My Version of Self-Love Is Conditional

December 22, 2023 Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

As uncomfortable as this feels to admit, my version of self-love is conditional. Memes and mantras extolling the virtues of radical self-love are splashed across my Instagram feed, but I can't seem to take in the message. I have no idea how to accept and affirm myself, no matter the circumstances. I measure my value in terms of factors like outward appearance, work achievements, fitness performance, and societal contributions. I know it's not right, but my version of self-love is purely conditional. Maybe I should get to the root of this issue in 2024. 

Why Self-Love Feels Conditional to Me at this Point

I have been in eating disorder recovery for a long time, which means I've heard just about all the self-love axioms. Intellectually, I recognize that I am valuable because I exist—full stop. But if I sincerely believed this, I would not experience such intense urges to prove or earn my own worth. Sure, there are moments when I'm proud of myself. I feel capable when I run fast or work hard. I feel satisfied when I complete a well-written article. I feel strong when I finish a strenuous exercise routine. I feel euphoric when I can look in the mirror without hating my reflection.

However, these qualifiers are image- or merit-based. They have nothing to do with who I am as a human. Acceptance with no strings attached continues to elude me because my version of self-love is conditional. To be honest, I'm not sure how to overcome this personal roadblock—or if I even want to right now. The concept of radical self-love does not feel authentic to me, and I have no desire to manufacture something that doesn't resonate in my soul. There might come a time when it does feel true, genuine, and accessible, but I'm not there yet. 

My Self-Love Is Conditional—But It's Also a Work in Progress

Of course, the goal is to love myself no matter what, and I hope to reach that milestone in the future. But at this moment, I will acknowledge that my version of self-love is still conditional. With that said, I believe personal growth is a continuous journey without a linear path or a clear destination, so I'll just take it one step at a time. Maybe in 2024, radical self-love will begin to feel as natural as breathing—or maybe it won't. Either way, I am a work in progress, and that's alright with me.

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2023, December 22). My Version of Self-Love Is Conditional, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

Connect with Mary-Elizabeth on Facebook, Instagram and her personal blog.

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