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The Self-Love Market


Podcast jingle, light percussion, high-pitched motivational voice. Let’s go, ladies!

Haven’t you heard that health is wealth? Unless you’re not wealthy, then you’re shit out of luck babe.

Selling products and lifestyle in the name of self-love is a millennial consumerist gold mine. As the statistics continue to come out about our generation’s struggle with anxiety and self-doubt, the market for ‘fixing’ these issues continue to grow. The capitalist system cannot possibly keep up with enough ‘beauty’ tips and tricks to mend the flaws that don’t exist. Yet they do. Selling us the things we don’t need to make us feel like we worked on ourselves, because so many of us are willing to cough up big bucks to feel good about what we see in the mirror.

Let me be the first to admit. I, too, am chained to the constant marathon of socially constructed self-improvement.

Listen up, hold on tight, and come on a ride with me, ladies and gentlemen, because I’m ready to take on a change. Let’s have a look at this fat rat race I feel pressured to be a part of everyday.

1. Wake up, chug water. Boost that metabolism! Off to your workout.

2. Workout class. Next, drink a latte (non-fat and sugar free obvi)

3. Answer all my emails by lecture no. 2 of the day and then eat a grilled chicken salad, hold the dressing by noon, are we done yet? No, no.

4. Stop at Sephora and spend $75 on a charcoal face mask that will purify, detox, clean, and simultaneously magically pop, lock and drop it?! How marvellous. Off to your waxing appointment. Might as well just give up all dreams of travelling now, because your waxing bill of the month keeps you from doing any of that. Your hair removal as self-care might be one of the biggest lies us women continue to buy into. Yet, here we are.

5. You’ve done well. But you’re about to mess up. You’re tired and spent. You’re hungry. But, sweetie, if you get hungry at 3pm, do not do something you’ll regret. Unsalted nuts or a $12 green smoothie will do the trick.

That’s it. That’s where I stop.

This is starting to sound like a lifestyle committed to TREATING YO SELF if YO SELF means anybody but yourself.

At what point in this schedule, that could be copy and pasted from any celebrity guide to lose weight, do we listen to OUR body and mind? Each hour is packed, because it’s sold that if you don’t use every hour of your life like Beyonce, in some twisted way, you’ve lost the game.

In “The Promise of Happiness”, Sarah Ahmed questions the general assumption that we need to be happy. Ahmed asks if happiness is the goal of life, or if it’s just a means to a more fundamental truth or goal. If living is a constant experience of being reborn, where you are constantly learning, then time for reflection and being present might be a total game changer.

Here’s to looking forward and recognising that self-love, when it’s not sold to you, but chosen, is necessary and energising.

8 am: Look to recharge myself as frantically as I look to check my iPhone in the morning

10 am: Look to replace the things I want to buy to make me look better with things money cannot buy, and then forcing myself to pursue just that

1pm: Write a poem on a napkin. Write a letter to myself about the detour, the meal I just ate, relished in, and thoroughly enjoyed. Write about the beautiful tree I just passed and the song it made me think of.

Here’s why:

When I separate what works for me and what works for you, I give to myself.

And when I give, I grow. When I grow, I have more to give. I grow the most when I know I could have given more. Self-love works then. It works when the going gets tough. So, the next time I feel like I have to buy something to get there, I’ll know they can’t afford what I’ve already got.


Eliana Rohrig

Illustrated by @recipesforselflove

Cover illustration by Christopher Bragg

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