Originally Published by the National Urban League Young Professionals for the Mental Health Month 2020 Blog Series:
I define self-love as a conscious decision to commit to personal worth, awareness, and happiness, without compromising ones’ well-being to take care of others. Essentially, M.O.E. (Me Over Everything). I know that may sound a little selfish, but honestly adopting this perspective has really enhanced my personal and professional relationships. Because by filling my own cup, I’m able to pour so much more into others.
Now I didn’t just wake up and suddenly thrive in self-love. I actively started this journey a few years back. A lifelong journey filled with constant effort and discipline. A journey that’s unique to my environment, family history, childhood experiences, personality, and preferences. A journey that I CHOOSE to pursue daily, which through trial and error, has exposed areas awaiting improvement, unveiled hidden personal desires, sharpened my emotional intelligence, and created opportunities for new experiences. I appreciate this lifestyle now more than ever because it’s really one of the main reasons I have hope during this lock down.
Full transparency, I’ll admit to having a hard time with the initial transition of this pandemic. Being someone who struggles with unexpected changes, I literally went through the stages of grief trying to process the loss of our “normal.” Shock of working from home. Denial about the severity of the situation. Anger that plans were cancelled. Bargaining that if “outside opened back up” I would always say yes when people invited me out. Depressed about isolation, deaths, unemployment rates, travel bans, inclement weather (Buffalo often experiences all four seasons in one day), the list goes on and on. But over the last few weeks, I FINALLY entered the stage of acceptance that “it is what it is.”
So, I’ve been growing though this with healthy coping strategies that I’ve had on reserve in my self-love tank. I write through it in my [blog] posts. I sing through it in my living room doing YouTube karaoke. I sweat through it with Xtreme Hip Hop step exercises. I cook through it, trying new and healthy recipes from scratch. I read through it with my Bible and countless self-help/motivational books. I hydrate through it, making sure I attempt to drink a gallon of water a day to help my melanin flourish. I sleep through it because that recommended 7-9 hours does wonders for my mood and productivity. I dream through it by crossing things off my bucket list. I relax through it by drinking ginger tea or a glass of red wine, lighting my aroma therapy candles (Eucalyptus is a great stress relief scent) and jamming to 90s R&B. I walk through it on sunny days. I breathe and stretch through it to release the tension in my body. And I pray through it, asking God for peace and comfort to accept the things I can’t change and having faith that things will be better soon.
Long story short, I encourage you to start your self-love journey today. Present you will love you and future you will thank you!