Loving yourself doesn’t mean pretending you are perfect. Loving yourself doesn’t mean denying you have flaws. Loving yourself doesn’t mean refusing to work on yourself.
In fact, taking active steps to better yourself is part of loving yourself.
What most people don’t realize is there is a difference between accepting your perceived flaws and accepting your genuinely unhealthy traits.
You want to accept the things your brain tricks you into perceiving as a flaw — like your dry skin and your thin hair and the width of your waist. But you don’t want to learn to love and accept your truly toxic traits — like your anger issues and your stubbornness and your inability to return love.
You have to understand, loving yourself doesn’t mean resisting change. It doesn’t mean you become set in the way things are. It doesn’t mean you throw up your hands and say this is how I’ve always been and there’s nothing I can do to change it.
Loving yourself means really looking at yourself. It means acknowledging the areas you need to work. It means actively trying to become a better person instead of feeling guilty over being a bad person.
Stop being so hard on yourself because self-reflection is the first step towards change. You might feel intimidated by all of the pieces of yourself you need to work on — but you should actually be proud of yourself for being self-aware.
Recognizing you have faults and deciding you are going to try to change those faults is a beautiful thing. Most people don’t get that far. They get locked in their ways. They refuse to admit something is wrong. They refuse to admit change would benefit them.
Remember, you can love yourself while realizing there are parts of yourself in need of growth. You can love yourself while trying to better yourself. You can love yourself while knowing you are a work in progress.
The reason so many people have trouble learning to love themselves is because they have the wrong idea about what that means. They assume a switch needs to be flicked overnight — from hating every little thing about yourself to loving every little thing about yourself. But that’s not the way self-love works.
You’re always going to have something to complain about, but the way you feel about yourself is going to dictate your response to those complaints. When you hate yourself, you’re going to wallow in your misery every time you screw up. But when you love yourself, you will recognize your flaws and realize you have the power to fix your flaws.
At the end of the day, loving yourself means recognizing your agency and your worth.
When you truly love yourself, you will want what is best for yourself. You won’t want your toxic traits to get in the way of living a fulfilling life. You will decide to do whatever it takes to strengthen your physical and mental well-being. You will start considering yourself a priority. You will start doing what you should have done a long time ago.