5 Ways to Practice Self-Love that Doesn't Cost a Dime (But Takes Dedication)
Feb 16, 2023
Image source: Pexels; photo by Ave Calvar Martinez
I have been feeling a bit “off” the last few weeks and falling into some toxic patterns of behavior that I thought I had rehabilitated, but apparently, the cloud of darkness that enveloped me was just a bit stronger than the tools I had learned during my healing process. (I will leave THAT story for another day.) As mothers, we are the heart of the household, and everyone around us can feel our positive or negative energy, and this was becoming apparent in my home.
This is why it is so crucial to establish a foundation of self-love so that when those darker moments envelop us, we are able to see the glimpses of light and do the spiritual walking needed to pull us out of the darkness. The key here is to make it foundational and to keep that foundation strong continually.
What is self-love, and why is it so important? Self-love is about accepting yourself for who you truly are (good and bad) while maintaining positive actions and thoughts to be the best version of yourself. It is important because, before truly loving someone else, you must learn to love yourself. Benefits of self-love include healthier relationships, higher self-esteem, better physical and mental health, increased “happiness quotient,” and intrinsic motivation to challenge ourselves.
With ALL of these proven benefits, why is it that this simple act of self-acceptance is so challenging for many of us? Trust me, we can get into why this is the case, go back and read my three-part series on intergenerational trauma (here, here and here), to get a small glimpse into some of the reasons WHY, but today we will be practical and will discuss the HOW.
1. Introspection: Spending time daily to quiet the outside world and turn inwards is the best start towards moving forward. The good news is that this introspection time is built into our daily lives as Muslims, Salah. When you perform prayer, spend some time afterward and marvel at your amazingness and make an effort to push down the thoughts of negativity about yourself.
Image source: Unsplash
In the hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others on the authority of Aisha, the Messenger of God, may God’s blessings and peace be upon him, said: “None of you should say: My soul has become evil, but let him say: my soul has become remorseless."
Going by this hadith, it is forbidden that a person to insult himself.
Practice gratitude: There are many studies on gratitude's physical effects on our overall health. The simplest way to achieve a gratitude mindset is by spending time each day noticing the beauty in the world around us and being grateful for the moment. Gratitude is so important to us as Muslims it is one of the major themes in the Quran.
“When God brought you out of your mother’s womb, you were empty of knowledge. But he gave you eyes and ears and hearts, in order that you may give thanks to him.” [16:78]
STOP comparing yourself to others: In this age of filtered posts, #blessed, and windows into a curated version of ourselves, it can be tough not to fall down the rabbit hole of envy and perhaps even jealousy. However, there is only ONE of you; in focusing on your own self and your journey, you create a dynamic shift of energy that can propel you positively towards self-acceptance.
Let go of toxic people: I tell my kids two things. One, what someone ELSE thinks about you is none of your business. Two, friendship is NOT a life sentence. These two perimeters allow them permission to let people go who don’t have the best intentions for them. This translates to us as adults as well. In creating these invisible boundaries, we teach the world how to treat us. Creating the space to be at peace mentally allows us to filter out the people who are not well-intentioned. This goes a LONG way toward self-love.
Image source: Pexel
Self care: Practicing self care can be as simple as a quiet moment on your porch sipping tea, watching the sun rise, and escaping to a weekend retreat. I’m not here to provide a list of suggestions on what you can do – that depends on what fills your cup and what you can manage in your own life.
It is important to figure out a way to make time for yourself, even if it’s small pockets of time or if it’s the act of setting intentional boundaries or saying no to things. However you choose to engage in daily, weekly or monthly self care activities, make sure they are deliberate and frequent. As we know, it is very difficult to pour from an empty cup.
I will end with this.
"You is kind / you is smart / you is important" [The Help]
And, you is beautiful.
Until next time,
Zaiba Hasan is part of the dynamic duo behind the award-winning podcast, Mommying While Muslim. She is the CEO, founder and a spiritual parent coach at Emerge Consulting Solutions , interfaith mediator and sports mama extraordinaire. Look for her on the baseball fields and basketball courts in the DMV (Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia) area cheering from the sidelines.
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