Siasa Place Kenya

Redefining Self Love – By MARILYN GLORIA ODONGO

What is self-love? Do I particularly love myself? These are some of the many questions that arise in people’s minds when they have a feeling of disconnection with themselves. In addition to that, they are caught up in a cycle of unlocking their self-worth but it remains futile for quite a while. Much to my dismay, it is also a popular search according to Google Trends, with the searches rooting down for information on how to practice it and make it your daily routine. Talking about routine, is there really an end goal to self-love or is it a daily task to keep me happy and content with who I am? I believe there is, it can be an extended-expression of yourself but with a lot of emphasis on your values, what you stand for, and love that you have decided on being just that or however more, you feel best.

The art of not loving yourself places you on one of the records of the climbing statistics on behavioral disorders. Poor self-image arising out of not accepting and loving yourself as you are enhances the chances of you being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This is a mental health condition that greatly affects your mood, behavior, and self-image. It is a cluster B personality disorder that affects a person’s emotional functioning and can lead to behaviors that others see as extreme or irrational. The above clarification leads me back to my definition of self-love, it also involves being at peace with your relationship with others and choosing to value those who are there for us. Self-love borders on a lot about our past, present, and even future, it is the bane of our existence.

Why the name Borderline though? Clinicians thought of the person diagnosed with this disorder as one on the border between having neurosis, an anxiety disorder, and psychosis, which is loss of contact with reality. This condition is characterized by feelings of dissociating yourself from others, stress-related paranoid thoughts, chronic feelings of emptiness, a series of intense emotions such as anger, low moods, impulsive behavior in terms of excessive spending of money, drug and substance abuse, instability in your relationship with others and lastly poor self-image in values and career plans.

It is really painful that one has to go through all this, what could be the triggers? Is it societal or individually based? It could be both. I figured it would be pointless to recoin and redefine the true meaning of self-love and what works best, without getting to the root cause. Society at large has a great task ahead in reigniting the true spark of self-love in each individual. Three main factors have been analyzed to be the causes of Borderline  Personality Disorder. The first one being genetic factors, this could be attributable to cases where an immediate relative has had a mental health condition such as bipolar, depression, substance use disorder, or even antisocial personality disorder. Secondly, the individual’s environmental factors, how was the person brought up? Who was around him or her? What were the values instilled? How did they deal with losses or even sadness while still young? The individual could have been a victim of maltreatment, conflicts, abuse, and abandonment that could have been a thorn in his or her development and even emotional formation. Lastly, neurological factors have been well elaborated in medical records.

Someone would ask, “So what is the way forward, what are the solutions available?” There are a variety of treatments that have been described to help individuals with this disorder. First of all, is the cognitive behavioral therapy that involves working with a therapist closely in order to see and think things differently. Second, is a dialectical behavioral therapy that deals with a combination of both physical and meditative methods that enable an individual to regulate his or her emotions in a better way. Third, mobilization-based therapy, which is a talk therapy that helps people identify their own thoughts. Fourth, schema-focused therapy reframes how the person views themselves. Fifth, the transference focused psychotherapy that aims to develop a relationship with a therapist and thus there is an understanding of your emotions and interpersonal difficulties and lastly a systems training for emotional predictability and problem solving, which is a group therapy that is led by a social worker meant to supplement other forms of treatment.

I hope and pray that self-love shall become a moment of rest, a moment of unlimited joy, and a lifetime assurance of one wanting the very best for themselves. I want to be part of a community that voices self-love and works to ensure that each person is at peace with themselves.