We’ve all heard of the self-love movement, it’s become nothing short of a global phenomenon, particularly amongst teenagers and young adults. With the hash tag self-love amassing over 9 million posts on Instagram alone, it is clear that this trend is not slowing down anytime soon. But what exactly is self-love? In my opinion, self-love consists of taking the time out of your busy schedule to care for yourself both mentally and physically. This could consist of more intense activities such as reflecting on positive things in your life or simply having a bath when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Essentially it’s making sure your mental health is in top shape and that you become more confident about who you are. As a young person it feels as if I am being forced to succumb to this, as life affirming quotes are plastered all over my social media feed and everyone I know seems to be reading self-help books (if I see another Instagram post with the cover of ‘You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life’ I might scream).
Don’t get me wrong I completely agree that people in my age group need to be less insecure. Thanks to the media perpetuating impossible beauty standards (I’m looking at you Kardashians) for both men and women to attain there is a need for us to embrace ourselves as many people fail to see how magnificent they are. I definitely understand the need for self-love, particularly in the current political climate. With police brutality and racism in general on the rise (yes people with white privilege racism is still a problem in 2017 despite what you may think), people of colour need to care for themselves now more than ever. Alongside the fact that the leader of the free world is taking away the rights of Transgender people, everyone does need to focus on uplifting one another.
However, I do find that the self-love movement has become inherently problematic for a few reasons. Although it is good to love oneself I do not feel this should come at the expense of others. More and more it feels that self-love is becoming synonymous with selfishness. With quotes like ‘you are your own best friend’ being promoted consistently within this trend, is self-love causing people to focus too much on themselves? I feel that it’s almost creating a disconnect between people and their communities as the mantra of ‘you are a priority’ being shoved down so many people’s throats. Is this leading to everyone concentrating too much on themselves and not engaging with the rest of the world and the issues that are occurring within it?