When one asks an Aphrodite devotee about her, learning to love yourself is often the first devotional act recommended. She is, after all, the goddess of love between everyone, love of every sort. And, just as you build from the foundation up, you build love from yourself out.
When I first set out on this specific path, I thought I had that bit down. I knew I was hot, I loved that. Yet even with my apparent narcissism, there has always been room for improvement. In the past few weeks it’s been clear that my love for myself is not enough for Aphrodite’s tastes. Just as you cannot shrink Aphrodite down to the goddess of sex, you cannot shrink self-love down to sex appeal. They are about acceptance, about unconditional love. Think about that idea for a second, unconditional love. At first these words gave me church flashbacks, they’re a common protestant buzzword for Yahweh’s love. But recently I’ve seen them more in a secular, or even pagan sense, and it’s forced me to think of their importance and repercussions. Love that is unconditional doesn’t hate you because you cheated. Love that is unconditional doesn’t want you to beat yourself up because you failed. It doesn’t let you down and you can never let it down. When Aphrodite devotees say “love yourself”, this is what they mean. You may do something awful, you may cheat on someone or lose your job or lose a friend, but you can never stop loving yourself. Absolutely everyone should try to love themselves unconditionally.
This seems daunting to some who can’t even like themselves, let alone love themselves unconditionally, yet I promise you can do this. As I mentioned above, you cannot build a great temple without a foundation. Start small; start by forgiving yourself. You may not be the the best looking, the smartest, the most privileged, or the most sane, but that’s ok. It’s ok.
I’m no exception, I don’t love myself like I should. I beat myself up over my failures, I look in the mirror sometimes and wonder what I can do to make myself better. I will start with forgiving myself, and letting myself be me. I will start on loving myself.