Commitment to self-love does not require a ceremony

Some people take the concept of self-love a little more literally than others. Jewelry designer Jeffrey Levin and agency and brand strategist Bonnie Powers hope to encourage self-love and self-respect while increasing what Powers calls “moments of positivity” with their “‘I Married Me’ Self-Wedding in a Box” kit. Their long-term goal is to elevate happiness and health.

These kits are intended to remind us to love ourselves. Levin and Powers claim that the positive mental state resulting from “marrying ourselves” will help to “reshape us over time” and give us a more optimistic outlook on life.

They indicate that performing a marriage ceremony with oneself increases one’s self-esteem and, according to Powers, the ceremony is “about acknowledging that you are a lovable, adorable, amazing person with all these fabulous qualities, [which is sometimes] really hard to stick with.”

The ceremony is one step on the path to “self-actualization and awareness,” and the ring is symbolic of one’s positivity and self-affirmation, qualities that lead to increased feelings of “happiness and joy.”

While Powers and Levin’s message about self-love is admirable, and they make good points about maintaining a positive outlook on life, the “self-wedding” aspect of their endeavor is a little odd. The ceremonial aspect strikes me as a nice concept that is strange in practice.

In a CNN article about their project, Powers describes having the guests at her and Levin’s wedding ceremony make promises to themselves while the couple performed their wedding vows. She also hopes that people who buy their kits either perform the self-marriage ceremony in front of or as part of a group or, if they are “too shy,” by themselves because the ritual “enhances” the experience.

Why, in order to feel the positive effects of self-love, should anyone have to buy a kit that gives them instructions on how to do so? The concept of self-love is finding within yourself the knowledge, power and desire to appreciate yourself for who you are and embrace even your worst qualities as unalterable parts of your personality.

The concept of marrying yourself takes self-love in a completely different direction in that it implies that being an independent person is somehow wrong. Powers and Levin say that loving yourself requires a ceremony that proves it, which at once assumes a lack of self-love in most people and doubts the strength of one’s self-love if they do not perform the ceremony.

Selling their product further takes away from the positive aspects of their message. Powers’ seemingly selfless words are given a selfish tint through her insistence on the invaluable nature of their product. The CNN article becomes an ad for her business endeavor and therefore takes some of the power out of her ideas.

How should we go about achieving these feelings of self-love? Instead of performing a meaningless ceremony that reeks of materialism, think about finding within yourself an appreciation for all of your abilities and be thankful for every positive aspect of your life. As students at a prestigious liberal arts college, we are incredibly fortunate to have so many resources and opportunities, and we are emotionally capable of achieving this positive mental state without the help of a bogus ceremony.

Self-love is attainable with the right attitude and outlook on life. A self-marriage ceremony, while appealing as a concept, is an unnecessary step in achieving this goal.

Nina Hagen ’15 is from St. Paul, Minn. She majors in English.

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