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My Dad recently got his teeth whitened. I called him vain — he said he loved himself. Then he gave me a big, pearly white and almost blinding smile. I laughed, but it made me take a step back and question my judgement: it changed my perspective and here’s how it can change yours and in turn all those you influence.
Last week I interviewed a young woman, Bella Glanville, who personifies this notion of self-love. In fact at the mere age of 18 and as a model herself, Bella is giving a TED talk on the subject, it’s the topic of her book and the core value she lives by. Self-Love.
The line between self-love and arrogance has been blurred by the media and the false-modesty and vanity of those we see idolised everyday. Yet, in truth, the cliché of self-love is more relevant than ever and it only really hit me that day when I sat across the table from Bella and really thought about it.
This seemingly insignificant notion – self-love – is one of the most important truths that we have allowed to slip under the bridge. Imagine what the creator of self-love would think if this beautiful and unbelievably important sentiment had become a cliché and lost its power.
It is an odd concept. Love is what we give to other people, apparently.
Do you love yourself? Do you treat yourself every single day as well as you treat those who you love?
Bella used to answer no to all the above. She struggled with bullying: mocked, degraded, defined and categorised by others. Today, she admits that she truly believed what people used to say about her, she never thought to question it. It was the greatest torment she has ever faced, but she found a way out, the only way out: self-love.
“You only ever have two choices: love or fear.”
Practicing what you preach
She has come up with her own concept that she uses every morning in front of the mirror. She calls it “ehat”. Take the “e” off “hate” and stick it on the front. She went on to explain that hatred is just a way of forcing metaphorical hats — the way you view yourself — on other people. She showed me that we in fact choose the “hats” that we put on everyday, hence the “e”. We choose how we define ourselves. We choose who shows up everyday at work, school and home. Every morning Bella stands in front of that mirror and puts on the hats she wants to wear that day.
Loving. Confident. Blessed. Fulfilled. Motivated. Truthful. Honest. Compassionate. Proud. Inspired. Loved. Powerful. Congruent.
They can all be yours, now.
It is a powerful technique, try it. What hats have others given you that you no longer are going to tolerate? Who do you want to be every morning? Why do you want to be that person?
Science has shown that consistent visualisation of a goal, or image of yourself that you desire, will transform the overgrown and underused paths in your brain into roaring highways. When you practice self-love everyday it will no longer require conscious effort, but will become a default position that you operate from all the time.
If you are serious about giving to others, about creating lasting change in this world and improving yourself, we can no longer put off self-love, because of our “selflessness”. In fact, it is selfish not to love yourself.
Bella is bringing self-love back into fashion. She is restarting the movement that has lost its momentum. She has it down to a fine art and has made me realise that the cliché of self-love does not have to remain so.
If you practice what you preach, the ripples of your actions will travel around you for all the time to come. Do it and watch what you create. A movement, a campaign, a new perspective.
The self-love revolution, that has a ring to it…
“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” -Roald Dahl
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Originally published at medium.com