Do You Love Yourself?

Why we should be living to our own standards and thereby set new standards.

Verena Wilmes
The Pink


Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

When looking at the covers of women’s magazines in the grocery store, it seems as if women would’ve only one big problem. One big thing to talk and think about: self-love. The covers are overdrawn with different variations of How to feel comfortable with your body. Or: Ten steps to self-love. And: How we learn to love ourselves.

These are only magazine covers, but they wouldn’t put it there if those topics wouldn’t sell. So why exactly do we have a problem with self-love and accepting ourselves? Why do we believe, we have to fulfill certain requirements to be satisfied with ourselves? Why do we need help with something that private and individual? And why is self-love not the dominating theme on covers of men’s magazines?

We learn early on that while some behaviors are perfectly fine for boys, they’re not acceptable for girls. For a lady. We grow up to a certain code of conduct, that expects us to be well-behaved at least and doesn’t grant us the same freedom as boys.

Don talk like that. That’s not a suitable career for a woman. What if you want to have a family? No boy is going to like you if you look and talk like that. Girls can’t do that.

We experience different forms of expectations but they’ve one thing in common. They draw a line, which we better not cross if we don’t want to be criticized. On top of that, as we grow older, we realize how critical the looks of women are judged. As a matter of fact, society judges women mainly by their looks, in each business field or position.

For most people, professional success, or accomplishments, as well as success in sports, are way behind the looks of women. Who cares what you’re capable of if your looks don’t please? We are judged by our looks. And worst of all, ideal images about women are floating around in every advertisement. How our skin and hair should be looking, how much weight we’re supposed to put on the scale. This implies what we should care about, first of all. The way we appear. Everything else comes second.

Someone who doesn’t questions that, can easily conclude, that there is in fact an ideal image. That there are expectations, we must fulfill to be loved and to have the right to love ourselves. This might lead to the belief we’re here to please others, to be liked by others.

Those expectations seem so wired into our brains, that we can’t be satisfied with ourselves when we don’t get validation from others. We’ve mislearned to love ourselves without permission.

So let this be a reminder, that we have to be perfect, neither in our own eyes nor in the eyes of others, to love ourselves. Neither physically nor mentally. In fact, there is no perfect. This is just our life and this is our way of living it. The opinions of others don’t determine our value or what we’re capable of doing. We can have the most loving partner at our side, but as long as we don’t love ourselves, we’ll always doubt that love.

Self-love, accepting ourselves, changes everything. There’s nothing more important than being as we are and doing us good because no one is going to do it for us. Especially not those, who want their expectations in us fulfilled. We should verify, first of all, if they fulfill the expectations, we have about them — before examining ourselves.