The self-love movement didn’t really begin to have an impact on me till I was about 18.
Let me set the scene:
I had been at university for about a month and had come to the realisation that making friends was a skill I had all-but lost. Having had the same group of friends for most of high-school, I gained almost no practice until right before I moved into Lister for Uni, and it showed. A lot of my time was spent in my dorm room binge-watching Insecure (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1qYxOF7TUs) or YouTube Videos, and eating chicken wings and ice-cream from the cafeteria. I was already struggling to fit into clothes that were loose on me only months ago. In-between these series marathons, I would scroll though Instagram and be met with (bombarded by) pictures of people from high-school who all looked like they were having the complete opposite experience to mine. All in all, I wasn’t feeling too great about myself.
It was during one of these Instagram binge-breaks when I happened to scroll though a post my friend made about The Slumflower, (https://www.instagram.com/theslumflower/?hl=en) an activist and one of the pioneers of the body positivity movement (though I don’t agree with most of her current politics, I would be lying if I said she didn’t have a huge impact on my self-image and the beginnings of my journey to loving myself more). 20 minutes later, I had stalked her, followed her on Instagram and was delving deeper into the ideas she championed on her page. It was eye-opening. Women who looked like me and women who looked nothing like me at all were being celebrated just for being them. Parts of myself I had learned to hate suddenly didn’t look as terrible. And for a while that was all it was, a simple appreciation for the parts of myself that I had spent years hating.
Then it became excusing the less great parts of my character with “loving thoughts,” treating my body carelessly and eating uncontrolledly “because it was ok to be a little more chubby,” sleeping for far longer than I should have been because “rEsT iS kEy.” My habits were sabotaging my health and productivity and it showed.
Making the switch from self-sabotage back to self-love hasn’t been easy; there truly is a fine line between the two. Being aware of what self-love means to you, and learning ways you can practice it genuinely will go a long way in making sure you lie on the right side of that line. Some things that help are:
Paying attention to the way you treat and talk to yourself
Giving yourself room to make mistakes, and using them as learning points rather than reasons to beat yourself up over
Paying attention to the way you treat your body