I Don’t Love “Self-Love”

Okay, clickbait aside, I am not a huge fan of the phrase “self-love”. To me, the words “self-love” conjure up this image of self-absorption and narcissism, and that just feels really gross. I know in terms of mental health that’s not at all what we’re talking about, but I just can’t get past that little hangup. However, I do love the sentiment behind this idea, which I prefer to call “self-acceptance”.

Another reason I prefer the phrase “self-acceptance” is that nobody is going to feel good about themselves 100% of the time. Even the happiest, most secure person on Earth is going to feel bad about themselves sometimes. The people who are the happiest and most secure, and also aren’t full of themselves, are the people who can accept themselves for who they are. Their best features, their fatal flaws, they’re all part of who they are and they accept them.

Accepting who you are isn’t an excuse to not improve yourself. Self-acceptance isn’t just seeing your flaws and saying “well that’s just the way I am”, and it’s not letting yourself off the hook for those flaws. It’s about recognizing that while you have flaws you’re not any less of a person, and accepting that you can and will grow beyond who you are right now.

As someone who enjoys creative pursuits, specifically digital art, I like to think of “self-acceptance” from an artistic point of view. It’s very common for artists to hate their own work. We see the work from the artists we look up to and compare it to what we’ve done, and we see all the imperfections and mistakes we made in our work. We’re taken aback when somebody says they love our work, because how could they? The only way we can get better at our craft is to accept our art for what it is, flaws and all, and accept that even though the art has room to grow it still has value.

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