For long, every one of us has been impressed by being loved by other people, leaving behind the most beautiful bit in love, which is to love yourself aka self-love. Majority of us yearn to be loved because it gives us comfort and a great feeling, but self-love gives us more than that.
Self-love can mean something different for each person because we all have many different ways to take care of ourselves. Figuring out what self-love looks like for you as an individual is an important part of your mental health.
Self-love can be defined as a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth as this motivates one to make healthy choices in life therefore a positive attitude towards life. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. Others define self-love as taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Self-love also means not settling for less than you deserve.
It is important for us to appreciate the fact that when self-love is exhibited, it sets a tone for how other people should treat you. Self-love involves impressing oneself and not anyone else, you find happiness in doing things that give pleasure to you. Loving yourself provides you with self-confidence and self-worth and in general, you feel more positive. Even if your challenges are because of a mistake that you made, self-love encourages you to learn from your mistake and move on. It’s the unconditional support and compassion that you give to yourself that ultimately translates to good health, high self-esteem, happiness, total balance, and well-being.
It is very bad to minimize the good things about ourselves and our positive qualities because of our shortcomings, past failures and poor decisions made because one can never live their past again, but their experience can help them to live a better future ahead.
Ways to practice self-love include:
- Becoming mindful. People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel, and want.
- Taking actions based on need rather than want. By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behaviour patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.
- Practicing good self-care. You will love yourself more when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy, and healthy social interactions.
- Making room for healthy habits. Start truly caring for yourself by mirroring that in what you eat, how you exercise, and what you spend time doing. Do stuff, not to “get it done” or because you “have to,” but because you care about you.
Finally, to practice self-love, start by being kind, patient, gentle and compassionate to yourself, the way you would with someone else that you care about.
The authors are; Ms. Aisha Naava; a Nurse Dispenser working with Kawolo General Hospital and
Ms. Lilian Nuwabaine Luyima; a BSc Nurse & MSN-Midwife & Women’s’ Health Specialist working with Aga Khan University Hospital