Self-love Fluctuations

patience quote

Like most of the best things in life, learning to love yourself takes time. Committing to self-acceptance and cultivating tenderness toward your own body are both fantastic initial steps. Acknowledging that the definition of beauty does encompass you can kick start the process. But don’t expect to rewire your brain overnight. Most self-loathing and negative body thoughts take time to eradicate, and patience is key.

And even after you’ve made tremendous strides, even after you feel that you’ve done the brunt of the work, even after you know that you’ve drastically improved your self-image, you will still struggle. Do not expect to love yourself completely and wholly every day of your life. It may sound like a worthy goal, but it’s actually a trap. Because if you hold yourself to that standard – the standard of consistent, unwavering, holistic self-love – you will fail. And when you catch yourself wishing your upper lip was less hairy or your thighs a bit slimmer, you may feel guilt or shame. Since the goal of striving for self-love is to abandon guilt and shame, this is counterproductive. You will have tough days, moments of frustration with your body and inner self. You will doubt.

And that is just fine. You are a human being and life is inconsistent and challenging. Just as you should strive and strive hard to love yourself, you should acknowledge and accept that you sometimes won’t. Some days are harder than others, and some days will defeat your best efforts. If you feel yourself devolving into consistent negativity or notice that certain people or circumstances are triggering these lapses, take action to correct your path and change your situation as best you can. But if you just experience the occasional flash of frustration or disgust, anger or resignation, don’t dwell on it and don’t beat yourself up over it.

Some days you look at your best friend and want to punch her in the mouth. Some days your boss is superfab, and some days you want her to leave you the eff alone. Some days your brother calls you and the very sound of his voice irritates you from top to tail. Our feelings about other people fluctuate frequently and naturally. It only makes sense that our feelings about ourselves would undergo similar fluctuations.

Part of learning to love yourself is learning to be patient and forgiving with yourself. And that includes being patient with your journey, and forgiving slip-ups. You’re human. Which is kind of the point.

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  • This is just what I needed to hear this morning. Thanks.
    I can’t remember where I read this in the blogosphere, but I am having a “wobbly moment”. Accepting my aging body is forces me to recognize my mortality. Oh well, I take comfort in knowing I have not been singled out for this whole mortality challenge. We are all in the same boat.

    😀

  • andrea o.

    marvelous, simply marvelous! this is just what i needed to read first thing this morning, thank you so very much 🙂

  • LOVE. I’m actually feeling fabulous at the moment, but it’s clearly the euphoria of Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. I’m bookmarking this post and will refer back to it when adversity strikes, i.e., I gain half a pound.

  • Dazee

    That was so soothing to read first thing this morning, Thanks Sal.

  • Thank you for a wonderful morning read. Acknowledge, accept, be patient . . . these are the “secrets” to being happy with ourselves.

  • Brillance. (As usual.)

  • Kylara7

    Great topic and oh-so-true! It alternately amazes and appalls me that I can look at myself so differently on any two given days…but it’s human and it’s bearable with a little support and humor 🙂 Thanks for both!

  • This is a great post Sally!
    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now and have never commented. But something about this post resonated with me 🙂
    I’m just beginning on the road to self-acceptance and it is so hard. Its so sad that it is so hard to love and accept myself, but I will get there and this post (and all your posts) adds encouragement.
    Thanks for writing this one 🙂

  • this was a really important message for me to hear. my feelings of self-love don’t even fluctuate on a day-to-day basis; it’s more like hour to hour. and for the life of me, i can’t help but base it upon how flat my stomach or how clear my skin is that day. it’s easy to say that i’ve committed to loving myself unconditionally when i feel skinny or am acne-free. when i’m not looking my best, though, the struggle seems impossible.

    • Roxy77

      Hi Taryn,

      I couldn’t help commenting on your post! I too struggled with acne for YEARS and it really affected my self esteem. I tried everything, including Accutane twice, but nothing ever took it away completely…until I tried Acne-free (it’s basically the same as Pro-Active, but you don’t have to sign up for automatic deliveries). I’ve been using it for about 4 months now and I have ZERO acne! Four months ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of leaving the house without foundation; now all I wear is a little bit of concealer under my eyes and a bit of powder. At the age of 34 I finally have clear skin and a healthy self esteem! You should give it a try!

  • Oh, thank goodness for this post. I’m usually quite comfortable with my shape but yesterday I hated my arms and was thinking I was crazy for fluctuating. This helps me remember that I’m doing okay.

  • Lucy

    I really needed to read this. It’s hard to remember and embrace that part of the journey includes some tough bumps. Thanks Sally.

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  • Erin

    You need to write a book. Seriously. This post was perfect & beautiful and if you wrote a book on loving your body I would buy it!
    I’m going through a fluctuation right now. This was SO helpful. Thank you, Sal.