Valentine’s Day is thought of as a day to celebrate romantic love. However, it is also an opportunity to reflect on the power of self-love. Loving ourselves is the foundation of all healthy relationships, and it begins with treating ourselves with kindness, respect, and understanding. This journey starts with the awareness that one deserves just as much love and affection as anyone else.
What is self-love?
Self-love is an adventurous journey where we navigate through the stormy seas of negative self-talk and set sail towards the calm waters of accepting ourselves. It is about setting boundaries, learning to say no, and putting ourselves first.
The practice goes beyond pampering ourselves with bubble baths and face masks. It is about being kind to ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally. “People won’t really know to what extent others love them if they do not love themselves,” says Arouba Kabir, counselling psychologist, Bengaluru.
Happiest Health lists a few acts of self-love you can practise as a token of appreciation to yourself. So, take the first step today, and start loving yourself by doing these small activities.
Self-care as self-love
According to Kabir, self-care is a step towards self-love. It includes a variety of practices and activities. From having a daily routine to spending quality time with loved ones, to practising mindfulness (focusing on oneself, paying attention to the surroundings and the people around, living in the moment and so on and self-compassion, there are many ways to cultivate self-care in our lives. By prioritising our emotional, mental, and physical well-being, we can improve self-esteem and lead a fulfilling life. Remember, self-care is not just about pampering ourselves but nurturing and loving ourselves from the inside out.
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Self-worth is the secret ingredient
Anjali Ramesh, 25-year-old Mumbai-based educator and psychology student, sees self-worth as complex and interwoven with self-respect and admiration. Although it is influenced by external factors, positive self-worth is key to self-love.
Balancing self-preservation and mindfulness are important for positive self-worth. Self-preservation is key to positive self-worth. Taking care of oneself through activities like exercise, healthy eating and self-care, one feels confident, empowered and deserving of happiness.
A secure, loving environment where one feels supported and cherished works wonders. Moreover, therapy to facilitate self-compassion and help tackle self-deprecating beliefs and behavioural patterns enhances the quality of life.
Read: Self-worth: a collaborative journey
Self-talk: an act of self-love
Our inner dialogue shapes our perception of ourselves and our life. Self-talk is a simple and effective tool that transforms self-perception and outlook. When we practise positive self-talk, we are taking a step towards self-love by speaking kindly and encouragingly to ourselves.
Lines like, ‘I am worthy of love and respect’, ‘I trust in my abilities and the decisions I make’, and ‘I am strong and resilient’ that we say to ourselves are acts of reminding ourselves of our strengths, capabilities, and worth.
It takes practise and effort. Moreover, it improves our mental and emotional well-being, increases self-esteem, and leads to a happier life.
Read: The power of self-talk: quietening the inner critic
Positive affirmations for self-love
Affirmations, rooted in the law of attraction, manifest our reality by the power of our thoughts. Positive thoughts attract positive outcomes, and negative thoughts attract negative outcomes. To cultivate a healthy sense of self-worth, one must focus on uplifting thoughts such as “I am worthy,” “I am intelligent and capable,” and “I trust my abilities and decisions”.
Lizzo, American singer, rapper, and flutist, sings self-care messages to her own body in front of the mirror. The power of speaking words of love to your body is immense as the body absorbs the compliments and emits positivity and heals from within.
Read: Positive affirmation: build strength through positive thoughts and statement
Self-love and self-care are important for overall happiness and well-being. On this Valentine’s Day, prioritise loving yourself through self-care and positive self-talk. This can enhance not only your happiness but also strengthen your relationships with others.