Everyone wants to have a unique wedding day that reflects their identity, after all, there are few occasions where you can be as deliciously indulgent as you want (making your friends do literally anything your heart desires, mwahaha).
But as the planning process can take its toll and every well-meaning family member and previous bride puts in their two pence worth, it can get harder and harder to stand strong in your ideas of YOUR perfect day. Not to mention the trad bridal magazine (thank god for Rock n Roll Bride!) spouting ‘advice’ which just doesn’t feel like you. It’s all too easy to get up to the big day and feel like you’ve sacrificed every weird and wonderful personal detail that you wanted.
Yup, being yourself and planning a big day that is authentically yours, well, it can take huge balls. The first step in cultivating an ‘I matter and my opinion matters’ attitude is to realise that it’s not selfish to put yourself first. In fact, you are the most important person in your life (sorry not sorry, life partner). We also all need to re-frame what exactly putting yourself first looks like and realise that self-love not just ‘nice to have’ but a vital necessity. Self-love is often marketed in a way that’s cringey, touchy-feely and maybe even self-indulgent.
But in reality – it takes a punk ass attitude. Let me explain why. Sadly, like a lot of good things, the phrase has been co-opted by diet culture, women’s magazines and Instagram wellness accounts. So, it’s easy to bundle the whole concept of self-love with green smoothies, gym-worthy abs, overpriced yoga classes and out of reach wellness retreats.
There’s a lot of articles out there that link self-love with self-improvement and this often leaves us all feeling guilty for not achieving it. Be mindful of anyone talking about self-love while also selling you something which is telling you that you’re not good enough as you are.
As a society, we spend too long treating the symptoms of the (dis)stress in our lives. For example, you’re feeling totally overwhelmed by your DIY wedding decoration planning (the
symptom is stress), so you book a massage to feel relaxed. This is a temporary ‘cure’ and in my opinion this is self-care. This is where self-love and self-care are different. Self-love It isn’t about any nice activity which you choose to do, or not do.
Now don’t get me wrong, self-care is awesome and important but a massage isn’t going to sort out the root cause of your problem e.g. the huge, overwhelming feeling of DIYing chair ribbons. Doom.
If you want to really love yourself – and be yourself – you have to be courageous. True self-love is about being brave enough to look at the ‘thing’ beneath the emotion and working out how to change it – because this is the only way to fully live YOUR way. We have to stop using self-care as a way to numb out the things that really need changing. Only when we work out what we really need can we then supplement with ‘self-care’, which for me are baths, walks in nature and soul food. Whether we’re talking about big life decisions or the smallest of wedding details, you deserve to live your life exactly how you want to and not have to suppress what you know deep down would make you happy. Becoming authentically you and creating your own blend of wellbeing is something I talk a lot about with my clients because only you truly know what you want/need (sorry not sorry family).
Here is a list of things which might not be thought of as self love but most definitely are:
💖 It’s letting someone down because you really don’t want to do a thing
💖 It’s making your own path
💖 It’s sticking to the road well-travelled
💖 It’s listening to your gut
💖 It’s not ‘being brave’
💖 It’s asking for a second opinion
💖 It’s going to therapy
💖 It’s holding on
💖 It’s letting go
💖 It’s quitting your job*
💖 It’s looking at your debt and making a budget
💖 It’s seeing the doctor for that thing you’ve been avoiding
💖 It’s ploughing on even though people doubt you
💖 It’s calling out bullshit
💖 It’s burning the diet books/’health plan’/excessive gyming because it’s making you miserable
💖 It’s wearing it anyway
💖 It’s reaching out
💖 It’s speaking out
💖 It’s doing the things you want without regard for how it will be seen by others
💖 It’s distancing yourself from toxic people
💖 It’s saying “I deserve better”
Here’s another example. You want to wear a two-piece for your wedding day but your mother-in-law keeps hinting about princess dresses. You keep nodding and looking at her suggestions with interest while deep down you’re screaming. Time to find those balls, honey. No amount of scented candles is going to remove this particular stress in your life until you’ve dealt with the root cause (sorry not sorry fictional mother-in-law).
Being yourself at your wedding also doesn’t have to mean riding a white horse down the aisle or flying to Nevada for some incredible desert motel engagement photos. Nope. Being yourself also isn’t about doing what you think is ‘cool’. It can simply be telling your best friend you really don’t want a tacky hen do. Or mentioning to your partner to be that you really want to veto that Bon Jovi track you’ve pretended to love for the last five years when really you want to jump out the window whenever you hear it.
Putting up boundaries is sexy. Speaking your truth is hot as fuck. And being yourself looks as big or as small as you want it to. You got this.
(*Please don’t just quit your job without a plan, especially a financial one)
About Harri Rose
Harri Rose is a qualified health coach and mindfulness teacher. She teaches unapologetic body acceptance, self-compassion and creative living. Harri believes that for too long we have been apologising for our bodies – and that diet culture and beauty standards are holding us back. Through her writing, workshops and 1:1 clients, Harri helps people to live their lives without rules and restriction and embrace how amazing they really are Rock n Roll Bride readers can claim a 15% discount on any of Harri’s coaching packages or workshops, just send an email with the code RNROLL15 to firstname.lastname@example.org and get your journey started.
This article originally appeared in the now sold out Sept/Oct 2019 issue of Rock n Roll Bride magazine. The current issue is now available on the high street or to purchase via our website.