Moyo Jolaolu: Self-love is not an aesthetic

Portrait of a unhappy young woman covering her ears over white background

A beautiful thing has happened in the past couple of years; there has been a lot of focus being averted to the minority groups. It’s been the years of the underdogs from women breaking glass ceilings to black people owning our blackness to the melanin movement. However, one must be careful to steer clear of joining the band wagon simply because it’s cool and trendy.

This brings me to my topic, self-love. From the beginning of time, word on this has been spread from bestselling self-help books to poetry a bit more from the vantage point of relationships but still relevant and poignant.

If you are reading this, chances are you’re religious about either your career, business or even non-profit organisation growth. You have probably been told that women have super powers and are great at multi-tasking so you have tried your hands at wanting to excel in your career, kill it in the kitchen, spend some time with hubby and get the kids tucked in before 8pm because you are afterall, the boss! Or so they have said. So you affirm it and perhaps, you’re even able to make it happen. However, you leave the most important person in all of this neglected. You.

Self-love is not just about loving yourself enough to know when a person is no good for you. It is loving yourself enough to care for yourself and find a balance. Coping mechanisms are essential in everyday life wherever you live and whatever you do, it’s an absolute necessity. So many things and people vie for your attention during the workdays and weekends that you quickly learn to forget your very existence; your existence and (or) purpose become tied into your function in others’ lives which is a tricky way to live.

Nayyirah Waheed once put it simply: ‘You can’t make homes out of human beings’. This does not only apply in relationships but in lifestyle as well. Coping mechanisms are essential in the battle of loving yourself. Your coping mechanism isn’t necessarily universal either; Yours could be a glass of wine by the pool and the next person’s could mean an extra hour in the gym or that precious two hours at the salon getting your pedicure done. Whatever yours is, the most important thing is that you get around to doing it and doing it often enough.

Equally important is quiet time. Maya Angelou summed it all up when she said: “Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. A day away which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for”. Quiet time is what I like to call taking time out just to hear yourself breathe. In days clogged with activity and noise, it’s so important to block out the chaos every now and again.

Once you shut down, you are of no use to your environment and to excel and flourish, you have to be alive. The art of being alive isn’t just literal; figuratively, your zest for life needs to be on a constant high and this can only take place when you care enough for yourself.

Now repeat after me, “Self-love is not an aesthetic”.

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