The other day I came across a story on Instagram with a picture of a post-it note stuck to the wall.
The note read:
I think what self-love is: I would pick me. I would pick me to go on a date with. I would pick me to get hired for a job. I value and appreciate myself and would choose to be me. And if I ever had to option to choose to be someone else,
I would say no.
The quote was attributed to a popular you-tuber and sexologist by the name of Shannon Boodram (aka Shan Boody) — and there’s not a single sentence of it that didn't resonate somewhat profoundly with me.
Let’s face it; we have all spent entirely too many minutes of our life convincing ourself that we are less worthy, less pretty, less cool, and much less qualified than the people around us. When it comes to figuring out this tricky business of self-love, it’s far too common our first course of action to look to our right and left in search of validation that we’re doing it right to begin with. And WAKE UP CALL — it’s not usually there to be found.
Truth be told, there are over 7,800,000,000 people on this earth, all fighting for their place in the world — whether that’s in the limelight, in love, at the top of Forbes 30 Under 30 list, or on a team in the NFL (and so on and so forth). What exactly makes you think these 7 billion odd people would concern themselves with picking you?
That is, unless your version of practiced self-love includes a whole lot of picking you, first.
You see, as much as we like to believe that people need a long checklist of reasons why you’re the individual most particularly cut out for the job (whatever that may be), all that most people are after is a sign that they’re not making a huge mistake.
And you know what looks like a huge mistake? Picking someone that wouldn’t even pick themselves.
That doesn’t sound so unreasonable.
If you want someone to date you, you should probably make sure you’re somebody you would want to date, yourself. Are you interesting, and sexy, and dependable when it matters the most? Is it fun to spend time just hanging out alone with you? Do you make a habit of finding new things to love about the way you look and laugh and (just generally) live?
In a world filled with options to date, would you pick you?
And about that job promotion. Do you believe in the work you do, and the talent you have to offer? Are you genuine when you speak up about your proudest achievements? Can you rely on yourself to have your back when you make mistakes?
In a world filled with options to hire, would you pick you?
And what about — just plain and simple — the act of being you. Are you showing up for the opportunities in front of you? Are you sticking up for the boundaries you’ve set before you? Are you picking yourself out of the crowd as the kindest, funniest, brightest, best human to be?
In a world filled with options of people to exist as, would you still choose to be you?
If the answer is no to any of these questions then there’s work to be done. Because while I don’t believe in being selfish, I do believe that the only way to truly succeed in this life is to care first and foremost about your self — (ish).
I’m not using the words “to care” as in “to concern” here, but I’m using them to mean “to look after,” “to protect,” “to tend.”
You are all you’ve got, and you are all you will ever have. If you don’t pick you first, then you’re giving everyone else permission to do the same.
In a practical sense this means curating a life for yourself that makes you want to fall in love over and over and over again (with being you)! This means maintaining awareness of your value at all times — often in spite of others’ disregard. And hell — sometimes this means standing absolutely alone in a room of people who would pick you.
Alone, but for yourself, nonetheless.
Alexandra Walker-Jones — May 2021