Words by Safiyyah Hanif
Take a moment to think about who you love and who you cherish and care for. Whilst I’m sure many of your nearest and dearest spring to mind, did you think to include yourself in that list? How easily could you say that you love yourself?
Self-love is not just bubble baths and face masks, it goes far beyond that. The way in which you take care of yourself is an expression of love. Choosing to eat foods that nourish your body and making the choice to move your body mindfully are both acts of self-care. In addition, having respect for yourself is one of the most important acts of self-love. Always believe that you deserve to be treated with honesty and integrity, stand up to the people who try to put you down, and always believe that you are worthy and that you are enough.
It is this relationship that you have with yourself that can be either the most healing or the most destructive. It is the foundation for the life and relationships that you build, the core of your very being. Self-love is looking in the mirror and choosing to ignore the negative comments that surface. It is choosing to accept, embrace, and enjoy every inch of what you see in that reflection. It is taking the time to strengthen your intuition and trust yourself more, to stop doubting your decisions and talents, and believe in the miracle that is YOU.
You are your most important relationship.
You must care for yourself and be kind and respect yourself as you would any loved one. Notice your inner dialogue - is it critical and judgmental? Or is it supportive and joyful? To feel love you must be kind, live through softness and forgiveness rather than constantly attempting to control and change the parts of yourself that you don’t like.
You become what you believe, therefore, to achieve your goals or manifest your dreams you should work on keeping that internal dialogue light and positive. Every time you think you can’t, replace it with ‘I can’ and everything you think you are not, replace with ‘I am’. Loving yourself does not make you self-centered, it makes you feel empowered, irreplaceable, and confident. Let this confidence flow into every aspect of your life and fill you up with so much self-love so that you can receive the love you deserve from others.
So often we focus our attention on the relationships we have with others in order to feel ‘complete’, we crave attention because we feel that there is a part of us missing that we hope to find in someone else. Sometimes we turn to food instead of people or we turn to alcohol or excessive exercise, but we always look outside to avoid what is really going on inside. You owe it to yourself to shift your focus inwards and confront your fears because when you fill your emptiness with love and compassion you will allow beautiful things to happen. You will always attract the energy you become, therefore, to attract positive, supportive, and strong relationships into your life you must first embody this energy yourself. One step at a time, one small change in narrative at a time, and you could transform your world, attracting a life of abundance and fulfillment.
Working on yourself is hard, you feel too vulnerable, too exposed, but it is in these moments that you really learn who you are. Your morals, your values, your dreams and desires live and breathe in every cell of your body; take each one and wear it with pride because this is where love will find you. And when a woman has self-love she can tackle anything. As a wife, a daughter, a mother or a friend, the way you feel about yourself will allow you to show up for others in the best way possible. Take time every day to recognize your strengths. Can you praise the way you juggle motherhood or congratulate yourself just for making it through the day with a smile on your face?
Whether you are in the midst of good times or bad, be your biggest cheerleader, and never forget that you were your first and will be your last love.
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Safiyyah Hanif is an English Literature student who believes words are our most powerful weapon. She wants to use her voice to help others and pave the way for more honest and open conversations.