April 14, 2022

After all, can we love ourselves?

It seems like an endless song or maybe a huge roar swarming about our thoughts, our mind, our whole body, the way we ourselves are able to embrace the skin below which we exist. It seems like a train without a destination and it goes until an obstacle redefines or blocks entirely its course. We feel overwhelmed with emotions, thoughts, images about whether and to what extent characterizations and utterances that we have overheard about ourselves define us or about to what extent the figure that is reflected in our mirror the time we look at it corresponds to ourselves. And it is not the only case.

There are infinite times when we have thoughts and dilemmas about our character. Some incidents put us down and compel us to leave the speaker’s point of view behind and to enter potentially into the receiver’s point of view in order to hear ourselves. In this way, we have the impression that we judge them like we ignore our mind and soul, as uninvolved and objective, we sketch the portrait of another, foreign person and we mainly feel that we have to like and love that person, but we can’t find the way to do it.

There are means and ways to succeed our goal, small paths, which if we follow, we will eventually feel the warmth of our body followed by the marvelous voice of our mind that surrounds us everywhere.

So, in such a heartless world and era, we firstly have to try to confront our emotional world. To detect and interpret our emotions, to hear them, to consult them. To feel maybe more at ease with their existence and to love them with all our heart. As human beings, we are usually asked to react to stimuli as well as to unpropitious and awkward situations. So, imagine how dreadful it is not to trust our instinct and to face all that happens with stale logic.

Sometimes we feel trapped in our problems, in the harsh situations we experience. Sometimes, indeed, we confront these situations with denial- or maybe we don’t even identify them. The truth is that the only thing we attain by concealing consciously or unconsciously from ourselves the harsh reality is to create the hallucination that everything is alright. When we truly need to abandon the balloon in which we were living for a long time, we face a difficulty. So, we undergo situations of huge amounts of anxiety, sorrow, despair, we have thoughts and negative emotions to a greater extent than if we had faced them gradually. We have to stop treating ourselves in this way. To start to love and trust ourselves eventually. We owe to let ourself react to the good, but also to the bad ones in life, try to find solutions to problems, survive inside the truth of the world.

Self-love means truth, truth of emotions, truth of thoughts, true discovery of the meaning of our existence. And how does this happen? Through self-criticism and processing of our real desires in life, of all that makes us happy, of our realistic goals. All of us talk about the meaning of life, but we don’t keep in mind that it isn’t predetermined. We ourselves create it and it varies among people. Instead of searching for a meaning our whole life like simple observers, let’s start running, fighting, like real protagonists in the movies of our lives and create our own scenario, our own ending, our own meaning. When we really try and find our purpose, we will live happily and we will truly appreciate and love our entire being. All of these and many more can make us feel comfortably with the person we watch in our mirror, to accept them, to like them. If we ourselves don’t embrace ourselves, always in normal limits, i.e. away from the extreme of narcissism and selfishness, then why do we expect people around us to do it?

Photography by the Photography Team of TEDxAUTH 2022

Zoe Papagianni

Born 19 years ago, the happiness and enthusiasm of a small child are still evident in her. She is a student of the School of Mechanical Engineering, trying to find a balance between science and art, the science of life, which she loves. She adores socializing, conversing, and helping; but once her social batteries are empty, she needs to be isolated with her thoughts and emotions in order to recover.

Panagiota Ioannidou (she/her)

A vegetarian from Thessaloniki that fell in love at first sight with the English language. She has a mind full of poems trapped in a ballerina’s body. Torn between chaos and peace. In times of darkness, she keeps searching for inspiration, warm hugs, long journeys and the kiss of her dog. Books, chocolate, wine, love - this is what she is made of.

Anastasia Tolmaidou (she/her)

Born in Thessaloniki in the middle of summer. She is supposedly studying law but mostly she is spending her time planning trips that will probably never happen and searching for the cheapest plane tickets options. She loves keeping up with series that last multiple seasons and is watching The Office any chance she gets. The only reason for her to wake up early in the morning is to attend a horse-riding class or to catch a flight.

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