Writing by Andy Reyes // photograph by Laura May Grogan
Taking care of ones mind and body is essential for mental and physical well-being, but this is often misrepresented in society and especially on social media. Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to mean juice cleanses, strict meditations and expensive facials.
In recent months I have seen how often we romanticise this concept of ‘self-love’ or ‘self-care’ on social media. It got me thinking what is self-love really and so I asked my therapist friend, Metzli how we can love our body and how we can have a more realistic version of self-love.
“If I could summarize the term self-love, I would do it in three words: knowing, accepting and taking-care.” Mezli responds.
“I think that it is an endless process, it’s about being in constant self-discovery. Knowing ourselves means accepting that we continually transform ourselves. Taking care of ourselves is difficult, because it involves consciously choosing what is good for us, and for this we need to learn to listen to ourselves, understand our shadows, our light, and create new paths where we feel more identified with who we are.”
The practice of self-love is a question that always comes up for me in my therapy sessions and so I wanted to ask Metzli her thoughts on this too.
“I can’t think of anything other than acceptance. Working on the acceptance of our body and our being is essential to form true self-love. Stereotypes will always be present in every moment of life. We have so many unconscious ideas that many times we do not even honestly know why we want to transform our body or our appearance, so when we make choices for transformation or self-care with awareness, we will be doing it from love.”
Self-love is very different from what we see on social media. Many times I’ve felt overwhelmed with what I thought I should be doing to take care of myself after seeing influencers spout their self-care routines. It ended up just making me feel stressed and sad as I compared the goals of others with mine.
I want to build a personalised version of self love. But how do I do that? Once again, I put my question to Mezli.
“I think that self-love is a relationship that we create with ourselves, in which we decide to love ourselves with our every defect and virtue. It’s to be present in good days and bad days, just as we do with other important relationships in our lives. Sometimes you will overwhelm yourself for fear of failing. Accepting that failure is part of life will help you not to be so hard on yourself, and allow you to continue building that relationship, forgiving, being compassionate and patient with yourself.”
So don’t get bogged down with what you see on social media or what you think you should be doing in your self-care routine. Take time away from your screen, tune into your body, your needs and most importantly, have compassion and kindness towards yourself.