January 17, 2022

What we’re Getting Wrong about Self-Love (& why it’s F*cking up our Practice).


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“Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” ~ Japanese proverb


Making rice perfectly was never easy in my mid-20s.

I love rice, and I love cooking, but trust me when I tell you that I always found it hard to make rice. It ended up either too mushy or too undercooked.

Fast forward 10 years, and I still have a problem with rice. I dream of the day when I place one cup of rice in the pot, add water, cover the pot, and remove it “once” at the end.

But no. You’ll see me running to the water dispenser every five minutes to fill yet another cup of water. And in rare occasions, you might see me running with the pot to empty any excessive water.

My rice will never be perfect.

And surprisingly, it reminds me of my self-love practice.

I learned how to love myself approximately at the same time when I learned how to make rice. The only difference is that when it comes to rice, I’ve learned that it might never be perfect, and it’s okay. But when it comes to self-love, I’m still making the same mistake:

Expecting it to be perfect and giving myself a hard time when I mess up.

Just like rice, I want my self-love practice to be perfect. I only want to take care of myself when I’m good to myself. I pat myself on the back when I read a book, work out, or go for a walk. I love myself when I’m happy, smiling, and cracking jokes.

But when I screw up, when I’m in doubt, when I’m lost, when I’m not okay, I fail to love myself.

I constantly forget what it means to be human, full of emotions, full of thoughts. I even find it hard to remember that the very nature of my makeup is not static; it’s changing, evolving, moving, spiraling.

I forget that my self-love is not an end product.

Unfortunately, every once in a while, we all forget that.

When it comes to loving ourselves, we expect consistency, perfection, excellence. But it’s not possible. Self-love is a practice that can’t be measured by a score.

It doesn’t decrease when we fail, and it doesn’t skyrocket when we succeed.

Self-love is love—simply.

It’s there, sitting in the corner, waiting for you to notice it when you’re broken, helpless.

When we mess up, it’s there. When we self-loathe, it’s there. When it hurts, it’s there. When we beat ourselves up, it’s there.

What we do matters, but how we feel about what we do is what really matters. What are you telling yourself when you’re depressed? Anxious? Distressed? Worried? Overthinking?

How do you perceive your actions and reactions when you make a mistake?

Is your practice only focused around positivity? Is there a safe space for your messed up, chaotic, lost self?

We keep f*cking up our practice by expecting certain results.

Relax. Breathe. Give yourself a break. Shamelessly love yourself—as you are, now.

Move through your self-love with compassion, kindness, understanding. Stop trying to reset your practice. “I messed up today; I will try again tomorrow.” You messed up, yes, but your self-love practice hasn’t stopped.

You are already trying now.


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