The contemporary expressionist acrylic painting Self-love by Layla Messner is a Warrior displayed in a cozy living room over a comfy couch. Painting shows an abstract depiction of a snake.
The contemporary expressionist acrylic painting Self-love is a Warrior by Layla Messner displayed in a well-lit dining room with a rustic wooden table. Painting shows an abstract depiction of a snake.
The contemporary expressionist acrylic painting Self-love is a Warrior by Layla Messner displayed in an elegant industrial bedroom. Painting shows an abstract depiction of a snake.
The contemporary expressionist acrylic painting Self-love is a Warrior displayed above a cozy sofa with a teddy bear. Painting shows an abstract depiction of a snake.
The contemporary expressionist acrylic painting Self-love is a Warrior displayed above a leather sofa with an elegant dark-haired woman. Painting shows an abstract depiction of a snake.
The contemporary expressionist acrylic painting Self-love is a Warrior displayed over a bath tin a bright washroom. Painting shows an abstract depiction of a snake in blue, red, and gold.
The contemporary expressionist acrylic painting Self-love is a Warrior displayed over a modern industrial staircase. Painting shows an abstract depiction of a snake in blue, red, and gold.
The abstract expressionist acrylic painting Self-love is a Warrior by contemporary expressionist art Activist. Painting shows an abstract depiction of a snake in blue, red, and gold.

Self-Love is a Warrior

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Every painting is a breakthrough. A transformation. 

During the creation of this piece, which is about self-advocacy and the warrior spirit, the epiphany came at the very end. The composition of the painting felt complete, and yet I found myself obsessing about the asymmetry of the eyes, and so I planned to paint over the smaller one and redo it. 

I shared my intention, who replied that perhaps the snake was meant to have two differently sized eyes. It hit me then: I had created a painting on the theme of self-love, and what is self-love if not self-acceptance?

Yet here I was being the opposite of loving with my beautiful snake, who had come into the world to be the way he was. I was focusing on his so-called "flaws" and "imperfections"; I was unable to accept his asymmetry and allow it to be. And in so doing I was being the opposite of loving with myself. 

I was demanding perfection from myself, from my art. Perfectionism is the opposite of self-love. So I left him the way he is - because self-love is a warrior. 

We must be fierce in our self-acceptance and self-compassion, in our determination to embrace ourselves as we are. And we must be as fierce with our own perfectionism and self-judgments as we are with the demands of others.

This is especially true with our physical bodies in the age of airbrushing, filters, and plastic surgery. We are imperfect, contradictory, asymmetrical beings, and we must be able to be with ourselves as we are.

This painting taught me a lot.