I was doing some research this morning for a new project and I pulled up my go-to word choice tool, thesaurus.com and entered the term “self-love” in the search bar. I was actually taken aback when I saw the top synonyms…
WOW! “Conceit”… “Narcissism” … “Vainglory” (had to look that one up)… “Vanity” – OUCH!
I certainly recognize that there are people out there who have true personality disorders that take the concept of “loving themselves” to the extreme, but my goodness, is it really so bad to seek a place where you can honestly say “I love ME!”?
Why is it that it seems so normal and no one seems to notice when you loathe yourself on a daily basis, but when you start changing and challenging those beliefs, certain people want to call you a narcissist or conceited or “up on your high horse” (as my Gramma used to say)?
Back in 2010 when I decided to change my life, there was some backlash. There were people in my life who did not like the changes they were seeing in me. There were those who actually felt MY efforts to change ME were a direct offense to THEM. It both saddened and infuriated me at the same time, but I was sick and tired of hating and abusing myself in myriad ways, so I was willing to do the hard work that change at that level demands. I never purposely cut anyone out of my life, but there were definitely those who wanted no part of my new life, and so they fell away, and that still makes me sad sometimes.
Am I perfect? HA! Soooooo far from it! But I am BETTER! Better than I was in 2010 in a million different ways. And one of those ways is that I have chosen to love myself and to accept myself in all my imperfection and to keep fighting the good fight – to become even better each and every day. Some days I succeed and other days I crash and burn hard, but I’m always striving for better.
So, when I saw the terms above listed in response to my query for a synonym for “self-love,” it was jarring. Has our society and our culture become so jaded that self-loathing is the norm and anyone who dares to drag themselves out of the pit of despair is seen as an anomaly… a weirdo… an outlier? Is that where we are now? What about our poor kids? Do they even stand a chance if we are into the 2nd generation of self-haters? Who can they look to as a model of a healthy relationship with “self?”
What does all this mean for our future? I don’t have the answers, but I think the questions are worth pondering.