activity which you choose to do, or not do. 

If you want to really love yourself, you have to be courageous.

True self-love is about being brave enough to look at the ‘thing’ BENEATH the emotion. It’s taking a close look at what's really going on, and working out how to change it. Creating your own brand of wellness is something I talk a lot about with my clients because only you truly know what you need for health and happiness.

Here’s an example of what I mean. You may have a meditation practice which keeps your anxiety at bay, fab, that is 5/ 5 self-care. But is the meditation treating the root cause of your anxiety? Nope. If the root is that your job gives you daily panic attacks then bae, it’s time to look for a new job.

When you go on this journey it can involve making so big life decision, so be extra gentle with yourself. 

Here is a list of things which might not be traditionally self-love but most definitely are:

  • Letting someone down because you really don’t want to do a thing

  • Quitting your job*

  • Looking at your debt and making a budget

  • Breaking up

  • Making up

  • Seeing the doctor for that thing you’ve been avoiding

  • It’s giving up

  • It’s ploughing on even though people doubt you

  • It’s calling out bullshit

  • It’s making your own path

  • It’s sticking to the road well travelled

  • It’s listening to your gut

  • It’s burning the diet books/’health plan’/excessive gyming because it’s making you miserable

  • It’s wearing it anyway

  • It’s reaching out

  • It’s speaking out

  • It’s not ‘being brave’

  • It’s asking for a second opinion

  • It’s going to therapy

  • It’s holding on

  • It’s letting go

  • It's doing the things you want without regard for how it will be seen by others

  • It’s distancing yourself from toxic people

  • It’s admitting you have a problem

  • It’s saying I deserve better

(*Please don’t just quit your job without a plan, especially a financial one)

Let’s stop using self-care as a way to numb out the things that really need changing.

Only when we work out what we REALLY need through a true self-love practice - can we then SUPPLEMENT with self-care, which for me, are all the things you think about traditionally talked about (candles, spa breaks, crystals and soul food).

When we only treat the surface symptoms it’s like spraying a tree's leaves not realising that there’s rot in the trunk.

It can take time to make change. But you are brave enough to look at the root cause of your issues.

If you need help with body acceptance, food-related issues or mindset shifts then I’m here to help - just reach out.

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