Talking instead of trying
1. Chasing things we don’t want
Or — equally bad — chasing things that don’t want us.
I know it hurts when someone — or something — we had our heart set on doesn’t reciprocate. When the person we went on two dates with and were totally into suddenly stops responding to texts. When the company we had 4 interviews with responds with the vague “we’re working things out in HR” email for the third time in a row.
It hurts. It hurts everyone — and everyone has to deal with disappointment at some point.
The difference between self love and self hate, however, is whether you spend your time pursuing and letting yourself get hung up and continually clotheslined by it.
2. Checking out of our own lives
It’s one thing when others ghost us. It’s another when we ghost ourselves.
When we work jobs we don’t like, eat foods we don’t like, live in places we don’t like, lack an opinion on what to do with our days, and don’t have any plan for improving the conditions, defining our dreams by wishy washy statements like “find happiness.”
It’s even worse when we start checking out of responsibilities, letting things stack up against us like little reminders that we don’t have shit together.
I know you think you don’t care — and that it doesn’t matter when you pay the phone bill — but your self-worth keeps tabs on it. And when you’re on top of things and moving in a direction that makes you feel good, right down to doing your laundry, it matters to your self-esteem.
3. Talking instead of trying
Self love is built through action, not affirmations.
No amount of writing “you’re enough” on the bathroom mirror is going to convince us of this if we leave the house only to hold ourselves back in how we approach our day.
Heidi Priebe writes,
“Yes, we need to accept ourselves as capable and worthwhile people before we are able to get our best work done. But I think there’s a lot to be said for acknowledging that we do need to work (sometimes a considerable amount of work) on ourselves. Self-love should be the vehicle we use to move forward, not the final destination we arrive at. It’s not an excuse to stay caught in unhealthy patterns or to justify a state that we’re unhappy in. You cannot love yourself into completion. Sometimes you’re going to have to work yourself there.”
4. Jeopardizing our health
Drinking every day is not self love — ever. And I say this as someone who drinks pretty much every day.
Not working out — ever — is not self love. Not eating healthy is not self love. Even if you “love yourself the way you are.” Healthy habits aren’t just about extrinsic feedback — it’s about caring enough about yourself to take care of yourself.
Having a positive body image is self love. But so is investing in long-term health.
5. Making excuses
“Putting yourself first” doesn’t mean being selfish, and self-love is not an excuse for poor behavior or bad habits. Self love is not a way to escape accountability.
“Like anyone you love, you have to learn to respect yourself and that means becoming a person you’re proud of — one who holds themselves to commitments, shows up when they say they will and takes the needs of others into consideration. Self-love does not mean putting yourself ahead of others without good reason.”
Self love means taking care of yourself in the long run — and doing it in a way that is loving to those we love at the same time.
Loving ourselves looks the same as loving others — through actions. Over time. And with their true best interest in mind.