BTS and BTS ARMY: Our Journey to Self-love

"I wish I could love myself." 'We! Love! You!'

"I wish I could love myself." 'We! Love! You!'

"I wish I could love...myself."

When Kim Namjoon (RM) composed his solo song Reflection - found on BTS' second full-length album WINGS - he probably never thought that these words would initiate a call-and-response fan chant of love.

You are seen

Since their debut, BTS has never shied away from topics relating to mental health. "We feel that people who have the platform to talk about those things really should talk more," SUGA stated in their interview with Entertainment Weekly earlier this year. SUGA clearly believes in this sentiment, as he has openly addressed his personal battles with OCD, anxiety, and depression in his debut solo album AgustD.

"On the other side of the famous idol rapper,

Stands my weak self, it's a bit dangerous..."

In this line from his song The Last, SUGA battles with the image of his two sides. The one that the public sees and the one he, alone, knows to exist. Most people with mental illness can relate to this feeling. There is the self that you wear for your family and friends. The face you wear just to get through the day. The you that surfaces when no one is around.

This can be a very isolating experience. However, BTS creates a relationship with ARMY that allows room for no one to feel alone by always sharing their own insecurities with us. Some of the best examples of BTS allowing ARMY to see their vulnerability were presented throughout the BTS docuseries Burn The Stage. There were many moments where they appeared fragile, but these moments were some of the most potent in the series. BTS granted the audience access to their doubts, pains, sorrows, and triumphs.

Life's A Marathon

BTS also shows that self-care comes in different forms. That life is not always about doing more, but doing less, in a world where we are asked to want more, attain more, seek more. The lines from their track Paradise from their second album in the 'Love Yourself' Series. Love Yourself: Tear asks us to do the opposite.

'There's no need to run without even knowing the reason

It's alright to not have a dream

If you have moments where you feel happiness for a while

It's alright to stop.'

These lines reassured ARMY that it's okay to not know what's next. It's fine to live in the moment and to be happy. Here we have one of the most successful groups in the world, creating a message that is a direct contrast to what most people in our daily lives tell us to do.

Everything slow

This message is important because sometimes in life, we do want to stop. In moments such as the death of a loved one, a break-up, a horrible time in work, family life, school or during a mentally, or physically painful time, we seek for the world and for life to slow down. While listening RM's second solo album MONO, it feels like he's giving the listeners permission to stop for a while.

MONO brings a breath of air into your lungs. It gives the opportunity to cry when tears refuse to fall. Sometimes in life, that's all you want: a moment to breathe and an outlet to allow your sadness without judgment. BTS generously gifts those spaces within their music and lyrics.

The Gift of Laughter

Laughter is another gift. ARMY patiently awaits every Tuesday to view the new episode of BTS: RUN, and then "ARMY Twitter" explodes with commentary and memes as we dissect every funny and befuddling moment. From Bon Voyage episodes, VLives, to Bangtan Bombs, many of the laugh-till you-cry moments and inside jokes come from these little gifts. These forms of content, for the BTS ARMY, all give permission to forget and laugh.

Love Yourself

BTS could have gone the easy route and been a different kind of Kpop group who didn't touch these topics, who pretended to be perfect. Instead, they created a world and relationship with ARMY through their music and content and asked everyone to love themselves a little more. They challenged us to heal.

These experiences create a bond of trust and respect that allows the fandom to develop into a space of support for each other and for BTS. In 2017, one night on a small stage in Brazil, BTS and ARMY created one such moment. The Brazilian Army found a way to say something to RM, BTS, and themselves.

We can all find love for ourselves, within ourselves, but we don't have to do it alone.

"Please, ARMY, remember what we say. Love Myself. Love Yourself."

"You are allowed to free yourself from the belief that you are undeserving of happiness." - TOGETHER WE ARE STRONG

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Images & Footage by: BTS & Big Hit

Written by: Lee

Edited by: Caitlin