Self-Love: The art of finding yourself (to be happy)

By Najwa Shahirah binti Rosdi

“You cannot love others if you do not love yourself.” 

Easier said than done right? When I was younger, I did not really understand what meaning does this sentence carry. “I love myself, of course I would never want to smack my head against the wall purposely.” 

No, it is not necessarily like that. Of course, no one wants to hurt themselves. Even the smallest paper cut on our finger already hurt so much. Let alone, the wounds in our heart, mind and body that we never cared to treat and love them rightly. So, what does love yourself means and why is it important to understand this phrase?

It’s easy by simply asking yourself this now, “Don’t you want to be happy? When am I going to be happy? What does it mean to be truly happy with life?” 

Of course, the answer is different for everyone. But, try to think of something like this. 

When you fail to respect yourself, much less love yourself, you will find yourself blaming you and only you for the pain that you are facing with which, as a result, your life will be consumed by anger, frustration or extreme sadness. To fight this negative mood, there is only one word that comes to my mind: self-love.

Self-love is one of fundamental elements in order to achieve a healthy and happy lifestyle. However, self-love does not always come as easy as you think. 

There are a lot of outside influences that can lure you away from loving yourself. Situations like loving someone who does not love you back, having a good job that makes you unhappy, thinking of other people’s lives are better than yours or being unable to move on and  stuck in the past can tempt you away from loving yourself.  

Certainly, these situations and thoughts are not within our control. We cannot always control how things go, can we?

Here are some ways to get you away from thinking negatively about yourself and instead, start loving yourself.

  1. Surround yourself with positive people. Keeping company who respects you is the first step. Get rid of negative people who always try to bring you down. Start making friends with people who have an optimistic outlook. Positive people help you to change your perspective as well as improve your well-being. 
  2. Building up your confidence. We need confidence to overcome our fears. Lack of confidence leads to weak goals and disrupt your overall quality of life. Instead, start to visualise yourself as what you want to be or do one thing that makes you face your fears every day. 
  3. Take good care of your body. Having a good physical health is a blessing from Allah S.W.T that many Muslims take it for granted. Treat your body as good as possible by eating healthy and exercising. The more kindness you show to yourself physically, the more internal love you will feel. 
  4. Do not talk badly about yourself. Never throw any negative comments to yourself. Try to always speak about yourself positively. Practice saying encouraging phrases like “you can do it!” or “I’m going to get through this nicely!” Reading quotes on self-help books also helps.
  5. Start doing what you love. Do not be ashamed of what interest you have, be it music, photography, books, movies or arts. Reach out for someone who have the same passion as you. This might help you to achieve your goals. Passionate people love other passionate people because they want to help them achieve their goals. 

By suggesting these ways, I hope we all can get rid of negative thoughts that might ‘eat’ you inside and start thinking positively from now on.

 I hope all these suggestions can help you in your journey to find yourself and to be happy. There is a long quote from my father’s favourite band that always inspires me which says:

“When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon. 

Thus, it’s you who define your happiness. Not others. ***

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