Self-Love Formulas Are Bulls**T

Does anyone else cringe upon hearing statements like, “You need to love yourself before you can XYZ (land a job, a relationship, lasting inner peace)”?

I do, and I call bullshit.

Sure, liking yourself is important. Believing in yourself, trusting yourself to generally do right by your own best interests. Acting with integrity. Setting boundaries. Respecting yourself enough to know how you deserve to be treated (and striving to settle for nothing less).

But the conditional “if/then” formulas in the self-help-o-sphere drive me absolutely bonkers. The Personal Development Police would like to have you believe that you have to high-jump over the impossible-to-reach SELF-LOVE bar in order to truly manifest what you want.

I find this unrealistic and frustrating — bad advice, no matter how well-intentioned. At least for me. You might disagree with me, and that’s fine. If you are born with unfailing radiant self-love at max capacity 24/7, I am thrilled for you! Bottle it up and sell it, baby :)

But for the rest of us mere mortals, self-love is a spectrum, and there’s a good chance it varies every day. Particularly when you are riding the roller coaster of entrepreneurship or a new relationship or quitting your job or any other massive life change that will rock you six ways from Sunday.

Truce Zone

On more than one occasion I’ve been in conversation with a newly-enlightened soul (bless their heart) who says in a dripping tone, “You just need to LOOOOOOVE yourself, then {missing relationship/job/opportunity} will be available to you.”

Who really loves themselves all day every day, romancing their reflection with flowers and unicorns and affirmations in the mirror every morning?

Listen — I certainly don’t think you want to actively shoot yourself down (put-downs, berating, etc.) but can we agree to a more neutral truce-zone?

I do not believe self-love is black or white — you love yourself or you don’t.

Just do the best with what you’ve got, and admit when terrifying, thrilling, vulnerability-inducing situations bring out your shy, insecure, or worry sides. Hallelujah, you’re alive! And you’re most likely hot on the trail of something exciting.

Try this: I love myself enough

Here’s my take: do things. Do things at scare you, and watch your confidence build.

Instead of reaching for an unshakeable self-love bar you can never hit, sit with the idea that “I love myself enough. It might not be 100%, but I love myself enough to give this a shot. To be vulnerable, and to take one small brave step each day.”

The best way you can truly love yourself (blegh, the term still gives me hives!) is to give yourself permission to do or say whatever is authentically on your mind, and to start right from where you already are.

Action is what moves you forward. Action is what builds your confidence. Action is the best teacher.

As my favorite Joan Baez quote goes, “Action is the antidote to despair.”