Love does not vibe with the ethos of a cynic.
Gratitude is starting to feel stripped of authenticity.
Meditation can be tedious. Mantras seem silly.
Self-care is everywhere. It’s the latest zeitgeist. It’s emblazoned on billboards, shampoo bottles, and those annoying unskippable ads that pop up in the middle of our precious cat videos. It’s less of a request and more of a demand: social media stars tell us what it looks like and why it’s important, and it usually means buying a diet shake and talking to ourselves in the mirror.
All of these terms fit with a tired narrative that feels insincere.
The thing about cynicism is that it’s like a virus. It infects. It fits poorly like a bad, itchy sweater. It kills joy in all areas of our lives.
So, why do we do it?
For the cynic inside many of us, we know love is important. We crave it in abundance. Not only does it feel fantastic to simply take care of ourselves, it’s crucial to our well-being. Our barriers, though, inhibit our ability to relax. Whether it’s emotionally self-imposed or a factor of our environment (hello, real life) we just can’t find the right way to believe in the power of positivity.
We’re encouraging one another, even as cynics, to shift our thinking to make this whole “self-care” thing a little less cringey, and maybe learn to love ourselves a little more along the way.
If we go way back to ancient Greece, we find the original school of Hellenistic thought called Cynicism. Unlike cynicism as we know it today, it has little to do with assuming the worst of everything. Cynicism believes in living honestly and aligned with nature.
And while the Cynics of ancient times were also known to roam the streets, reject possessions beyond the bare necessities, and generally choose a difficult life, we can learn from their fundamental principles and apply it to our modern lives in our own way.
Speak openly, especially to yourself.
Everyone has difficulties speaking the truth at some point. Sometimes, we have trouble letting go of barriers, and aren’t always open to positive thinking that might actually do us some good. When we’re in a cynical state of mind, we can view everything with a critical filter, including how we see ourselves.
Positivity contributes to psychological and physical well-being, because positive feelings make us resilient in hard times. As the convention of “self-care” pressures us to evaluate others and compare picture-perfect cliches of “gratitude” and “love” to ourselves, consider challenging yourself to reject that socially-imposed ideal of perfection. Instead, reflect on yourself without expectations of any kind.
Why are we stubborn, and why do we allow ourselves to be hardened by negative thinking? What’s so bad about loving oneself, anyway?
“What do I really want, right now?”
The purpose of shedding our cynicism through honesty isn’t about living in fantasy. It isn’t about forcing ourselves to act happy when we’re not, to spend frivolously, and it doesn’t mean to deny oneself of indulgences, if indulgence is what we really want.
The purpose of living honestly is about alleviating negativity through caring for our needs. It’s about disallowing that negativity to cloud how we view the world.
Embracing our desires (even when we think those desires are selfish or cheesy) can enhance our well-being and our mental health. When we are truthful with ourselves, there is simply more of us to love. Learning to honestly love ourselves builds our resilience and helps us learn that everything will be okay, even if we are hurt at times.
When we love ourselves, we are better equipped to care for those around us, and receive love in kind.
See also: The Science of Connection
It’s not easy.
There is no magic formula to learning to love yourself. This can be disheartening, but it can also be beautiful if we choose: if we really want to practice self-care, we have to get to know ourselves beyond what is expected of us.
What this means is no, you do not need to have an Instagram-worthy bubble bath to love yourself. If you want to eat mac & cheese straight from the pot and binge Netflix, then do it.
What this also means is that if you love bubble baths and facials, then shine on, you crazy diamond. The fundamental key is that it’s what we honestly want to do, not what we think others want us to do.
Through Kolya Naturals’ holistic lens, we favour living in-line with nature. We value herbal wellness, balanced nutrition, eco-friendly living, and yes—indulging in frivolous pretty things— to help balance our mood and lower our stress levels. We are enough just as we naturally are.
We are imperfect, and we are worthy of love.
Self-love takes work. It requires diligence, honesty, and yes, it requires simultaneously rejecting the cliches of “gratitude” and “self care” while also embracing them. As annoying as it might seem, it’s important to care for yourself in a way that feels “right.” We don’t “need” to do any one thing, but we can if we want to. So before we roll our eyes at the next cheesy self-care product push, we’re remembering to check in with ourselves and ask, “does this fit with what I want right now?” and “how can I show myself the love I deserve?”
If the honest answer is “this isn’t for me,” then no problem! Try to work something into your day that will make you feel good, whatever that something is. You have full control over how you choose to love yourself, so do whatever you please.
If the answer is “yes,” then read on for some indulgent, self-care goodies that we love!
This is a highly moisturizing blend of sugars, butters, plant essences, and natural clay minerals. In the shower or immediately before a bathtime ritual, polish away dull or dry cells and reveal your ravishing self. Deeply nourishing, full of skin-loving plant oils, with a naturally uplifting coconut scent (and it’s pink!)
This is the pinnacle of self-care spa day. This hydrating mask delivers multiple molecular sizes of hyaluronic acid for an intense moisture boost to many layers of the skin. Soothes redness, irritation, and plumps dry or dehydrated skin. The purity and quality of Tata Harper promises a face that is nourished, comforted, and basked in plant-based luxury.
Indulgent? Yes. Effective? Yes. Beautiful? Completely. These massage rollers are crafted from natural stones for an energetically-charged facial massage. If you’ve never had a face massage before, they are known to stimulate blood flow and boost collagen production to the face. Those that suffer from headaches or jaw soreness caused by stress or tension may also find relief with facial massages. Plus, the beautiful, glistening natural stone invigorates the imagination and pampers the eyes. Available in Black Obsidian, Green Jade and Rose Quartz, so choose the one that resonates most with you.
You don’t need to treat yourself to an at-home spa day or a massage. Something as simple as a high-quality cup of tea in an elegant, reusable mug can do the trick. This reusable mug features a clean, simple design in an array of pleasing colours (including pink). Made with durable ceramic and protected with matte silicone, this travel-friendly mug is wonderful for whatever you feel like sipping today.
Take a look at Earth’s Aromatique array of artisan loose-leaf teas!
And now, a closer look at Kolya’s new DIY kits…
A different way of showing yourself love is to learn a new skill, or indulge your creative side. The Cacao Bliss Body Bar is a new do-it-yourself kit, lovingly crafted by us at Kolya, for you to further the love for plant-based beauty and learn about the simple, effective ingredients offered by nature. Enjoy the experience of DIY, and reap the rewards: in very little time, you’ll have your very own moisturizing massage bar to luxuriate in. It’s great for time by yourself, or shared with a loving partner.
Oh, and it comes with a bonus bar of vegan, fair trade chocolate.
There’s a strange alchemy to self-love...
It works when we’re not looking. Subliminally, molecule by molecule, over time, choosing to love honestly grants us massive steps towards that ever-elusive “happiness.” We’re choosing to consider what we really want and embracing our natural selves. Through this practice, we might be reminded of the good in the everyday (even the cheesy self-care gratitude stuff), and truly believe that we are worthy of loving ourselves.
What other kind of efforts can we make to shed our cynicism and live in a more open, honest, loving way?