The Psychology of Self-Love

To accept ourselves and others often requires hard work and continual reminders.

Jamey Simon, Staff Writer

In what words would you describe yourself? Are these words nice or are they harsh? If they are nice ones, did you believe yourself when you said them? The psychology of self-love and self-esteem have always gone hand in hand. Some people feel as though they have figured it out, while others try desperately to accept themselves. 

A main confidence issue for some people is beauty. Beauty standards have existed since the origins of humanity and have changed drastically since then. Having one beauty standard is a toxic part of our culture and affects the brain more than you think. 

In Ancient Egypt, the ideal woman fit the following categories. She must be slender and have narrow shoulders and a symmetrical face. Ancient Greece was on the opposite side of the spectrum. If you were plump, full-bodied and light-skinned in Ancient Greece, you were considered beautiful. The Italian Renaissance wanted women with a rounded stomach and full hips.

But women aren’t made to look just one way, and the same goes for men. All around the world people have beauty standards that might be completely different from the ones where you come from. 

Body positivity is a branch of positive psychology. Positive psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. Loving yourself and others has an impact on your community.

But how do we accept ourselves? Some people confuse self-esteem with being conceited or narcissistic, but this is a wrong interpretation. Appreciating yourself while still seeing flaws is the pathway to a happy life.

In the past few months, body positivity has been a big subject. Throughout social media platforms users are trying to spread awareness of body acceptance. The main message? Every body is perfect the way it is and not one type is superior. However, working on this mindset proves hard for most people. Finding the path to acceptance can include repeating self-love exercises and also learning to accept others first.

Magazines have tried taking a stand against body shaming and/or promoting false images. Seventeen Magazine said they would stop airbrushing their models to more truthfully show women. Miss Teen USA also stopped doing their swimsuit competition to stop the war on different sized bodies.

Self-love also branches into accepting failure. Many people don’t always know they have a problem with perfectionism. Perfectionism itself is a strong word because it means to achieve absolute perfection, which has never been possible. Striving towards goals is a good thing to do, but not letting yourself fail is self-poison. 

While preparing for something you have worked towards, remember to remind yourself of the good side of failure and the valuable lessons it can teach you. Acknowledging that also beating yourself down is not healthy for you can be just the thing to start on the right path. 

All over the place are steps for you to become more comfortable with yourself. Many start with forgiveness towards oneself. Another important one on the list would be setting healthy boundaries for yourself. These can include how much you practice something, how much you eat of a particular food, or filtering what you say to yourself. 

Some people look up to others to help them love themselves. Many famous people have been good influences on their fans and even on people that don’t like them. Tennis star Serena Williams once said, “I love my body and would never change anything about it. I’m not asking you to like my body, I’m just asking you to let me be me.” As a professional athlete, Williams has a toned and muscular body. Over her career, she has faced criticism from multiple people saying she doesn’t look feminine enough. Serena sums up her thoughts and says that she loves herself and how she was made to look completely. Taking inspiration from Serena may help you feel a sense of acceptance and completeness. 

Other celebrities have spoken out on body image. Emma Stone says on the matter, “I remind myself to be kind to myself and as slightly ridiculous as it sounds, to treat myself in the same gentle way i’d treat a daughter of mine. It helps.”

A good technique to loving yourself is to treat yourself how you treat your family members and friends. Everyone sees more problems with themselves than are actually there. Your family and friends would want you to love yourself as much as they love you.

Over time, the issues of self-confidence, body issues and mental health have risen up on people’s list of priorities. To some it is a mystery. How do they love themselves? The answer lies in multitudes. Remember to love yourself as you love others.