Self-Love, in Living, Breathing Form

Self-love almost feels like a trend today. It has become a hashtag in all our captions, or a post on our Instagram stories.

Daily, we emphasize self-love and its importance. As a matter of fact, “self-love is the best love” has become one of the most used quotes. However, I can’t help but to wonder, if self-love is such a trend, why is comparison and a need to “keep up” at an all-time high?


If we’re being honest, I think that we love the idea of self-love, but not the pursuit of self-love itself. The truth: if more self-love existed, then the less we would feel the need to compare ourselves, and the less we would feel the need to impress others. Bottom line up front, the truth is that if more self-love existed, then our behaviors would show it. Today, I am taking the opportunity to reveal three hidden roads that ultimately lead to self-love.

The Hidden Roads to Self-Love

I was inspired to explore this topic after observing an interesting update on Instagram. After years of displaying the number of users who like a post, Instagram now offers the option to hide the number of likes. I saw this, considered it, and came to the ultimate conclusion: Instagram knows the dangerous impact that numbers have. Instagram knows how dependent we have become on external validation. I will be honest, even months ago, if 50 people rather than 200 people liked my photo, I deleted it! I thought to myself “This photo obviously isn’t good enough. Maybe I didn’t look as attractive in this one. Maybe I didn’t have the right angle or lighting.” Over and over, I tried to rationalize what was wrong with me in the picture. Ironically, I was making posts about self-love, but deleted a post if others didn’t love it. I contradicted myself! In psychology, this is referred to as cognitive dissonance. I will save that for another blog.


So, the big question is, how do we arrive to the place of truly loving ourselves. How can we truly manifest self-love? The answer: we embark on three untraveled roads. They are: the road of introspection, the road of challenging one’s thoughts, and the road of embracing your quirks- unapologetically. Think of this more as a conversation rather than a to-do list. Or, more as something to try rather than an imposition. In all, I hope that if it helped me reach a realistic path toward self-love, that it can help another amazing woman who deserves to live freely.


Introspection

As you scan this text, I encourage you to think deeply about the meaning behind “introspection”. If we broke this word into its parts, we would discover that the prefix “intro” means “within” and “spect” refers to examining someone’s mind. In other words, introspection requires exploring your inner thoughts. Our thoughts are some of our most private, sacred possessions. They belong to us, first and foremost. Because of that, they impact our lives in more ways than we realize. A simple thought can transform our mood. I’m asking you to ask yourself “What am I thinking about?” You will know if your thoughts are pleasant or unpleasant by considering your current mood. That is, are you feeling confident, competent, self-fulfilled, and enough? Or are you feeling discouraged, a bit more down, or even jealous when you see someone else’s post. I encourage you to introspect, as much as possible. Explore your thoughts.


Challenging Those Inner Thoughts

To this point, it is important to embark on the second untraveled road: challenging those inner thoughts. In other words, it’s important for us to change the narrative we are telling ourselves. Are we telling ourselves “I only look attractive in certain lightings”, “I need to take as many vacations as her”, “I need as many likes as her”, “My photos and videos are not worth posting if they don’t get a lot of likes”? Or, are we telling ourselves “My natural beauty deserves to be seen”, “I accept myself for how I truly look”, “I am in living life in my own lane, so if people take vacations, then that is their own business”, and “Others’ opinions do not validate my self-worth”? If we are not thinking the latter set of thoughts, then we truly need to re-think our idea of self-love. Again, we emphasize it so much, but our inner thoughts do not truly reflect it. When you are aware of your self-deprecating thoughts, it is so important to replace them with healthier, self-accepting thoughts.


Embracing Your Quirks

Here we are, at our last road: embracing your quirks- unapologetically. When I say “quirks”, I’m referring to personality and aesthetics. I cannot tell you how many times I deleted my funny posts because “sexy” posts were in at the time. Or how many times I held my head way up, to the side, or way down because I tried to hide the real shape of my nose. Honestly, it is hilarious how we lie to ourselves and others on social media. If the audience we try to impress over the Internet could see us in real life, would they even recognize us? The real question is, if we feel the need to modify, hide, or change something, do we truly love it? Simply put, if we feel the need to change ourselves, do we really love ourselves? Flaunt your funny posts. Hold your head straight into the camera so we can see what you really look like. Smile as you do it to show you are happy about what you see. Remain unapologetic, because there is nothing about you to apologize for.


Let’s take the concept of self-love to new heights. Let’s not just talk about it, post about it, brag about it. Let’s live it out! Let’s inspire others! My ultimate challenge for you, keep every photo posted no matter the like counts, congratulate those you see on vacation, and monitor your thoughts as you scroll your social media. What is your mood? In the end, I pray that your journey toward true self-love leads you to the quality of life that you deserve.


Marisa Miller


About Our Guest Contributor

Marisa Miller is a tenacious and zealous young woman from Indianapolis, Indiana. A

lover of diversity and culture, she has lived in multiple cities, including Los Angeles,

Philadelphia, and Kansas City. A graduate of Indiana University Bloomington, she is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Often smiling and laughing so vivaciously that others next door can hear her, Marisa strives to embrace each moment of her life, no matter how big or small. Marisa serves others by ensuring they have joy in their everyday lives. Embracing joy was the greatest way she overcame emotional bondages. She wants others to experience that same freedom. Currently, Marisa holds her Master’s in Education and is pursuing her Ph.D. in Psychology. Someday, she aspires to counsel families and young adults, specifically in adapting healthy thinking patterns. She also hosts a podcast entitled “inspHERational”, from which she airs weekly posts about unique observations, past, or current experiences that she has learned from, often in a humorous manner. Her ultimate goal is to liberate, change, and inspire.