I lost 20 pounds without dieting. My interest in my hobbies vanished. I felt worthless and I had trouble concentrating on anything. I felt empty. Just when these feelings started to significantly impact my life, my friend took me aside.
“You haven’t smiled in months Sameera. What’s going on?” she said.
I was taken aback by her frankness. I thought about it. I couldn’t found a reason to smile. “There’s nothing to smile about,” I said matter of factly.
Being the good friend she was, she grabbed my hand and told me to put on my coat. It was -10 degrees in Philadelphia and going outside was not on my list of to dos. She walked me over to a young man named David. He was the person who helped her out of her depression and would soon save my life. I sobbed uncontrollably. My friend thinks I’m broken, I thought. I knew I wasn’t good enough. I must be a bad friend and I just can’t believe I’m so bad that I need therapy. He extended his hand and said, “Hello, my name…”
“I don’t want or need therapy. I’m fine,” I said, not letting him finish his sentence.
“Well it’s part of the human condition to react negatively to life events, but…”
I stopped him again, “Yes life is really painful…all the time. And it won’t get better.” I felt ashamed as I said this.
In the next coming months, he opened my eyes to what depression really was and what I could do to help myself. His biggest goal? To help me love myself.
Thankfully today I am not depressed and I know how to handle my sadness and struggles. I’ve realized that caring for myself is a process. I love myself one day and I may beat myself up the next. Self love is about being in the process and coming to yourself with compassion. Now I understand that nothing is more essential than my love for myself. It makes me a better friend, lover, physician and person. And it all starts with my relationship to myself.
The three biggest reasons to love yourself are:
1. Living a Lighter and Simpler Life
When you love yourself more, you stop making a big deal out of small stuff. And everything is small stuff. You become aware when you’re reliving that embarrassing moment or beating yourself up for flubbing your words—and then you come to yourself with compassion.
2. Improving Your Quality of Life
Self love also means accepting yourself. Research shows that self acceptance leads to greater satisfaction with your life and encourages you to make better health decisions.
3. Decreasing Your Risk of Mental Health Issues
I would never wish depression upon anyone. It was the darkest time in my life. The New York Times found a study that suggests that those who have higher self compassion are less at risk for develop depression or anxiety. Self love is not about masturbation, nor is it about self esteem or even self care. It is a choice you make. A choice you have to make every single day especially in these times where hate, discrimination and fear predominate the collective psyche. I am not going to let this hate prevail.
Love is more powerful than any hate or fear. An unbreakable home built on the foundation of self love is the solution to our disillusionment. Our power comes in gathering together and spreading this love together.
Come with me as we cultivate love for ourselves so we can heal our world together. The time is now.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”