Nowadays we’re all neck deep into practicing self-love, learning how to love ourselves and finding new self-love practices to add to our lives. I am all here for it. Hell, I have an entire section on the blog called love yourself. So no doubt that I am an advocate of people learning to love themselves. However I want you to learn to love yourself the correct way and that means that your toxic self-love practices need to end yesterday. Okay, I’ll cut you some slack since you’re just reading this today. You have to stop entertaining these toxic self-love practices today. Let’s find out which one of these you
are were engaging in.
7 Toxic Self-love Practices To Stop Today
- Soothing yourself via Toxic Positivity
Have you ever been guiding yourself through situations that are particularly hard for you by saying that you just have to get through this moment and then you’ll do something for yourself? You know giving yourself a positive pep talk?! Talking yourself up like that under certain conditions is a terrible self-love habit. It can’t even be called positivity anymore without an adjective which is toxic. It’s toxic positivity. Trying to keep it together for a while is fine, we’ve all been there, I have too believe me. The trouble starts when this becomes your new normal. Just going through the motions and ignoring how you are really feeling in order to get through just one more day, just one more task. I promise you that one day this toxic self-love practice will become too great a burden to carry and the sword of Damocles will fall on you, without fail.
A pep talk is a short term fix. It’s not something that should be used every day, multiple times a day. Yes I understand that life is complicated and there are a lot of if’s and but’s here, however a day where you need a few pep talks is fine. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, I cannot stress this enough. You do not have to have nerves of steel and non-existent emotions. Having weeks without a day with no pep talk it’s then that we have crossed the border to toxic self-love. Needing multiple pep talks each day and every day should be a neonlight sign that something is not going quite right that is being ignored.
- Treating yourself to lots of stuff
Treating yourself to something nice is the one I hear about the most in terms of practicing self-love and practicing self-care. As with this entire list this can be incredibly toxic even to the point of completely ruining your life and that is actually not all. It can also help you trigger or develop mental health problems or it can sustain one if you are already struggling with mental health. There are two reasons that made this join the list of toxic self-love practices: the first is when you are treating yourself without taking in regard what it is you really need and the second is treating yourself without looking at your budget in any way or form.
Treating yourself to the things you want but do not need will only make you happy for a short amount of time. I’ll hand to you that it can make you happy however we have to go beyond the surface in order to create long-lasting self-love. And below the surface what you bought might not be helping you at all. You can easily notice this when you want new stuff about as fast as you bought the last new item.
The second reason why this is a terrible self-love practise is because it can really dishevel your life. Purchasing without paying attention to your budget can ruin your entire life as you are actively chipping at the foundation of your life. Now don’t understand me wrong when I say the foundation of your life. In order to provide yourself with the most basic things such as shelter, food and basic clothing you need money, there’s no way around it. If you are spending it all trying to boost your self-love you might not have any left for those basic important things and then you have ruined your life.
- Not asking for help when you need it
This is the self-love activity I do the most which I can tell you from personal experience will come to bite you eventually. Part of loving yourself is accepting that you can’t always carry burdens on your own. Before I continue I just want to explain that this doesn’t mean you let other people handle your problems. No, it means sharing the fact that you have them. If the person you are sharing to can help, ask them if they are willing to do so. Mind you though this help can also be a simple conversation!
Keeping your problems in can lead to ruminating as fast as you can blink and ruminating hardly ever leads to good things. Take it from me, someone who has graduated summa cum laude from the University of Rumination.
- Emotional eating to fill yourself with love
I have made a quick mention of this in the post about self-love treats and now we are going to dive deeper. I want to start by saying that eating, craving food, having food preferences and/or food making you feel good is normal. As I said in the post just mentioned, feeling self-love by preparing or buying your favorite meal/snack is normal and encouraged within rhyme and reason of your health. There we stumble upon the part where self-love gets toxic to the point that it could lead to death.
Recommended: Easy Self-Love Treats To Treat Yourself With
Emotional eating without taking your health in account is not self-loving behavior. It is harmful in ways that go beyond my scope of expertise as I am not a medical professional. All I can tell you is what I know for sure, as my own doctor has said to me many times, you have to make sure that you are eating in ways that support your overall well-being. If you are mostly eating to support your emotional well-being, for example replacing self-love with food, the overall well-being is skewed and that is dangerous in ways only your attending medical professional can explain to you.
Bonus Toxic Self-love Practice: For the love of yourself always take medical advice from someone who is a medical professional. Do not try out anything that interferes directly with your health without consulting a medical professional first. Honestly, don’t do it! Take it from someone who has been to the hospital more times than the age she is, just over the past 3 years alone. (Just to be clear I did not get sick by taking medical advice from someone without consulting a medical professional, my body just did the thing all on its own. You can find out more about my health journey here.)
- Believing that self-love is how many people love & like you
There are quite a number of people who deep down are overly nice to others because their own self-love is made up of this love. I have to be honest and say that to my knowledge there are more women than men who suffer from this as from birth women are taught to be nice and you will be loved and accepted. Just to be clear I am not at all saying that men don’t engage in this awful self-love practice as they absolutely do. I just wanted to give some extra information that is important to help stop this toxic behavior yesterday.
Anyways, of course we all should be kind to one another but whether or not you love yourself should not be based on how kind you have been to everyone. In the same breath it should (even less) depend on how kind, loving and accepting people are of you. You’ll never learn to love yourself if you keep basing this love on anything else but the relationship between you and you. Being caring, endearing, kind and sweet to others should always stand completely separate from your self-love.
This should not be confused with loving the fact that you are a kind person and/or others’ kindness to you. Loving a trait of you is not a toxic self-love practice at all, even when that trait is being kind to others. Loving your own traits is part of a healthy self-loving relationship with yourself. It’s necessary and imperative for your self-love journey. Loving your traits only becomes problematic when you only love yourself because of a specific trait, in this case being kind to others which can also be escalated to calling it people pleasing.
I’d be more inclined to call it people pleasing when the excuse given is ‘’making people happy makes me happy’’ and of course your happiness contributes to your self-love. That can very well be, but as a trait. If making people happy is the basis upon which your self-love rests it is toxic. Not only toxic, I’d even go as far as to say that it is downright harmful as not only a self-love habit but also a practice for your overall well-being. You can’t make yourself responsible for someone else’s happiness. You can try and want to contribute but that is where the line needs to be drawn.
- Hiding the body parts you don’t want to see
A part of learning to love yourself is also learning to accept yourself exactly the way you are. This doesn’t mean that you can’t change but acceptance and self-love shouldn’t depend on this change. I discuss this in length in my eBook ‘’Starter Steps To Creating A Life You Love’’, as well as how to tackle it once and for all.
Recommended: Starter Steps To Creating A Life Story You Love
What is toxic about hiding body parts of yourself that you don’t want to see is that they don’t disappear, they’re still there hanging above your head like the sword of Damocles. At some point in time you’re going to have to deal with it if you truly want to build a self-loving relationship. Hiding is basically postponing the inevitable. You might be happily going about all your self-love practices and activities but a big part of it is based on thin air as you are skipping one really important part of self-love. I explained in the post about the difference between self-love and self-care the internal process is crucial in building honest reliable self-love.
- Making your love conditional
‘’If you are successful you can love yourself. If you find the perfect husband you’ll love yourself. If you make your family proud you’ll love yourself. If you get your degree you’ll love yourself.’’
These are some examples of things used to keep pushing yourself potentially past your breaking point. I have been saying for years that the rhetoric of not stopping when you are tired but when you are done has the potential of being extremely harmful. To be honest this might be the most toxic self-love practice out of all the toxic self-love practices there are. You might actually be wondering how this is a self-love practice when you might not be directly working on the relationship with yourself. Well it is a self-love practice because you are actively ignoring what your body needs and self-love is defined as:
‘’A state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological, and spiritual growth.’’Definition of self-love via KHOSHABA, 2012
You are actively going against an action that your body needs. Your body is physical matter. What your body needs might be sleep, rest, food and/or time with loved ones just to name a few examples. No matter what it is, you need to stop the habit of keeping it pushing until something definitely bad happens because at that point you have crossed the line of engaging in toxic self-love practices to downright harmful self-love practices. That is a line that should never be crossed, ever.
Which one of these toxic self-love practices are one your list of habits? When are you planning on stopping? Let me know!
PS. Want to know more about self-love? Find out below;
1. What is Self-love; Unpacking The Popular Concept
2. Easy Self-Love Treats To Treat Yourself With
3. Self-love vs. Self-care; Key Differences You Need To Know
4. Toxic Self-Love Practices You Need To Stop Immediately
5. Learning To Love Yourself: Can Self-Love Be Taught?
6. How To Start Your Own Self-Love Journey (+ Free Workbook To Get You Started)
7. How To Start Loving Yourself Video Series
Enlighten your friends↴