After the show Parks and Recreation televised a scene in which the famous phrase “Treat Yo’ Self” stemmed from, the self-love and self-care trend has taken off. I hesitate to call it a trend, but essentially that’s what it became as an increasing number of people began to adopt this mentality and ideology. A simple cute scene morphed into the self-love trend we all see today in the shape of countless Tumblr posts with bullet points, cute flower emojis and the color yellow. The self-love trend has been going on for a while and even seems to show signs of fading out. The aesthetics often attributed to self-love and self-care is no longer as reoccurring, but hopefully, the overarching purpose behind this trend isn’t lost from the minds of people. I have had numerous friends refer to this trend as cringy and annoying, which I never, and still don’t, understand. The self-love trend is such an uplifting, positive movement which has only become increasingly important to maintain, especially with the tragedies occurring in the world around us. With a 70% rate of depression increase found in youths in the past 25 years, I find it encouraging that trends such as this one are catered towards improving the mental health of teens and adults alike.
The self-love trend (on Tumblr at least) is generally composed of tips on ways to develop a positive mentality, inclusive graphics and uplifting quotes — anything that helps to promote loving oneself. However, I feel as if the entire self-love trend hardly touches on, much less emphasizes one of the most critical parts of learning to accept and love yourself: accountability. Along with believing that you are enough and worthy of being loved, you also need to hold yourself accountable for the things you do. Accountability is usually mentioned when someone has done something that isn’t entirely ‘right’ or is seen as problematic. Being held accountable means to take responsibility and directly face what you’ve done, instead of dismissing your actions. Most can agree that loving yourself is easy in theory and harder in practice. I believe one of the reasons that is true is because you have to learn how to love every aspect of yourself — meaning your flaws as well. To accept said flaws, you need to acknowledge them and take responsibility for the things you do. Learning how to examine oneself and working to be better is important. Without integrating accountability into the self-love you preach, there will be no room for you to grow as an individual, which is one of the goals the self-love trend aligns with. The self-love trend seems to blindly promote loving oneself without an examination of who you are as an individual and recognizing flaws that should be worked on. People need to be consistently aware of the impact they have on others and how to make that a positive one. I have seen signs of a lack of accountability when people outright deny that they have even created an issue to take accountability for in the first place. How is self-love and growth possible if you’re not constantly checking yourself? If you can’t admit in the first place that you have done something wrong? Accountability is imperative for one to become a ‘better’ person.
Creating a society in which people don’t hold themselves accountable for their action leads to a lot of calling out of problematic actions, which then leads to anger from whoever got called out, fights, and in the end, no learning is taken place. A lack of accountability leads to a lot of stagnant people. There will be no growth regarding maturity and mentality. It’s perfectly okay for you to acknowledge that you made a mistake and done something wrong, address and apologize for it, and then move on. Having that ability and trait benefits not only you but also the people around you and the community you’re apart of, as it builds trust.
It’s not a particularly difficult thing to be accountable, it’s just hard to get into the mentality at first and be in a mindset in which you are critical of yourself, but at the same time loving and respecting yourself. It is much easier when people point out your mistakes for you since then you can simply analyze where you made a mistake and make up for it. However, that accountability and responsibility should come from yourself. It’s your responsibility to analyze yourself and catch yourself when you’ve made a mistake. That’s the growth self-love should preach. Accountability is something we all must learn. Implementing this idea into such a widespread trend like this is beneficial and an easy way to start, especially when it relates so much to self-love.
Photo: Mikail Duran