Self-Love: What it is and how to develop the skill of self-love

By Leah Gichuki

The dictionary defines self-love as “One's positive attitude towards self or positive opinion or evaluation of oneself”. There are other ways that one can define what is and what is not, self-love.

Self-love is the value and the worth you experience within yourself separate and apart from anyone’s declaration of their love for you. It is generated from the inside and regulates the way we experience external love towards others and ourselves. Self-Love is not a self-obsession with oneself but a healthy respect for who you are and your value.

How do you know you love yourself in a healthy manner?
A healthy sense of self love is a baseline of how you allow others to treat you and a genesis of how we treat others. You cannot allow others to treat you beneath what you have established for yourself. An insufficient sense of Self Love can be observed for example, in situations where individual/s disrespect you but you keep on showing up for the same treatment every other time. The other side of insufficient self-love can be manifested through self-pompousness. To explain this, such a person finds a que in a place of service and in an effort to intimidate others, they throw words like “Do you know who I am?”. This is baffling because when one uses the phrase of do you know who I am others will think “…how will I know who you are if you don’t know who you are?”. Imagine the task of dealing with someone who does not know who they are. Other times the insufficient self-love will manifest through a person’s identification with labels and class…e.g. I drive the latest make of brand X or they use the address they live in. The question begs if all the superficial labels are taken away what is your Identity? It is not a label definitely but may indicate a lack of control of what is going on within the person.

Why is a healthy sense of love important?

  • It informs your Identity. Identity is the source of emotional and social stability. If you know who you are and your own value, you will master your own individuality.
  • It accelerates your self-actualization: Self-actualization is the process of maximizing and manifesting all that you can be in the world. This can be achieved by taking initiative and being the engine that drives you. Failure to be your own engine will lead to Self-Sabotage.
  • It helps you set up healthy personal boundaries and enhances a healthy self-esteem. Self-esteem is an attitude born out of self-love. It is a combination of both feelings and actions for yourself.

Tips for developing Self Love

  1. Learn how to evaluate and validate external data and information that you consume. Information is known to have an influence on the soul which affects our moods. For example; it is not true that for one to be considered beautiful you have to be light skinned and of a certain body proportion.
  2. Speak good into your life: Statements that negate your state of being should never be entertained regardless of the source.
  3. Control the free radicals in your subconscious mental processes; do not live in the past as both cannot be experienced one is gone and the other is yet to happen. This can be achieved through focused awareness of the present moment.
  4. Build yourself before you embrace the world. Examine the people in your current circle; do they have your best interest at heart? If they disapprove or criticize you for real or imagined shortcomings how will it affect you? If the self-love is insufficient, the self-esteem may be negatively affected.

To sum it up, we define ourselves by what we give our hearts to. Therefore, sufficient self-love is evident when your self-esteem does not fluctuate due to situational experiences. If you love yourself and accept you then the world does not mark your value.

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