Has Lockdown Taught Us to Love Ourselves?

2020 was most certainly an unprecedented year, filled with grief, insecurities and pain. But what if all the grieving awakened a sleeping sense of empathy within us, and invited us to extend the love we give to other people – in a sincere love for ourselves as well? Let’s see what people are saying on the matter.

To be frank, as I write this piece, my insecurity is still continuous. Should I start writing from the perspective of ‘being through’ the pandemic? 

Or should we continue keeping an eye on it, afraid, never knowing what may happen next? I think I’m going to go with simply calling out all people to be more cautious regarding their safety measures, but to stop for a moment and look around, to see just how much good we have also taken out from the previous, difficult year.

As people lost loved ones and grieved each in their own way, we saw that humanity arose, to stand together and to make room for connections in ways we couldn’t have imagined. 

We got to listen to music, played in the yard with our neighbour, we got to see so many virtual museums and hear outstanding online lectures that we wouldn’t be able to, in other circumstances. 

We took care of our children, brothers, daughters, sisters, husbands and wives. We sent food and coffee in the windows of our elder ones, who watched us from afar with melancholy in their eyes, yet with enormous gratefulness. And last, but not least, we managed to take our time. 

 

Time to Love Ourselves

The time stopped for everyone, and we did not have the pressure of missing out on anything. We knew very well that the entire world was stuck inside their homes, each going through the quarantine in their own ways.

I did not feel the pressure to go out, get drunk, and struggle to have fun. I stayed home, slept, and read instead. To me, quarantine time was amazing!” – Girl from Kosovo, 24 years

If we were lucky enough, this slow-down of things came along with a lot of reflection time too. We took long baths and showers, we spent quality parasite times with ourselves, because not being able to sit still and breathe for such a long time now had been taking a toll on us. 

And so we learned that some things are simply beyond our control, so we better invest in making sure we love ourselves and accepting the person that we are. And people did. 

They watched their hair grow, pretty much everywhere, they set their make-up aside, didn’t get their nails done anymore and nor did they dye their hair. 

It may sound like no big of a deal, but really, all this letting go contributed to a loving aspect that I would love to tackle – to shedding down the standards of beauty, a social construct that has been and is still impacting women daily.

 

Embracing Yourself

According to Vox.com celebrities have let their hair roots grow during lockdown, and some are embracing grey hair, setting an example of self-acceptance. Vox even points out that experts have started offering advice for accepting changes to our bodies after a traumatic year, including weight gain and ageing skin. 

Furthermore, Celebrities like Katie Couric and Justine Bateman are posing without makeup and making an effort to normalise faces that change with time whereas 

Whereas according to the New York Times, Kate Winslet also made a huge statement by insisting that her wrinkles go un-retouched on posters for HBO’s Mare of Easttown, by sending a promo poster for the show back. 

The actress told the New York Times: “I’m like ‘Guys, I know how many lines I have by the side of my eye, please put them all back’.”

Generally, the past few months we have witnessed more and more women talking about acceptance during the pandemic. 

Some talked about embracing older and ageing skin, some talked about accepting the wrinkles on their faces, and some of them embraced their body weight. 

“Indeed, the pandemic might be changing cultural attitudes around ageing and life experiences, encouraging people to celebrate the bodies that have taken them through hard times and shining a bright light on ageism across society.” – Anna North, for Vox.


When we love ourselves it improves our emotional intelligence:

High Emotional Intelligence: A Blessing or a Burden?

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