lessons for self-love
Pull silly faces at yourself in the mirror instead of frowning and inspecting your skin or wondering how many eyebrow hairs you should pluck this time around. If you do this on a daily basis, you’ll laugh each time you look in the mirror and will eventually come to associate seeing your reflection with feeling optimistic or joyful.
Don’t get one of those misguided anchor tattoos with the caption “I refuse to sink.” Because the thing is, anchors themselves sink, all the way down to the bottom of the sea floor, and sometimes you have to sink before you can learn to float. It’s funny, how rock bottom can be considered the absolute worst point of your life, yet rock bottom is the exact place on the ocean floor where divers touch down willingly. It’s the one place that forces them to rise back up to the surface, no matter how far down they’ve fallen.
Instead, think about getting a tattoo that says, “I’m in the ring and ready for a beating because I can take it. I’ll always get back up again no matter how many times I’m knocked out” with a boxing glove next to it.
Don’t go on one of those juice cleanse diets. Instead of stocking up on bottle after bottle of apple juice and apricot nectar or downing fifty slices of grapefruit every morning, go on a “negative thoughts” cleanse. It’s bullshit to put yourself down for mistakes or annoying habits or even for the fact that your thighs have cellulite. It’s bullshit to constantly berate yourself and if you treated your house like you treat yourself, it would have been razed to the ground long ago because of the fact that it was deemed worthless to be seen by other human beings.
Go ride a crowded subway for at least an hour and observe the other passengers. Some will be sitting with their hands in their laps, lips pursed and looking down. Others will be bobbing their heads to the beat of the music blaring from their iPods, and still others will be gazing longingly out the window like Charlotte from Lost in Translation, truly lost in the reflections and lights from the window glass. As you look at all these other human beings, try to imagine what they’re thinking about-going home to their wives or husbands, what to make for dinner, which brand of milk on their grocery list to buy, what to name their newborn child. They’re all thinking different things, thousands and thousands of thoughts spread out in a blinking map like city lights, but you and them all have one thing in common-
You all hate yourself. Maybe not equally, but you still hate yourselves, just in different amounts: some in teaspoonfulls, some in tablespoonfulls, and still others in pints and gallons.
But none of these strangers hate you. And that, at least, can be a comforting thought. You may hate yourself, but not a single other passenger thinks you have any reason to.
Imagine a parallel universe in which every time you picked apart a flaw, the earth grew a pothole or a pockmark. In about two week’s time, the whole planet could be covered in scars. A different kind of environmental damage. In this universe, you hate yourself so much you could cause the apocalypse.
Now imagine another parallel universe in which every time you ignored a flaw or treated it as acceptable, necessary, or beautiful, a new type of flower grew. Let’s not sugarcoat this: that’s a whole lotta flaws. Those flaws could fill a bucket and still keep overflowing. But in this parallel universe, there would be so many flowers that the entire planet would be a garden. Daffodils, chrysanthemums, bluebells, roses, black-eyed susans, morning glories, peonies-even the inner molten core would be full of flowers, although they’d all be dead, of course.
But the point is, if you could have a universe full of flowers or a universe full of scars, which one would you choose?