Mental Hygiene: Understanding Self-Love by Myra Gahid

Going through simultaneous changes in one’s lifestyle, work environment, and socio-cultural context due to a global pandemic is overwhelming. Feeling pressured to be productive in a time of uncertainty increases the possibility of experiencing burnout, anxiety, and even depression. On the opposite end of productivity hangs the option of not doing anything and of letting go of to-do lists, even for just a few days. Maintaining a balance of accomplishing tasks and having ‘me-time’ is a process, and this begins with self-love.

According to the dictionary, self-love is a regard for one’s own well-being and happiness. Mutiwasekwa (2019) discussed four aspects of self-love: self-awareness, self-worth, self-esteem, and self-care. Below are the definitions of each aspect:

  • Self-awareness – being aware of your thought processes (thoughts, how your thoughts affect your emotions, and how your emotions cause you to act)
  • Self-worth – beliefs you have about yourself (expressed by strengths, talents, and kind acts toward other people)
  • Self-esteem – stems from self-worth, and has everything to do with being content and comfortable with who you are, where you are, and what you have
  • Self-care – acts you do to keep yourself health (eg. taking a bath, eating a balanced diet etc.)

Knowing more about the concept of self-love highlights the importance of the way you reflect about how you see, treat, and value yourself. Having practical ways to understand self-love may help you in your journey of understanding yourself better. Below is a Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love (Khoshaba, 2012):

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Act on what you need
  3. Good self-care
  4. Set boundaries.
  5. Protect yourself.
  6. Forgive yourself.
  7. Live intentionally.

As you progress towards a deeper and a better understanding of yourself, allow your personal experiences to be rooted in genuine self-love.

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