The concept of self-love is, at the core, an incredibly empowering (and normal!) thing. However, as a society, we have definitely gotten into the habit of criticizing ourselves, and, unfortunately, often abandoning our self-love principles all together.
Most times, this is due to outside influences—and most prominently, the media (and especially social media). Social media not only cycles ‘perfect’ images to us in a constant stream, but it also promotes certain ideas about how we should look and feel about our bodies.
So, unfortunately, over time (and regardless of our age), we start to nitpick our appearances, and/or think about elements we wish to change. . . which brings us to this question: Does changing your appearance go against self-love principles? Can you love yourself, and in the same breath, want to change how you look?
Here are some thoughts:
Self-love Is About Learning To Love Yourself
First, it’s important to remember that self-love is a journey, and honestly, it’s not an easy journey to go on. Some people really struggle to love themselves because they’re plagued with things that make them super self-conscious.
Our perception of who we are, what we look like, and what needs to be ‘changed’ is largely our own. Despite our loved ones sharing our worth or attempting to remind us of our ‘good’ parts, it can be challenging to accept these things ourselves.
Self-love Doesn’t Mean Loving Every Single Thing
However, it’s important to note that just because you practice (or want to practice) self-love doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to (or that you will) love everything about yourself.
For example, if you hate your teeth and find yourself fixating on the shape or color, you may be considering places like TLN Family Dental where you can have your teeth straightened and whitened. Or, if you don’t like the shape of your nose, you may be thinking about getting a nose job. While these concerns are very present for you, a friend or family member may not even understand or notice what you do. This doesn’t mean you’re wrong, necessarily, but it does mean that your perception is a matter of perspective.
And while you may want to change some things about yourself, it’s important to recognize that you don’t have to. But, if there are things that bother you — don’t beat yourself up over this! There are always things to love about your appearance, but it’s hard to love every flaw.
And it’s okay to recognize this, rather than pressure yourself to love everything all the time.
Self-love Can Be Embracing AND Changing
So, does self-love include changing your appearance? Yes, and no.
Self-love is about embracing who you are (flaws and all). But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make modifications (of varying degrees) to feel happier or more confident in your own body.
A good way to think of it is to imagine the whole world was blind: If this was true, would you still be inclined to change certain aspects of your appearance? If not, this indicates that your desire to change yourself may be rooted in people-pleasing or outward influence. However, if certain things still bother you, there may be areas of your appearance or identity that may be impacting your mental health, too, so it’s best to investigate these feelings deeper.
Overall, changing your appearance doesn’t go against the self-love mantra — you can want to alter things about yourself if it helps you love yourself.
But don’t forget that you are worthy, just as you are.