A practical example of self-love and how to develop it
Before we continue on how to develop self-love, keep in mind these two definitions of self-love:
- an appreciation of one’s own worth or virtue
- proper regard for and attention to one’s own happiness or well-being
Let’s look at a hypothetical situation where two people face the same issue, but handle it in different ways.
Person A is feeling very down on themselves because they tried something and it failed. Person A goes to the freezer, takes out the ice cream tub and binges on it, finishing the entire container. Afterward, they despise themselves and beat themselves up with their inner critic. They give up on what they were trying to do since it’s no use anyway. They feel that someone like them should have known better than to try something like what they failed at. It was doomed from the beginning.
Person B is also feeling down on themselves because they tried something and it failed. Person B puts pen to paper and writes it all down. All the hopes, fears, disappointments, and other feelings flood onto the page. After they do a brain dump of all their negative feelings, they are able to take a step back and analyse the situation more logically. They go back to the growth mind-set philosophy and realize that “failures” are really just learning opportunities. They show compassion to themselves and instead of an inner critic beating them up, their self-talk is kinder. They tell themselves “Ouch. That really hurt and was disappointing, but it’s ok. This is not the end. I will pick myself up and try again. I can do this. Now, what can I learn from what just happened?”
It’s the same situation that both people face, yet the reactions are completely different. Person B showed themselves kindness and compassion. They handled the disappointment in a much healthier way.
How to Develop Self-Love?
Pray About It
No problem is ever too big for Allah – ever. This includes the battles in our mind and heart. We need to remind ourselves that Allah loves us. Whenever we feel that something is too big for us or we are struggling with something, sit on the musallah and talk to Allah and maybe shed a few tears too. Thereafter, know very well that Allah will handle it and give you guidance and strength.
Silence Your Inner Critic
No one can rip you to shreds emotionally more than your own inner critic. Just because you fail, does not make you a failure. Not understanding or knowing something does not mean that you are stupid. It just means that you have more to learn.
Speak Kindly to Yourself
Now that we have the inner critic out of the way, it’s time to replace it with a more positive influence or as psychologists call it an “inner coach”. Our self-talk is huge. Talk to yourself as if you were encouraging a friend. Inner coaches tell you “I can do this!” Have self-compassion – it’s one of the major benefits of self-love and also works to make you more happy and content with your life in general.
Adopt a Growth Mind-set
A growth mind-set means that you commit to learning and growing as you go. It means that you see a direct connection between effort, success, and learning. When you have a growth mind-set, it helps you take setbacks in stride and helps you realize that you haven’t really “failed” until you have stopped trying.
Accept and Celebrate Your Quirks
It’s ok if you have an awkward moment every now and then. They keep you humble and more authentic. Learn to laugh at yourself. Realize that you aren’t perfect and that your quirks make you more uniquely “you.”