On Self Love: Suggestions and Advice
One of the most important things I stand for is self-love. It is something that has saved my life time and time again. As someone who has been studying and practicing self-love for the past six years, I think of how important this aspect of self-care has led me to survive and surrender some dangerous forms of negative behaviors. Before I overwhelm you with suggestions, let me first give you some background information on self-love since there is a ton of misleading assumptions that people make when we discuss self-love.
Self-love is the practice of rituals that develop a strong connection to one’s true self. It is about cherishing and appreciating the core values of a person while getting in touch with how one prefers to carry themselves in life. Moreover, self-love helps foster care for one’s well-being, emotionally, physically, spiritually, socially, and more.
Traditionally, self-love was confused with egotism and selfishness. Love tended to be approached as something to give to others rather than to oneself. In the 1950s, a German-born American psychologist called Erich Fromm proposed that self-love was, in fact, central to one’s sanity. He took a misconception about self-love and turned it into a staple of a person’s well-being. Nowadays, self-love is hailed as a staple of healthy mental health. I have certainly encountered many doctors on my recovery journey who guided me to adopt self-love practices.
The ways through which self-love works are not so much to enhance one’s romantic relationships. On the contrary, they are more about one’s connection with oneself. Having an available space to get in touch with oneself helps find out more about what they need or expect from life in general. In doing so, you start to develop an appreciation for yourself, your own awesomeness. Besides, self-love allows for a way to explore what makes a person comfortable, and what they feel okay with expressing in relationships (be it friendship or relationships with acquaintances, along with romantic ones).
So, are you ready for some of my favorite self-love suggestions?
Taking Care of Yourself: Diet
I am learning a lot about the power of taking the time to prepare meals for myself. Now, I know it is nice to sometimes also get take-out. So, I will say that there is power in that choice, too, but I suggest that you take the time to find foods that make you feel good in the long run. Part of this journey is about taking the time to see, to notice, which foods give you energy without leading to a frenzy. Our bodies run on such a fine and delicate balance. I know often our culture promotes easy fixes for energy: energy drinks, sugar-laden foods, and caffeine are presented as eligible choices. But, I invite to see what makes your body stay steady and stable.
Prepare foods that nourish your body. I like looking up recipes for food and smoothies, snacks, and desserts. For me, the more natural and raw the vegan food is, the better I tend to feel. My favorite vegan YouTube channels are The Raw Boy, Rawvana, and Fully Raw Kristina. Other easy cooked vegan food blogs are Oh She Glows, The Minimalist Baker, and Pick Up Limes.
Taking Care of Yourself: Hygiene
Another aspect of self-love is in incorporating more self-care into your daily routine. This was particularly hard for me when I was beginning my recovery journey from self-harming and other destructive habits. Brushing your teeth, combing your hair, styling clothes are all efforts that help you stay engaged in your own wellbeing.
You can start with the basics and then work your way up. Taking the time to express your personality and mood through your clothes, your hairstyle, and your makeup is empowering.
But, it also extends beyond the basics. Once you feel comfortable doing the basics, you can then try to go a step further. For example, a nice bath after a stressful day can sometimes turn the whole day around. Face masks, nail care, hair care, overall body’s hygiene-related care.
You do not need to purchase expensive masks and moisturizers. Coconut oil, for instance, is a lifesaver when it comes to moisturizing for me. Essential oils go a long way instead of expensive perfumes.
Taking Care of Yourself: Mental Well-Being
Spend time getting to know yourself. Watch yourself in your interactions and notice the little blips in your self-esteem based on triggers. What makes you uncomfortable? Then, delve deeper in your meditations; see why this is something that makes you upset. Examine your past, sift through memories and find the roots of a given trigger. If you are intimidated by meditation, try a guided meditation. My favorite two sources for guided meditations are the Headspace app, or the YouTube channel called Bex Life.
Keeping a journal is another way to track one’s mental health. Free-writing your thoughts and examining them helps track recurring thoughts and insecurities that you can tackle.
For your mental well-being, you may want to include a strong support system. For me, that includes weekly talk therapy, meditation, and a strong familial bond with the people closest to me.
Taking Care of Yourself: Affirmations and Confidence
Now, throughout your day, remind yourself of your own value. Establish a space where you can talk to yourself safely and gently. Give yourself nudges when you notice yourself beating yourself up. Alert your mind to what makes you awesome instead of focusing on negative aspects of your personality or appearance. Remind yourself that everything works out in the end. There are many affirmations available all over the web if you want to get started. Check out Louise Hay as a starting point. She is epic in this affirmation field.
Taking Care of Yourself: Put in Goodness
Take care of your mind, body, and spirit. Give your body foods that help it feel good and strong. Enjoy the deviations from the norm when they happen, sure, but for the most part, give your body some love. Put in helpful books, media, and thoughts as part of your intake of ideas. Make it a point to find material that fosters your own growth as a person. Show yourself love affection and goodness. This includes not only books and food, but also company. Surround yourself with people who are supportive, understanding, and uplifting. Your relationships need to be positive to create a comfortable space for your budding self-love to grow.
Taking Care of Yourself: Invest and Pamper Yourself
Do a face mask or spritz a fun perfume. Why even choose? Do both! Paint your nails. Or even dress up in your favorite clothes. Take a bath and read your most favorite book. Set aside some time for you every day. Shower yourself with affection. Give yourself breaks from the constant grind of life. Watch your favorite guilty pleasure movies or videos. Grab some popcorn and enjoy.
Remember: establishing a nice relationship with yourself is still a celebration of love. It is every bit as valid and important as buying flowers for your special someone.
Invest time and energy in your own well-being. I like reading articles, magazines, books about mental-health and overall wellness too to get ideas on ways to better care for myself. Try to engage with yourself to understand yourself better and comprehend the things that make you tick so you can address them in your life with someone you trust.
© 2018 Dina Abdel Hady