One of the few beneficial byproducts of this pandemic is our focus on good mental health. As a mental health professional, I appreciate this greatly. I mean, it’s nice to finally see social media platforms be used to promote self-love, encourage self-care, etc. However, it’s clear that in the excitement to share information many forget to highlight the most important part of any good self-love mental health routine, the basics.
What are the basics? Before focusing on self-love and self-care, you need to understand two other basic “self” terms: self-concept and self-acceptance. The internet is riddled with influencers promoting good self-esteem. It’s true, those with low self-esteem are at an increased risk of developing eating disorders, depression, and most alarmingly, committing suicide. Our self-esteem is determined by how we judge and evaluate ourselves based on our self-concept. Self-esteem can further be defined as the feelings of affection we have for ourselves, which is highly dependent on our acceptance of our self-concept. It has been shown that self-esteem links to behaviors such as self-direction and overall achievement. But before we go gauging where our self-esteem is currently, we need to explore our self-concept. This is how we view ourselves and how we describe ourselves to others. It helps us discover what we love and appreciate about ourselves as well as the things we don’t.
Laying everything out like this conceptually allows us to work on embracing both our desirable and our less desirable traits. Enhancing and enjoying what we love about ourselves while working on (positively and proactively) the things that we feel we fall short. This process will help us on the path of self-acceptance.
So with this, I encourage you to explore what you love about yourself while discovering the parts of yourself that “need work”. Truly embrace the fact that none of us are perfect, and live your life embracing that reality. It’ll help you go easier, while still working on being better. Like this, you will judge and evaluate yourself in a more effective way, which will keep your self-esteem healthy.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” – Dalai Lama XIV, n.d.