Thursday, April 22, 2021

S - Self Love - Smart Love


You are getting ready to prepare dinner. Suddenly you have this craving for aloo parata and start cooking potatoes, when someone walks in and says, “I wish you would cook dum aloo, and kadi chawal today, I love it”. What do you do?

These are the simple things in our lives that test our self-love. It doesn’t mean that if you give up the aloo parata for a day, you don’t love yourself, but if you are always putting the happiness, needs or wants of others before your own, then you should seriously doubt your self-love.

Many people tend to confuse self-love for narcissism or selfishness. Self-love can mean something different for each person but it is definitely not narcissism or selfishness which are harmful behavior for self and others. On the other hand, self-love will help you avoid toxic relationships, make healthy choices both personally and professionally and nurture yourself with care because you are holding yourself in high esteem and respect for who you are. You will keep others and yourself happy and safe.
Physical self-love is how you see yourself and your body.
Self-acceptance can be your mental self-love which is about the way you think of yourself.
Self-respect is the way you treat yourself which is your emotional or psychological self-love.

According to professors Neff and Germer, “Self-kindness entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than flagellating ourselves with self-criticism”. Figuring out what self-love is for us can be important for both our mental and physical health, especially if we are going through an illness which threatens our life and is going to leave us minus a few body parts in some cases. Self love is neither a luxury or a fad for those with too much time on hand, and huge bank balance. In fact it is important for those who lack those.

We usually tend to build an image of perfection in our mind though we have very often heard that people are meant to be real and not perfect. When we think we are not meeting that standard of perfectionism, we start looking down upon ourselves. Soon others will follow to do the same.In time the emotion can turn to self-hatred. You can complain about a bully who is outside, but what about this bully you bring-up in yourself? Self criticism is the worst form of bullying, because there is no escape from it.

We often hear people say, “I hate myself” and many times they mean it. What would be the outcome of a treatment if you go into it, with that attitude?

Now let us consider a person who appreciates oneself, has high regards for his/her own well-being and values happiness. Considers taking care of one's own needs as well as loved ones, but will not sacrifice self happiness for others constantly. Takes what he/she deserves and doesn’t settle for less. Imagine now this person fighting cancer or any other life-threatening illness?

Do you feel the person who has self-love has a better chance of survival? I do.

Cancer leaves us different from what we were, emotionally and physically. If we have hated ourselves for being stupid, fat, ugly or whatever labels we were made to believe were attached to us, then it would be natural for us developed hatred for us after going through cancer. Somewhere deep inside, the will to fight, overcome and survive may not be strong enough.

What I think or what you think may be just thoughts, let us see what studies have found out so far about self-love and good health.

Self Love is correlated to good mental health, which helps to deal with anxiety, depression and PTSD more effectively. It also improves physical health by improving immunity and stabilizing glucose levels. When you are satisfied with your life, it has a great mental impact, contributing to an overall lower-stress life. Fighting cancer brings in stress, and we don’t have to add to it by not loving ourselves enough.

My mom had narrated a real life incident from her childhood and here it goes, “ A toddler had wandered to the edge of the well when everyone was busy with household chores. The ledge of this well had broken and it was about to be repaired in a day or two. The mom saw the child and started slowly moving towards him so that he would not panic, but the child saw her giggled and jumped into the well. She did not know how to swim, but she did not think about it. Immediately she jumped into the well, caught hold of her baby and held the rings inside the well, waiting to be rescued. The men came and pulled them both out safely”

Love has great power and it gives you the push to do things you thought were of mission impossible type. That emotion should not be limited to others, but should be extended for ourselves as well, which to some extent we all do. We need that self-love which will help us to be kind, patient, gentle and compassionate to ourselves, the way we do with someone that we care about.We have to be aware of self-love and practice it with dedication to get the whole benefit of it..

Start smart love- that is self love- from now.  Keep it going steadily forever, no matter what happens. The one person I have always been in love with is 'ME'. That has helped me come out victorious from many situations without much damage. 


  1. I think self love can be difficult especially for women. In most cultures girls grow up to be modest and nurturing, pleasing others, you name it. Any deviation is easily labeled "overambitious", "selfish", "demanding", whereas the exact same behavior of boys or men would simply mean they're determined, confident and go-getter.
    Oh, and also
    "Eye Roll"

  2. Yes that would be incomplete wihtout an eyeroll LOL. But seriously, how unfair?

  3. Brilliant post Farida. I agree with everything you've said.
    I met a young mother once and the topic of food/recipes popped up. She rattled off her husband's, children's favourite dishes but when I asked her about her favourite, she went quiet. She had to think about it because in all these years she'd only cooked what her family liked!

    So true : "self-love will help you avoid toxic relationships, make healthy choices both personally and professionally and nurture yourself with care because you are holding yourself in high esteem and respect for who you are."

    By the way kadhi chawal beat aaloo parantha:) I love khadhi chawal as much as I love myself, I think;)


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