28 Feb What is Self Love?
By Sithembiso Mnguni
A lot of people have been socialised to view self-love as a luxury, some believe that they are not deserving of self-love or any kind of love. Self-love is a necessity and taking time for oneself is not selfish. It is the most important relationship we can have with ourselves outside of everyone and everything happening around us.
Moreover, self-love is an honest and authentic appreciation for oneself. It supports and enhances our emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual growth. Therefore, it is important for our well-being, as well as building and maintaining healthy relationships with others. Self-love is different for each person, cultivating it is a deeply unique and personal journey. It requires us to pay attention to how we think, feel, and therefore, acting accordingly. Oftentimes we criticize ourselves without thinking about what it means and the consequences it has on one’s self-esteem. Self-love entails being mindful of how we speak to ourselves. It can look like waking up every day and choosing to honour and show up for yourself, showing yourself compassion, speaking kindly, and spending time pursuing your interests and goals. Therefore, it is important to be intentional and consistent in how you talk to yourself. It shows an empathic understanding, self-awareness, compassion, kindness, honour, and acceptance of oneself and others. Valuing oneself and one’s esteem, as well as others, implies deepening and enhancing one’s life in a more meaningful way.
Self-love, self-acceptance and self-knowledge go hand in hand. When we have taken the time to know and understand ourselves, we become more in tune with our emotions which makes us better equipped to accept ourselves and enhances our lives. Self-love enables healing and wholeness. Self-love is forgiving and embracing who we are. Without self-love we cannot love others fully.
Self-care forms a vital part of self-love. When we love ourselves we have to care for our overall well-being. Demonstrating self-love through self-care does not have to be expensive, it can be as simple as making yourself a cup of tea. Here are a few ways you can practice self-care and self-love:
- Practice mindfulness, yoga or meditate
- Exercise, take a walk
- Journal about your day, or something you love followed by the reasons why you love it
- Making yourself a cup of tea/coffee
- Practicing communicating your needs
- Setting clear boundaries
Sithembiso is – Educational Psychologist and a Psychosocial Programme Lead at the Tomorrow Trust