‘Love Yourself’: is this the wrong message from BTS to their listeners?

Written By Endria Tai

Contrary to what everyone has been telling you, loving yourself can be dangerous.

(Allkpop, 2018)

(Allkpop, 2018)

“You can’t stop me from lovin’ myself.” The hook of the new BTS title track ‘Idol’ has resonated around the world, but is this message the right one?

Global k-pop phenomenon BTS is regarded as the biggest boyband in the world and their most recent comeback is the repackaged album ‘Love Yourself: Answer’, the last of a series of three albums advocating positivity and self-love. With the group coming through to the global scene as the most authentic k-pop group yet, the international impact of BTS is unprecedented.

So the question is: with the substantial influence of the group, is BTS promoting the correct message to their global fans? Should we love ourselves?

The whole idea of ‘loving myself’ feels narcissistic, demeaning ourselves as ‘worthless’ definitely isn’t healthy. But isn’t it dangerous to love ourselves with all our flaws and imperfections?

“The common assumption most of us make about the self is that our goal as individuals is to look within, find our true selves, and try to be as authentic and true to ourselves as we can be,” Harvard professor Michael Puett said. “But this assumes we have a stable self.”

While ‘accepting our flaws’ are commonly viewed as solutions to lack of self-confidence or self-esteem, this mindset will restrict us from improving ourselves. Realizing our flaws are more important than accepting them.

“The modern idea is that you’re supposed to accept yourself,” said Canadian clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto Jordan Peterson. “I think that’s an insane idea, by the way. Really, I can’t think of a more nihilistic idea than that ‘you’re already okay!’”

You’re not okay, and the reason that you are not is that you could be way more than what you are.

Some might argue that we are perfect because everyone is different and we cannot compare ourselves to others. Unfortunately, this is just wishful thinking. In the real world, comparing ourselves against our peers is unavoidable. Thoughts like ‘I’m not as smart as her’ or ‘I wish I was as good-looking as him’ are dangerous, but inevitable.

Self-care and mental well-being do not mean that we should love everything about ourselves. The only way we will be able to strive further is if we recognize our flaws in order to find the best version of ourselves. If you’re not happy about yourself, you should be encouraged to change yourself, and not be told that no matter how much you dislike the current version of yourself, you should love it because it is ‘perfect’.

The road in finding the balance between healthily loving yourself and loving yourself a bit too much will not be an easy one. Finding the ‘perfect’ version of yourself will be even harder.

So to answer the question, “should we love ourselves?” The answer shouldn’t be a desperate “yes”, but instead, a composed “no”.

Just like what BTS sings in hit song ‘Young Forever’, “even when [you] fall and hurt [yourself], [you should] endlessly run toward [your] dream.”

If you dream of a better version of yourself, go for it.