Loving oneself is essential to our continued survival. You must appreciate who you are in this world and the impact you have. You are alive, living and breathing, able to partake in what the world has to offer. People need to take care of their mind, body, and soul on a consistent basis in order to be their best self. Anything less is a disservice to the entity that is you. We are all individual people in this world, thus you bring a uniqueness to existence that you need to learn to appreciate and cultivate. I know the hustle and bustle of everyday life can sometimes get in the way of being able to indulge in “you”. Nevertheless, you need to prioritize loving who you are in order to be the best version of you.
I believe self love to be a staple of mental health awareness. A lot of mental health concerns can be traced back to a lack of self love. Prioritizing other people or interests over your own general self can be second nature to certain types of people. I know myself to be this kind of person. I tend to deeply put myself into other people’s issues and empathize with them deeply. This can lead me to becoming enveloped in their concerns and losing myself to them. Thus I begin to neglect my own pursuits, issues, etc. This can ultimately lead in a sort of atrophy of self if not handled properly, a feeling I have felt multiple times in my life. Being someone who generally wants to please people does not help. I was developing a sense of selflessness that was becoming a serious detriment to my life. My career, my hobbies, my ideals, they all took a backseat to those of others. I still took showers and still kept up my hygiene, but my mind was not focused on myself. I was losing myself. I cared more about others than myself. I needed to look within myself for the spark that proved that I existed. That I mattered to ME.
Self love is a concept that might be obvious to most, but to those that may be suffering from an illness or going through a season of particular difficulty, self love is a foreign concept. Depression can cause us not to keep up with our physical hygiene, for instance. It can also cause us to lose sight of goals and become anxious and pessimistic about the future. Low self esteem (usually coupled with depression) can cause us to not see ourselves in a positive light, therefore leaving us susceptible to doing things that are not in our best interest (binge drinking, reckless driving, etc) Personality disorders can also play a role in our interpretations of self love, as they can vary in regards to how much a person shows self love. Someone with NPD (Narcissistic personality disorder) may have too much self love, to the point they cause others to lose sight of their own self love, while someone with BPD (bipolar personality disorder) may struggle with loving themselves in relation to the quality of their interpersonal relationships. Nevertheless, I feel anyone can learn to prioritize themselves even that little bit that will allow them to grow and continue to improve.
Learning to love oneself and proving to yourself that you matter is amazing. Cutting out the more self harming behavior that I took part in allowed me to have a different view on life. I want to go out and do more. I feel like my voice has greater meaning. I try to take care of myself and be more in tune with how I am feeling. Meditation and self reflection allow me to get in tune with my inner self and really dive deep into my more closed off feelings. Doing the work to cut out negativity in my life has given me more motivation and a zest for it. All of these feelings coming from within me as I begin to love myself more and cultivate the best version of myself I can. Self love is a love that envelops the mind, body, and soul. It’s not just shaving or taking a shower. It is more than buying nice clothes or working out. It is loving yourself down to the core. It’s knowing that you ARE worth it, no matter what anyone tells you. Your opinion matters more to you than the opinion of anyone outside of you. Never forget that.