At dinner tables, in social circles, as small talk after meetings; mental health has gradually warmed its way into our daily platters. Perhaps as a side dish or even the main course of it all.
Thus, plating a single morsel to digest was not child’s play. I nonetheless choose to start at the psychologically perceived core of mental health, that we as individuals and a society tend to take for granted. Self-love.
Growing up we were always taught to be selfless, be it in accordance to societal values, religious decorum or even cultural conjecture. To put others before yourself was uncalled for, even if you were the opportunity cost in the transaction.
Times have changed. Now we preach the learn-to-say-no anthem. Right next to the its-okay-to-choose-yourself mantra. In my bid to write this piece right, I stumbled upon two terms: amour de soi and amour propre.
Both French terms to mean “self-love” but each embodies a different institution. I want you to be able to take into consideration how these two types of love can make or break you. And that you reserve the right to create the balance. I won’t tell you which of the two explains what, because that is my incentive to have you back as a reader; or if anything, have you spare a few minutes of your time researching it.
In a nutshell, one of the “loves” is based off what people perceive you as. Basically, acknowledging that acceptance and image does matter to us as humans. It in fact does a great deal to our esteem when others see us in a relatively positive light. The other speaks of a rawer type of loving, one that is not malicious but that encapsulates one’s sense of self-worth.
That is a bit wordy, isn’t it? Let’s break it down.
Both are important but one type of loving yourself is based off of knowing that you’re rocking it in the eyes of people and the other is based on your knowing that you are worthy of whatever pedestal you set yourself on. In short with one you love the adoring fans and with the other, you ARE your number one fan.
We still haven’t picked which is the best preference for that soulful self-loving, because in the journey of mental health there is no one-size-fits-all. We are just here to walk with you through the journey of becoming the best version of you, that you can be. Personally, I want to strike a balance between amour propre and amour de soi because I feel like we can harness them both to our advantage.
I started my journey by accepting that #itsokaytonotbeokay, and you can too. Be the voice you want to hear. Be the shoulder you want to lean on, and who knows, maybe you’ll be the champion in someone’s mental health journey.
Till then, keep my three S’s with you. Stay Safe. Stay sane. Stay smiling.
Article writer, Kenya Ni Mimi.