Acceptance truly is the first step. If you’ve reached the point in the day/week/month where you’re opening that flimsy cardboard box of rattling dried noodles, you know you’ve already had a rough time. So set the water to boil and stop beating yourself up. If you can’t think anything nice, don’t think anything at all. I don’t know how to meditate so when a yoga teacher tells me to clear my mind I imagine a polar bear in a snow storm. I can definitely still see the bear but at least my brain shuts up for a minute.
Tune out. The water needs to heat up and you need to cool down. A watched pot never boils so run to your room and put on your comfiest clothes including fuzzy socks and that koala onesie your roommate got you for Christmas. Grab your laptop, pull up The Office for the fourth time and start watching. Self-love, just like macaroni, takes time and patience. The great thing is, sometimes it can kind of just happen on its own. The water will boil and your brain will be too focused on Jim and Pam to feel any kind of negativity.
You win some, you lose some. Some days you don’t need mac and cheese from a box. Some days you do. Some days you won’t like yourself even a little; your hair will look funny, your ideas will be boring, and the whole world will think you’re annoying. Some days your hair will be beautiful, your ideas will be fresh, and everyone will love you. Sometimes, those days will happen within a few hours of each other. That’s just the way these things work. Focus on the good, and don’t despair too much about the bad.
Boxed existentialism. Mac and cheese comes in a pre-packaged box with instructions and I’ve still found ways to mess it up. Same goes with self-love except you don’t get the pre-packaged box or the instructions. Or maybe you are the pre-packaged box, I don’t know. Either way, some things just don’t work even if you do everything right, even if you ate a vegetable last week and did your homework on time. The point is, sometimes you’re going to make macaroni and it’s going to taste gross but you’ll eat it anyway because you just spent twenty minutes on it. Then, you’ll go out and buy another box and try again.
The result is worth the effort. At the end of the day, you’ve only got yourself and a bowl of reheated noodles covered in processed cheese, so you better take damn good care of both those things.