The Nuances of Self-Love
UofT Students Share What Self-Love Means to Them
By Alissa Chooljian, Staff Writer
Names of some students within this article have been changed to protect the anonymity of sources.
Over the past decades, the concept of “self-love” has risen to great notoriety. There has been an influx of books, movies, and corporate campaigns which aim to uphold the idea of ‘self-love,’ and the term has been widely embraced by popular society.
But what is self-love anyway? Is it just about loving yourself, or is there more to it?
For this article, five UofT students have pitched in to share with the Trinity Times what their perception of self-love is, how it can be achieved, and its possible implications.
Self-love to many students is just what it sounds like: loving yourself. For Justine, self-love is about “loving yourself for who you really are.” This does not just refer to liking your inner or outer attributes, but “treating yourself with kindness even in times of insecurity.” Justine also highlights the self-prioritization that accompanies self-love. “It is taking time to self-reflect on what makes you special. It is loving yourself first before you can give that love to someone else.”
With this idea of self-prioritization comes self-respect. Jorjet remarks that “self-love is [about] knowing your worth and standing up for what you believe is right.”Jorjet feels that “setting boundaries and letting others know how you would like to be treated” is an important element. Jorjet underlines this importance of accepting and appreciating who you are by further adding: “It is okay to not have the same body, hair, teeth, smile, height, and personality as others. Loving yourself means coming to acknowledge all the different aspects and attributes about yourself. In order for others to respect you, you must come to learn and appreciate the person you are.” Jorjet concludes that “self-love is accomplished when a person embraces their characteristics […] and finds their worth or purpose within society.” Jovana expands upon this by adding that you need to be “comfortable with recognizing what your needs and wants are, and [work] hard to pursue them.”
There is clear unanimity among these interviewed UofT students on what defines “self-love.” Vanessa, in contrast, shares a more ‘selfless’ idea of self-love, saying “although I think that self-love refers to how much we love ourselves, it also refers to how much we love and respect the people in our lives.” She acknowledges the importance of self-respect and self-compassion, but she adds that “we must be able to sacrifice the parts of ourselves which are not good for us anymore and that hurt our loved ones.” For her, to achieve self-love, we must “respect ourselves enough to make necessary changes to improve our life and the life of our loved ones.”
Regarding the implications of ‘self-love,’ Candace shares an interesting perspective. “The commercialization of self-love is something […] that we can observe today. Self-love is now linked to material goods, such as getting a massage or purchasing a designer handbag on impulse.” Candace suggests that “we must be able to shift away from this materialistic notion of self-love and toward its emotional core, which entails boosting one’s self-esteem and confidence, standing up for one’s own convictions, and making positive change in one’s life.”
Self-love holds a very personal definition for each UofT student. In spite of these nuances, it could be said that students agree upon the importance of maintaining a level of self-love high enough to live a fulfilling and comfortable life.