A Little Reflection On All This 'Self-Love'

Since life has shifted us into a pandemic, I have had a lot more time to think, reflect and spend time with myself. This time has led me to contemplate the question, what is self-love? It seems to be a term that is thrown around everywhere. Sometimes, I understand it but other times I just want the world to stop telling me about it. Here are the three things that I have discovered about self love.

1. Self-love is about discovering who you are

A. Helwa, in her beautiful book The Secrets of Divine Love, talks about faith and the empowering journey of self-discovery. She reminds us that we are not in this constant pursuit of ‘finding ourselves’ but life is actually a journey of ‘realising ourselves’. Thus, self-love is recognising our potential, our strengths, and weaknesses. It is about accepting all parts of yourself and learning how to thrive. But also, this journey of self-love is about realising we have power and talent already within us and it is up to us to discover this. We are all so unique, self-love will look different for everyone. Once we have recognised who we are, we can begin to accept and excel in our uniqueness. We can feel these moments of joy, peace and solitude through this infinite source of strength (and yes, this self-love will be your greatest source of strength in all the twists and turns of life) just by understanding and tapping into ourselves. So, what I have realised is:   

Self-love is knowing who you are 

Self-love is loving who you are 

Self-love is being okay with who you are 

Self-love is discovering your potential 

Self-love is being comfortable in your own company 

Self-love is being so comfortable in who you are, nothing can change your mind about it 

Self-love is shining so brightly that others are able to share their rays too

2. Self-love is about finding, doing and revelling in the things you love

I want to add a practical note here - to find the things you love, you must be comfortable with yourself. You have to take the time to figure out what it is that sparks the most joy in you. Be that journaling or meditating (these have been super helpful for me!) or anything else, you have to take a practical step towards recognising what self-love is for you. Though it may take a while, believe me when I say, there is something for everyone. A culmination of my favourite Rumi quotes goes like this: 'Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you love, it will not lead you astray. When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy, and when you feel this peaceful joy, know you are near the truth.' So, notice what brings you that peace and happiness, it doesn’t always have to be a strong pull - it could just be something you’ve slightly felt but trust your gut feeling. Your intuition is more sacred than you know. It will lead you to your state of flow and this infinite source of intelligence, creativity and power that you have. Once you are in this state of flow, I think we discover the truth of who we are, the truth of our purpose and existence perhaps, what we are passionate about, what we want to live for. And this has the power to ignite everything around you. Have you ever watched someone when they are so immersed or captured by what they love to do, isn’t it inspiring to be around people in their state of flow? When you allow yourself to do what you love, your light shines and warms everyone around you. And who knows they may even catch their light too!

3. Self-love is not static and just about having cosy, happy days

I have realised that self love moves and grows. I think understanding the concept of self-love is a work-in-progress, because you are shifting between the old habits of yourself as you are discovering and building on this new perspective of yourself. Socrates reminds us that ‘the secrets of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new’ and this is something I have learnt about self-love. It isn’t something we are fighting to discover and keep a hold of but it’s about recognising and noticing your energy, your value and opening yourself up to this new experience, and then building effective habits to love and sustain yourself. Growth is painful and messy and so, self-love is going through the worst of your days and knowing that you’re okay to try again tomorrow. 

Self-love is building 

Self-love is discovering 

Self-love is failing 

Self-love is forgiving yourself 

Self-love is trying again 

We are ever evolving beings so learning who we are and what we love is always going to be changing as we mature - we must give ourselves the space and understanding to grow as we build anew. It’s not a walk in the park to love yourself - think about your own relationships. Sometimes, you can absolutely adore the goodness of someone you love, other times their habits or certain situations you’re in with them can drive you insane. But you love them and you’re in it for the long haul, so you wake up the next day and remind yourself why you love them, you know they deserve grace so you listen and trust them - you make it another day. In this way, you let your relationship grow, you water and nurture it. It’s the same with self-love.  

I realised that self-love is a grounding, very human experience and I wish you the very best discovering it because there is so much to love about you.