Your Mind Is Your Home: How To Truly Love Yourself

What is self-love, truly?

In the last decade, the term ‘self-love’ has gained popularity and normalcy—but what does loving yourself really mean?

As someone who has been on both sides of the spectrum—struggling with an eating disorder and absolutely hating myself, to actively cultivating a healthy relationship with myself—I feel what I have to say about self-love is of value.

Self-love is not just chocolate and bubble baths—although I do love both of these things! Corporations pedal us products marketed with buzzwords such as ‘self-love’, ‘self-care’ and ‘treat yourself’. But, when we buy these things, are we really practising self-love? Are we really taking care of ourselves? Or are we just helping some white man take home a seven-figure salary?

It is totally okay to enjoy these luxuries—please do! As a hygge practitioner, I have plenty of these simple luxuries: fluffy blankets, scented candles, aromatic teas and delicious baked goods, to name a few.

But, ultimately, I know acquiring material possessions will not yield true happiness. Nor will collecting worldly treasures improve my relationship with myself. And learning to love yourself is, essentially, learning how to relate with yourself.

And learning how to relate with yourself is the most important thing, the most foundational thing. Research shows that the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships. Well, what about your relationship with that person you are destined to be with, always, until your dying breath? You.

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Allegedly Autistic: Why I Suspect I Am On The Spectrum

I have always felt something about me is different, though for much of my life, I could not effectively put this into words…

In my teenage years, I dubbed myself both a ‘nerd’ and a ‘geek’, someone overflowing with passion and enthusiasm for the things she loves. During this time, I was also falsely diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

In my early twenties, I was enlightened to the fact that what I was actually struggling with was borderline personality disorder, not bipolar. Having the correct diagnosis was helpful: I was able to get the treatment I needed, and I completely turned my life around.

During this time, I came across the work of psychologist Elaine N. Aron, her research on people who are highly sensitive. I felt validated in a way I never had before—validated in my experience of the world overwhelming me—and I started identifying as a ‘highly sensitive person’.

Today, I still identify as a highly sensitive person. I have always experienced things deeply, be it joy or sadness. But while this term validates the depth at which I feel everything, it fails to explain why I find social situations so confusing. It fails to explain how I struggle to understand the body language of another person, how I struggle to understand the nuance of their communication.

For almost three decades, I trudged on, intuitively knowing there was something going on—something more than just my BPD and my sensitivity—but not knowing what it was. A piece of the puzzle was still missing.

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‘The Good Life’ Is NOT The Four-Hour Work Week

If you ask someone under the age of thirty what their dreams are, how likely is it they will answer, ‘To invest 10,000 hours into the Mastery of my craft’? Not very. You are more likely to hear about some passive income business they wish to run via their phone, from a tropical beach. How likely is said young person to even have a craft, to even have something they are Mastering? Again, not very.

We live in a culture that values money, fame and instant results. Social media pours gasoline on this fire; creating false expectations for what our lives should be like, for what the day-to-day should feel like; only setting us up for disappointment.

Mental illness seems to be more prevalent than ever before, particularly amongst young people. There are a few theories attempting to answer why this is, but the one relevant to this essay is how our expectations do not align with reality, with the way the world actually works.

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