Humans build thousands of relationships throughout their lives. Some are insignificant and only matter during a particular period of our lives, and there are ones that can change us forever. Some are meaningless and other worth constant strengthening. But there is one relationship all of us should prioritize. The relationship with the person that you will spend the rest of your life with. The relationship you have with yourself.
We live in an era when it’s truly hard for people to be able to say ”I love myself”. And just think for a second how ironic that is. We live in a time when people focus mostly on themselves – their own comfort and wellbeing – when the standard of living and average income increases, and when death rates fall, and yet despite all of that we are still not pleased with ourselves. We are still not enough.
Some say it is because of the ubiquity of social media and constant comparison. Others say it’s because of unrealistically high expectations and ambitions created by our ”hustle culture”. But in this article, I’m not going to speculate why it is the case. I want to find ways to change that.
What is important to you?
Answering this question can be hard but it is crucial to set the right priorities. The question can’t be ”What makes you feel good?” because the answer can be pleasant in the short term and actually damage the relationship with yourself in the long run. This can be the case with alcohol, binge eating or even depending our happiness on the praise of others.
The answers to this question are going to be the guidelines in choosing the right people in your life, the way you spend your time, and the way you perceive yourself. For example, if you realize that being fit is not your greatest priority you will stop punishing yourself for not looking like a Gymshark athlete.
Make time for yourself
Now that you decided what is that matters to you, it is important to make it a priority. Find the time for it. And if you feel like you can’t find any more time then you have to choose and let go of something else.
It doesn’t matter if what you prioritize is a newfound hobby or a vacation. Even if what you need is to take a bath and read a book – prioritize that and don’t hesitate to reschedule other events. It is what you need and you can’t function properly otherwise. There is no shame in that.
Fall in love with what you can’t change
In my previous post, I wrote about the most important rule of stoicism: accepting that some things lie within our control and some things don’t. It is necessary to apply this rule to our insecurities as well. Think about what you don’t like about yourself and ask one simple question: ”Can I change that?”.
If the answer is ”no” then the only way to deal with such insecurity is to fall in love with it.
It’s easy to say and a little harder to do, but think about it as something that makes you one of a kind, that makes you who you are. If there’s really nothing you can do about it then you have to accept that it is what makes you ”you” and cherish it for that.
You are enough
I fall prey to the hustle culture more than I’d like to admit. If I don’t think I was productive enough during the day, I can feel really shitty about myself. As we have constant access to other people’s seemingly perfect lives through social media, unconsciously we are always comparing ourselves to others and create unreasonably high expectations.
This creates a sick notion that your self-worth is dependent on your looks, productivity, performance, or other values you can provide to others. That isn’t, never was, and never will be the case.
You don’t need anyone’s permission to be loved. You don’t need anyone to be loved. As cheesy as it sounds – the love always comes from within. The key to truly loving yourself is to realize ”I’m great, I am enough just as I am”.