Do you know the difference between self-care and self-love? There are many who think they are one and the same.
During my road of finding myself again, I listened to a podcast that said we can give ourselves all the self-care that we want, but that isn’t self-love. I was so taken aback that I rewound the video and played it again. I was shocked that I, like many, considered them one and the same. I’ve been doing almost two years worth of self-care (okay, not as much every month as I should, but I do fill up my tank, so to speak.) Yet, as I listened to this recording, I was reminded that self-love is important—if not the most important thing we can do.
What the presenter had us to was stand in front of a mirror, look ourselves in the eye, and tell ourselves that we’re sorry for saying negative things about our bodies/hair/etc. Then we had to forgive ourselves for such talk. The final thing was that we continued looking in the mirror and told ourselves the things we were grateful for about ourselves and our body. It was an emotional, moving experience.
Like most women, I’ve always wished to be taller, thinner, have slimmer thighs, have better skin, be prettier, and the list goes on and on. For years and years and years. That kind of negative talk takes a toll on someone if we were telling them that every day—multiple times a day. That’s what we’ve been doing to ourselves. My self-care this month was showing myself love. For all of my “flaws” I think I have. I’ve been practicing this every day. Each time I think, “Ugh. I wish I was taller,” or “My hair drives me crazy,” or “I look horrible in these clothes,” I stop myself. I then spend the next few minutes going over everything that I love about myself. It’s made a difference. The sad part is that so many of us are conditioned to think we have to look like everyone on the computer, magazines, or movie posters that we forget most they’re altered digitally.
I love celebrities who are showing their original pictures and the altered ones to show the public what’s going on. They don’t get to make the choice of if their pictures get digitally altered. Others do, and it has made an impact on our lives. At least it has with mine. I’m changing my mindset about how I look and feel about myself. Everyone has amazing qualities. We tend to forget those when we think we have to look like someone else. Why should we want to? We’re unique individuals. There’s no one out there like us. We should be shouting that shit every day. Embrace your uniqueness. Love it wholly. Because no one will love you unconditionally like you do.
Friends will come and go. Significant others will come and go. Family will come and go. We remain for ourselves. We should be the ones who love ourselves deeper and truer than anyone else, because we’ll always be there for ourselves.
Self-care keeps us going for those who need us.
Self-love keeps us going for us.
On that note, here’s a song that’s perfect for the month!
“And I said to my body, softly, “I want to be your friend.” It took a long breath and replied, “I have been waiting my whole life for this.”
~ Nayyirah Waheed