Understanding Self-Love

Asian Alliance for Mental Health
3 min readFeb 20, 2023

By Becca Vu, UW Sophomore

Valentine’s Day — the day of love and romance, historically meant to be spent with a significant other. We so often focus on giving love to others and receiving love from others, but we sometimes forget that we also need to give love to ourselves — self-love.

Self-love can be many different things. It is an appreciation of yourself, it is seeing yourself in a positive light, and it is giving yourself grace after a long and difficult day. With the practice of self-love, you will be able to understand your own value and worth on a deeper level.

What is the importance of practicing self-love? Self-love can help people feel less stressed. Negative feelings and critical thoughts can cause a lot of stress and cause them to feel down. Self-love can also increase one’s empathy. When we are able to see ourselves with love, we are able to see others with love. Self-love helps people gain compassion for others and hold an appreciation for people who are close to them.

However, this can be very difficult. We unfortunately do not live in a society that promotes self-love as a focus. Achievements and comparison with other high achievers in the social world we live in — which does not allow much room for self-love. People continue to measure themselves against others, whether consciously or unconsciously. When we feel inadequate when comparing ourselves to others, we begin to fall into a state of stress and anxiety. Treat yourself with kindness and learn ways of recognizing to practice self-love!

What are ways you can practice self-love? There are many different ways for one to practice — but it can look different for everyone! Here are some ideas to practice this:

Practice Mindfulness

  • Meditation is always a great way to get in the right mindset to jumpstart your practice in self-love. This could include getting deep breathing practices and focusing on the positive things in your life.

Find support

  • It may be difficult to think positively about yourself if everything around you seems negative. It may also take time. You may think about seeking support from your community and talking about yourselves in a way that highlights your worth and value.
  • If you are truly struggling with this, a mental health professional is a great way to start. They may be able to help you with increasing your mind and body awareness.

Celebrate when you can — forgive yourself

  • Don’t beat yourself up! People often have very high expectations of themselves. This can be very harsh on people if situations and experiences are unable to go the way that one wants them to. Make sure to forgive yourself if you make a mistake and give yourself some grace. Celebrate the good things in life whenever you have a victory! This can help keep you motivated and feel more accomplished.

Set boundaries

  • Toxic by Britney Spears is not the way to go for this option! Recognize your limits and make sure to not go overboard. Without setting boundaries, we can turn to a negative place due to being overworked and associating ourselves with toxic situations. It can be very difficult to say no to people, but setting this boundary is very important to keeping a healthy mind.
  • Make sure to also set boundaries within yourself — try not to compare yourself to others! Think about limiting your time on social media! Self-judgment can be very harmful to mental wellness. Staying off social media can alleviate loneliness and anxiety, and FOMO. The grass is always greener on the other side!

Build self-care routines

  • Set a routine! Self-love includes taking care of ourselves. This can include taking care of just your basic needs — eat well, exercise, hydrate, sleeping. But this could also include treating yourself! Take yourself out on a little self-date — go eat at a restaurant, buy yourself a boba, or let yourself take a break!

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and go out and buy yourself some chocolate! And remember to practice self-love!

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Asian Alliance for Mental Health

We aim to de-stigmatize mental health through open dialogue and multimedia storytelling to bring visibility to mental health issues within Asian communities.