Writing by Andie Reyes // photograph by Chimi Dávila
As I write this, I have been feeling pretty bad about myself.
I don’t feel “pretty”, I just had my period and my stomach feels like a balloon about to burst.
There are days where I simply can’t stand myself. I’m jealous and envious of others and I have doubts about myself and my relationship with people in general.
My therapist told me that we have romanticised the idea of self-love so much that we have been trying too hard to love ourselves and consequently punishing ourselves when we don’t succeed.
I feel devalued as a person and as a woman, but when I jump on Instagram, I’m told that I should just take a hot bath with a vanilla-scented candle and that will fix all my problems.
I’m two years away from turning thirty and I always thought that by this age I would have a nice house in the country, a loving husband and maybe even a beautiful baby. That’s hasn’t happened, instead, I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown every day.
I’ve done everything that’s supposed to make you feel better mentally. I exercise for an hour every day. I read books. I listen to positive podcasts about mental health, and while I accept that these things make me feel good for a few hours or occasionally, a few days, I always come back to the same place: this feeling bad about myself and thankful that a panic attack only lasts 5 minutes and not 20.
After having a talk with my therapist, we came to a definition of self-care that works for me.
Self love from my perspective is trying to do the best you can with what you have.
It’s knowing that no matter how much it hurts, you have to put an end to what no longer adds value to your life.
It’s knowing that you’ve achieved a lot by just getting out of bed and going to work and on the days you don’t, knowing that you’re not a failure.
It’s knowing that loving yourself is also sometimes not liking yourself.
It’s knowing that no matter what happens you will always have you.
Self love is not a post on Instagram telling you to get a facial. Self love for me is wanting to be better for and with myself, to be responsible with myself and with others, but above all to respect myself, respect my limits, beliefs and honour my dreams.