Radical self-love means loving that parts of yourself that you’ve been told you shouldn’t.
Think about some of your physical insecurities for a moment. What are they? How long have you been insecure about them? Can you remember when you first became conscious of these self-described “flaws?” Because no matter what these flaws are, there was a time when you weren’t even aware of them, let alone frustrated about them. Now think about some physical attributes that you’re very proud of. What are they? Can you remember around what age you started to receive compliments about these features? Because no matter what you think your best features are, there was a time when you weren’t even aware of them, and didn’t feel that they were a source of personal or external validation.
What I’m getting at is that it’s easy to love the parts of yourself that others view as attractive or admirable. But radical self-love requires loving the parts of yourself that you’ve been told directly or indirectly should be a source of shame. When I was younger, I was often teased by classmates for my big lips, and gap teeth. I remember the exact ages when I became self-conscious about these features, because back in Haiti, everyone I knew was Black, gap teeth were common, and I fit perfectly into those beauty standards. Being told by others that the way I looked was “wrong” was when it became a problem for me.
Growing in self-love meant becoming my own judge and jury. I took inventory of myself, and asked myself why I disliked fill-in-the-blank. If the answer made me uncomfortable, I forced myself to explore it until I could get to the root. And if I then decided that this was something that I didn’t like, and I could change it, I did. Otherwise, I reverted my mindset about this feature back to that of my very early childhood self, the person who was secure in her body because it was healthy and strong, and that’s all I ever needed it to be.