Radical Self Love

It’s been a tough week or so for a lot of people. That coupled with back to back shows and workshops in three cities has led to a little bit of radio silence on this side of the blog. I haven’t quite felt ready to launch back into ethical products or things I’ve been finding just yet; I felt like there was something else to be said first. Trekking to the Gold Coast, Melbourne and now Canberra has led to a lot of long days, missed sleep and new people, but it has also led to brilliant shows, great connections and important discussions about self love, and realising how important it is. So let’s talk about self love today, and just how radical it can be.

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A big part of our show looks at identity: how we relate to and think about ourselves, how others treat us because of who they think we are, what it means to have both a soul and a body. These things are always important, but now more than ever the idea of identity is in the forefront of most people’s minds.

I’ve talked about self care here before, but self love is something a little different. I believe that self care is its product. We get to know ourselves, we understand what we need in times of trouble and, when necessary, we know how to look after ourselves in those times, but it comes from self love. Loving yourself is the root; it’s much more difficult to understand or care for something you dislike. Through the last few days there’s been one phrase consistently going round in my head:

‘may love be the last great act to shock the world’

I used to think that phrase applied to how we treat others, and it does, but it’s more than that. In a world that tries to tell us we are unlovable, that our identity is wrong, that we are in some way broken and buying a certain product will fix that, self love is a revolutionary act. To believe that you have inherent worth and value is an act that takes courage, it’s something that needs to be learned, taught and repeated.

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I have often kept my life as an artist and my life as an ethical influencer somewhat separate. There were crossovers in some ways, but I felt they were in two different worlds. I don’t feel like that any more. In one post on self care I wrote ‘I find it much easier to live an ethical life, to be kind and compassionate, when I’m taking care of myself.’ This applies to self love too. Ultimately, what motivates me to live an ethical life? The same thing that motivates me as an artist to talk about the human experience. An empathy and belief in the worth of others. A belief that people, the earth and animals are valuable and shouldn’t be mistreated. But none of those things have had to prove themselves to be worthy of my good treatment, I believe they deserve it just because they exist. It’s time to apply that rule to ourselves too.

On Saturday we taught a creative workshop on the idea of our body as a home, a place of love and comfort. In the wake of the election people there cried, for themselves and for those who feel unsafe in their own skin because of the results. When it comes to the election, when it comes to ethical living, these things are all intertwined. It’s always about where people place their worth and value. I’ve written a post with practical things we can do here, but I believe love is the root motivation behind it. Don’t get me wrong we must do things, real tangible things, but let’s not undervalue the true revolutionary power behind self love either.

Why did women fight for the vote? Because they believed in their worth. Why did thousands march on Washington? Because they believed in their worth. Why do we fight for ethical working conditions? Because we believe in the worth of the workers. Why do we fight for sustainable alternatives? Because we believe in the worth of this planet. All these things are connected, and the fight is far from over for any of them. Every choice we make is a vote for the kind of world we want to live in, and I believe combining practical things we can do with the choice of self love is a good place to start. When we really love ourselves that overflows, and we love others. When we love others, we fight for them, we stand alongside them, we seek out better alternatives.

In a post election world that has seen a rise in hate crime and prejudice, let’s remember to love ourselves and see the value in who we are, regardless of what anyone else might try and tell us. Remind yourself that you have worth, that your voice is important and necessary in this world. And let’s spread this to other people too. Let’s always remember why we do what we do, why we fight. I think if we keep working together, love really can be the last great act to shock the world. It’s hard work, but we are capable. This is just the beginning.

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Images by Brendan Bonsack from our show at The Workers Club, Melbourne.

Until next time, stay magic y’all.

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