How to Love Yourself by Dean Atta
Write your own list and only take from this
the things that work for you.
Yoga. Running. Walking. Meditation.
A good night’s sleep. Drinking plenty of water.
Comfort food. Quality time. Turning off
your phone. Cinema trips alone. Forgiveness.
Do not make a list of your virtues
and vices. Do not do it because of your virtues
or in spite of your vices. Do not feed your fears.
Your fears have an insatiable appetite.
Do not feed your ego. Your ego has an insatiable appetite.
Learn to live with a certain amount of hunger.
Do not expect to be full all of the time.
Do not place parts of yourself on the table to be dined upon.
Go to the library and take yourself off the shelf.
Check yourself out. Read yourself.
If you are not satisfied with how your story reads,
make as many edits as you want to.
Take the new edition of yourself back to the library
and if asked about the edits, politely, or not
so politely, remind them that you are the author.
When no one turns up to your poetry reading.
Read the poems out loud anyway. When no one turns up
to be your father, grow up to become a great man anyway.
Say your name out loud until you feel good
about the way it sounds. If that proves impossible
– rename yourself. Remember
if you rename yourself for a laugh
too many times on Facebook, you may get stuck
with a bad joke. Learn to laugh at yourself more often.
Do not spend too much time on social media
looking at other people’s photos, relationships,
marriages or Valentines. Refuse
to acknowledge February 14th as any more important
than any other day. Do not compare
your days to anyone else’s.
Yes, you have the same amount of hours
in the day as Beyoncé but you are not Beyoncé.
Find yourself. Find yourself attractive.
If that proves impossible – relearn what attractive is.
You are not tinder, you are already flame.
Swipe right to your reflection every morning.
Say this in the mirror, “I accept myself
unconditionally right now.” Remember
that just because someone is single and finds you
attractive and good company
that does not mean they will be able to love you.
There are many reasons someone may not
be able to love you that are not about you.
Their reasons are not your faults, not your reflection.
Their reasons belong to them.
Remember that no one belongs to you, but you.
No one knows you as well as you do
and your list needn’t read anything like this.