Why Self-Love is Important with Ofosu Jones-Quartey
Of all the relationships you will ever have in your life, the relationship you have with yourself is the most important.
Think about it: You are the only constant companion you’ll ever have.
However, if you're like many people, the concept showing yourself love might feel unfamiliar or a little intimidating, especially at first. But rest assured—I’ve been there, and I’ve got you.
I'm Ofosu Jones-Quartey, one of the Balance app's Co-Heads of Meditation. And in this article, I’ll walk you through why self-love is so important before sharing a beginner-friendly self-love practice you can use whenever you need it.
Why Self-Love is Important
You might already know how important it is to be kind to yourself. But practicing it is an entirely different thing.
In my time as a teacher, father, and friend, I’ve found that many of us have a loud inner critic in our minds, and a quiet inner cheerleader or friend—myself included. In fact, for a long time, the only voice I heard, believed, and paid attention to was the voice that said: You’re not enough.
Does that sound familiar? Maybe there are things you have a hard time forgiving yourself for, or maybe you were taught that it was wrong or selfish to show yourself love.
Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.
Practicing Self-Love: How to Get Started
Self-love and self-compassion may be difficult to practice, but I believe they are the foundation for, well, everything. Because as you see goodness and worthiness within yourself, you’ll more easily see it in others.
The good news? You don’t have to become an expert in showing yourself love and compassion overnight. You can practice with kindness and patience, taking things one step at a time. But if you’re still unsure about where to start, here are a few simple suggestions that you can do any time, anywhere:
- Talk to yourself in the same way that you’d talk to a friend or small child.
- Repeat this phrase: "I have permission to do whatever I need to do to take care of my mental, physical, and emotional health."
- Try a Loving-Kindness meditation. (I recommend the one on the Balance app.)
- Acknowledge when things are really difficult, even if it’s just to yourself.
- Congratulate yourself when you accomplish something, no matter how small it is.
- Comfort yourself by placing a hand over your heart and breathing in deeply.
- Speaking to a trusted loved one or therapist (I do this regularly) if you’re struggling, or as a way to maintain your mental health.
I recommend revisiting this list and noting which techniques resonate with you, so you can practice them whenever you’re feeling a sense of doubt.
Try This Simple Self-Love Practice
If you’re curious to know more specifically how I like to show myself some love, try this simple practice. It’s perfect for beginners and experienced meditators alike:
- Sit or lie down in a position that feels comfortable for you.
- Take a few gentle breaths.
- Tune into the feeling of your body making contact with the surface beneath you, and allow yourself to be present.
- Ask yourself: "How am I feeling right now—emotionally, mentally, and physically?" Allow yourself to check on yourself in a way that feels friendly, as if you were calling to check in on a friend or a loved one.
- As you begin to notice how you feel, answer yourself honestly and without judgement. However you’re doing in this moment is okay—whether it’s pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.
- Next, imagine that your best friend or someone you care about deeply was feeling exactly how you’re feeling right now. What would you say to them? Whatever you would say to them, say it to yourself.
- Notice how it feels to offer yourself words of support and encouragement. What’s the experience like? It might feel awkward, silly, warm, friendly, comforting, or some mix of all of the above. And that’s all perfectly normal.
- Take a moment to offer yourself any additional words of comfort and support.
- Take a few deep breaths, and notice how you feel. Nice job!
This simple practice, when done regularly, can dramatically transform your relationship with yourself. It may be awkward at first, or even feel a bit fake, but remember that the relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship you’ll ever have with anyone.
Learn Tools to Support Your Self-Love Journey With the Balance App
Little by little, you will arrive at a place where self-love is second nature.
But if you’d like even more support, using a guided meditation app like the Balance app for self-love is the perfect addition to your daily self-love routine. Balance offers a growing library of research-backed self-love meditations (and so much more!) that can help you take the first step toward loving yourself more—and it’s all tailored to you and your needs. So go ahead and download Balance today—it’s free for your entire first year!
No matter where you are on your self-love journey, my wish is that you’ll take a moment right now to say something kind to yourself. And always remember: You are enough.
- An essential aspect of any healthy relationship actually is loving yourself first. Learn how.
- Learn how to embrace dating yourself this Valentine’s Day, plus get 24 solo date ideas.
- Make 2024 the year you live more purposefully and intentionally with Leah’s step-by-step guide.