What does self-love mean to you?

When self-love became a significant talking point during our conversation on healthy relationships last November, we knew we had to have a conversation dedicated solely to self-love, which happened at The Kickback on February 19th.   Mhairi led out on a deep, intriguing conversation that had us all engaged and thinking hard.

To warm us up, Mhairi asked what self-love meant to us.  Responses included:

  • How people treat it. – Elisha
  • Having respect for myself first, loving myself first, putting myself first. – Demi

Shaniqua thinks that is simply being able to love yourself and accepting there will be bad times.  She then went on to elaborate that although she does love herself, there are times when she is happy and wants to die, but loves herself enough not to kill herself.

There was a lovely feeling in the room when Mhairi asked what we most love about ourselves.  Shaniqua revealed that she loves her smile, her heart for people, her laugh and her hair, despite having a love-hate relationship with it. Elisha most loves that he is peaceful, as his mum gave him the name peace, and Lia most loves that she is determined and gets stuff done.

Demi has come to love things she used to hate about herself, like being emotional, sensitive and touchy, which she admits took a long time.  On the other hand, Rhianna most loves that she is straightforward and honest, which can be hard sometimes, but makes her feel better.

We then had to think about why it’s so difficult for a lot of people to have self-love.  Shaniqua believes it is the process of becoming who you are and realising that you are enough.  Demi used her own experiences to illustrate her point, speaking about how the people and influences you are surrounded by can lead to you feeling down, lost and a lacking in self-love.  “We need to support each other move away from the negative,” said Elisha.

When Mhairi brought up the social media version of self-love and whether it can be healthy or detrimental, it led to a conversation about insecurities and people’s behaviours.  Shaniqua thinks that people can be insecure and still love yourself, as we all have insecurities but it is about how you come to live with them.

We then begun to speak about the positive and negative behaviours of our friends, and what we would be willing to accept – “No one is perfect,” Demi expressed.  Rhianna says that it depends on the person and how they affect her, as some traits don’t have to be accepted as just “how they are”.  In response to that, Shaniqua said that it’s about knowing what you can tolerate and not allowing your friends to walk all over you.

So what do we do to make ourselves feel better and carry out acts of self-love?

  • Putting the headphones in and going for walk in the summertime, soaking up the sun.  Also, “having a good vent to someone, everyone should do that.” – Shaniqua
  • Listening to electronic music and music that I’ve never heard before. – Elisha
  • Cleaning and blaring the music out, as “it stops me from thinking and tires me out,” and “putting a bit of fake tan on.  That makes me feel good.” – Demi

Mhairi forced us to think hard when she asked, why is self-love so important and do you think you can have peace of mind without self-love?  Rhianna thinks that you can have one without the other, as you may not be searching for self-love and be at peace.  Shaniqua shared that she found self-love before inner peace, due to her relationship with God, as truly loving yourself can be hard but finding inner-peace is harder.

A really interesting question was whether you can love other people without self-love.  Rhianna thinks that you can, but that it sometimes comes at the expense of self-love, which is not always healthy.  Shaniqua also agreed that it was possible, but that when you have self-love, the love you have for others is truer, purer and more accepting, because you are more accepting of self.

We also spoke about giving so much love to others that we don’t have any left over for ourselves.  Demi provided a real-life example of how she had taken so long to love herself, because she gave it all away to someone else and never held any back for herself.  On the flip side, Shaniqua brought up taking love from other people and trying to get validation, rather than learning to love yourself on your own terms.

The final question?  What advice we would give to someone who was learning to love themselves?  We’ll leave you with what we had to say:

  • “You need to figure it out yourself.”  You need to question things, reflect, and look back at your experiences. – Rhianna
  • We all go through things, there’s a time when you’ve got to realise what you’re missing. – Elisha
  • You’ve got to go through the process. – Demi
  • Spend time on your own, getting to know you, what you like and coming to terms with your flaws. – Shaniqua

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