An Argument for Self Love (Day 2)

This piece is by Sally McGraw, you can follow her at Already Pretty.

So many women default to self-loathing. Or, at the very least, self-neutrality. Pride is a sin, after all, and it’s more socially acceptable to trash-talk your own body than it is to praise it. Our society has conflated humility with self-deprecation, which makes open acknowledgment of your own beauty, power, and worth absolutely taboo.

But there are so many reasons to cultivate self-love, so many reasons to let go of loathing. I talk a lot about how to love yourself here, but today let’s talk about why.

Hating yourself and loathing your body sucks up energy. LOTS of energy. If you can diminish or eradicate those circular thought patterns, you’ll liberate that energy for other tasks, goals, and ruminations. I promise you’ll be amazed at how invigorated you feel once you’ve cast off that incessant fretting.

Happiness is important, but serenity is vital. And it can feel impossible to achieve when you’re busily judging yourself. Because even when the more immediate worries clear out, self-loathing is still there, whirring busily in the background and keeping you agitated. Make it stop, and serenity is within reach. Learn to love yourself, and happiness follows close behind.

Acceptance of your own beauty opens you up to a more diverse beauty ideal. Once you acknowledge that yes, indeed, you are a gorgeous, luminous creature, other equally gorgeous and luminous creatures appear all around you. Seeing beauty in others begins with recognizing it within yourself.

Self-loathing often goes hand-in-hand with self-deprecation, which puts other people at a distance. It’s not your job to make everyone in the world comfortable with you, of course. But the more comfortable you are with yourself, the easier you are to talk to, relate to, love.

When you’re trapped by your own self-hatred, it can make simple tasks seem impossible. It can fool you into believing that you’re not capable or strong, or that you couldn’t possibly put forth the effort required to meet your goals. Yes, hating your body affects your confidence in other areas of life and diminishes your overall self-worth. Letting go of that negativity allows you to reclaim the power to act and achieve. When you love yourself, you value yourself, and you act accordingly.

People love you. They do, and they always will. But in the end, you must be your own champion. The only person who can truly teach the world about your marvelous, sensual, graceful, unique, lovely, and undeniably beautiful self is YOU. When you believe you’re beautiful, the world believes right along with you.

Loving yourself is hard. It’s work. It’s never-ending and there are a thousand forces working against your success. But believe me when I say it is worth the effort. You are worth the effort. Put that effort forth and you will be dazzled by the world of opportunity that unfolds before you.

Sally McGraw is a Minneapolis-based blogger, freelance writer, and communications professional who holds a degree in creative writing from Binghamton University. In addition to writing her daily style and body image blog Already Pretty, she has blogged for Glamour and been published in US Airways’ in-flight magazine.

About isabelrasmussen

Three generations of women in my family raised me until first grade, amongst them I was taught how wonderful it was to be a girl. In my tween years I was confronted with many of the social challenges other girls face and my self confidence dwindled. I think it was going from being so proud of being a girl to struggling so much as a girl and reading of all the struggles that women faced that motivated me throughout my life. I received her undergraduate degree in Women’s Studies at UW and then worked in domestic violence and as a community organizer in San Francisco. At 26 I took the opportunity to live in Guatemala for a year and West Africa for a summer. I returned to the US and in 2008 obtained a Green MBA at Dominican University in San Rafael.
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