I noticed a lot of “acceptance” blogs emphasize “loving yourself”. For a long time, I felt it was an odd phrase and couldn’t say it applied to myself. Yet I don’t feel any self-hate…
Why must I “love” myself? It sounds so odd. The implications must be that if you refuse to love yourself, you must hate yourself. But I think self-respect is what characterizes a happy, healthy person. Self-respect is free of self-loathing. It lets a person admit their mistakes or flaws, without sinking into a negative downward spiral of thoughts. And then it lets the person work on those mistakes or flaws. Self-respect is accountability mixed with optimism. Accountability alone is too demanding and punishing, while optimism alone is too naively delusional.
And this is why I think “loving yourself” is a product of people who struggle with self-hatred. Because their self-respect does not work automatically, they have to spell it out, and try to learn it. People who don’t suffer from self-hate don’t love themselves, the same way most people don’t think about how to walk. It just comes naturally, and thinking about it might even confuse you and make you trip.
So no, I don’t think you have to explicitly say you love yourself, if you already feel fine and don’t suffer from terrible self-esteem.