In a world dominated by social media and infected with comparison and envy, the self-love movement appears upright and refreshing. Blindly loving yourself, though, can lead to stagnation, selfishness, and narcissism.
True personal growth can only occur with honest self-reflection and the resolution to do and be better. Loving yourself actually looks far different than this modern movement.
It Promotes Mediocrity
You should always love who you were made to be and ceaselessly pursue becoming the fullest, truest version of yourself. The self-love movement, however, seems to be missing a key component of proper love. Proper love asks much and expects much; it does not settle for mediocrity. Loving your flaws and vices isn't good and true. Rather, it's an apathetic acceptance of parts of yourself that could be improved upon.
Proper love asks much and expects much; it does not settle for mediocrity.
Of course, I’m not talking about the freckles that you try to cover up with makeup or the gap in your front teeth. Those aren't flaws, but lovely and unique characteristics that you should absolutely own. The flaws and vices that you shouldn't embrace are the personality traits that lead you away from goodness and virtue.
It doesn't serve you well to “love” the way in which you relentlessly hold grudges, feel superior to others, or shirk responsibilities. Such traits don’t make you the best version of yourself, but rather dim your greatness. A beautiful inner self is what makes you radiant! Why settle for less than your brightest self?
It Fosters Selfishness
The self-love movement also fosters selfishness in that it encourages individuals to place their own happiness before that of others. What truly brings joy, though, is loving others. Healthy relationships can't be built upon a “me first” attitude. It's true that, in order to form such relationships, you must also have a sense of your own dignity and worth - but that doesn't mean placing yourself on a pedestal.
Healthy relationships can't be built upon a “me first” attitude.
Friendships, familial relationships, and romantic relationships all require a giving of yourself. But loving others in this way nearly always reaps even greater love in your own life. So, instead of placing yourself first, focus on others and watch the joy blossom in your life.
It Encourages Entitlement
Another pitfall of this movement is the attitude I deserve it. Rather than expressing gratitude for what we've been given, we're told to “treat ourselves” and to do whatever makes us “feel good.” This is a very shortsighted idea, for all too often what makes us “feel good” in the moment won't make us feel good long-term. A good friend wouldn't encourage you to skip work and spend lavishly on a spa day because “you deserve it.” She would help you choose to do the right thing, even if it’s a little bit difficult or uncomfortable at the time.
To love the life that you've been given, it's important to feel grateful for all things big and small. Instead of searching for happiness in shallow ways, it's far better to find happiness in the good things that are already present in your life. Love yourself by acknowledging your blessings (for you’ll find that you have many), not chasing empty pleasures.
Love yourself by acknowledging your blessings, not chasing empty pleasures.
The self-love movement is, unfortunately, a false-love movement. It encourages love without boundaries and misplaced love. So, instead of loving every part of yourself, focus on loving the good and working to change the not-so-good. Focus on others, instead of yourself. Focus on blessings, rather than desires.
Resolutions are not limited to New Year’s Eve. Self-reflection throughout the year is one of the simplest and most effective ways to truly love yourself. By understanding what is holding you back from growth, you can strive to better yourself and become exactly who you are intended to be. And when you do that, you will absolutely be able to set the world on fire.