I used to think all real love was unconditional. I mean, isn’t that the point of love? That we give it wholly and without question? Isn’t that how a mother loves a child or a person loves a friend or anyone loves a beloved pet? And sure, there are exceptions. And sure, we can fall in and out of love. But when you think of being in that stereotypical kind of love, the kind that allows people to accept flaws or (heaven forbid) forgive abuse – that kind of love is, by definition, unconditional.
I was today years old, when I finally realized self-love is the most toxic and conditional form of love that I have come to know. And how screwed up is that? Not the fact that it took me this long to realize it, but the fact that, for whatever reason, when we talk about loving ourselves, 9/10 times, it is only skin deep.
When we talk about loving ourselves it isn’t a conversation of actually loving who we are, but how we look or how we feel about ourselves on that given day. A conversation of, will the world see me as beautiful today? Are my eyebrows on fleek? Do these high waisted jeans hide my gut, or show it? Am I as pretty as those girls? Am I showing too much skin? Will the guy/girl I like finally see me? Is my personality too much for my friends? And as if the idea of these kinds of questions weren’t disgusting enough – we then let them dictate how we feel about ourselves on that given day or that week or so on. And the bigger problem with all of it is that this lack of love in many of our lives is not a matter of normal insecurity – it goes deeper than that. It goes as deep as to say – I didn’t realize love was conditional until I realized that I’d rather hide from the world than be a part of it.
Now, to all the women who have never once thought this I solute you, but odds are, at one point or another all of us have felt this way. All have us have (at least once) preferred to stay in with a bottle of wine and a homecooked meal rather than put ourselves out there. And while self care could be a big part of that decision – ditching plans or secluding yourself from your friends shouldn’t be. Hiding yourself from the world, or behind positive social media posts shouldn’t be.
I think at some point or another we all just have a day that hits us a little harder than others. One where the “mirror mirror on the wall” can’t hype us up above them all. And I can’t speak for others but I know I have those days and they absolutely suck. They make me doubt who I am. And they make me doubt if I really love myself for who I am and all the amazing parts of me – or if I only love myself when I have a flat stomach and no stretch marks.
But here’s the news flash. NONE OF IT MATTERS. The way you look, the way you talk, the cute or weird way you laugh at EVERYTHING, none of that matters compared to who you are. WHO YOU ACTUALLY ARE. And don’t get me wrong I’m not saying the outside doesn’t serve a purpose at all – I mean candy bars have wrappers on them for a reason and it’s not just to make them look pretty (it’s a metaphor don’t think too deep into it.) it’s to protect what’s inside. So in a way, we also have wrappers because we need our outsides to protect our insides.
Look, at the end of the day it is so so easy to hate yourself for the little things. It’s easy to self deprecate and look down on yourself. What’s hard is coming to terms with who you are and realizing that that person is pretty incredible. And at the end of the day we’re all still learning to love ourselves unconditionally. But if we haven’t already, let’s be today years old when we start.