Self-love can be hard at times, especially with the fact that people are constantly comparing themselves with one another. Social media has had a huge impact on self-love as it sets high standards for almost everything.
Sonya Minasi, who is a counseling intern at the SUNY Plattsburgh counseling center, shares her knowledge on self-love and what she thinks is essential to know about self-love. Counselor Minasi conducted a self-love program with some students at SUNY Plattsburgh and has seen a massive improvement.
According to Minasi, self-love is about making sure that you are loving yourself because you are going to spend the rest of your life with yourself.
To love yourself you need to have self-compassion, which means acknowledging that you are human and you make mistakes too. It is being honest about who you are and having empathy, compassion and understanding with yourself. We are all human and we are going to face several challenges. “It is OK to feel what you are feeling, but do not allow one moment to define you. Keep your head up and learn from it all,” Minasi said.
Self-compassion comes in when you know you have been trying, pushing forward and saying to yourself, “I will take care of myself.” People can also de-stress in different ways. It can be doing their nails, playing video games, eating ice cream, watching a movie or just doing what they love.
“Put yourself first because you can’t take care of anyone else properly if you neglect yourself,” Minasi said. People always want to put others first, but the reality is that if you do not treat yourself nicely, you will not know how to be nice to others. You have to be kind to yourself because it will help us not only decrease our anxiety, but also increase our self-esteem.
You need to create a good relationship with yourself, and hold on to what you believe in. Your values will help you stand up for yourself and not tolerate harsh, degrading or abusive words from someone else. Acknowledging what you believe in and knowing what your values are is indispensable because it represents who you are and empowers your personality. This will in turn increase your self-esteem and help you respect the beliefs and values of those around you. “The more we know ourselves the easier it will be for us to stand up for ourselves,” Minasi suggested
“Trust in your abilities. Know your strengths, what works for you (and) what doesn’t. Know your boundaries, your values (and) your beliefs,” Minasi said. When you are thinking about self-love, it may help to think about your accomplishments. When you trust in yourself, you are empowering yourself and increasing your courage as well.
“Journaling is a great way to do this because it puts everything in black and white,” Minasi said. When you journal, you will be able to reflect on what you wrote. It also allows you to view your strengths and weaknesses. Nobody knows you as much as you know yourself. Being honest with yourself will help you know what you can and cannot do and possibly make changes along the way to ensure your happiness.
“Replace negative thinking with positive. Repeat a mantra that works for you like ‘I am amazing,’ ‘I deserve to be happy,’ ‘I am beautiful being me’ and ‘I can do this,’” Minasi suggested.
“Understand that the root cause of fear is our inability to tell (an) illusion from reality. Most of our negative thoughts are not reality,” Minasi said.
“Understanding and knowing what works for you to lift you is also very important when talking about self-love. It can be friends, family, music, nature, dancing, coloring and many more,” Minasi suggested. Keep bad energy far away because it will not only stress you out, but also take away from your happiness. Try to stay away from anything that is constantly making you sad or making you feel unworthy.
Quieting your inner critic is also necessary. As humans, we always feel like we need to evaluate ourselves. Being overly critical of yourself, setting standards that are impossible to reach, can be detrimental.Negative thoughts about oneself are often how low self-esteem begins. “Silencing those negative thoughts that bully you is needed,” Minasi said. These thoughts might be induced by peers, elders in society or even social media. Thoughts like “I am not pretty enough,” “I am not skinny enough,” “That person does not like me” and “I failed that test so I am a failure,” are disruptive to one’s happiness.
Minasi said to love yourself, you need to be compassionate with yourself and understand that you are only human.
Be kind and show self-love!