Asiah Henderson here! Chicago native and professional chef (in the making). To me, self-love means you have respect for yourself and confidence in both your outer and inner beauty. It's important to have because you can't succeed in love, or life without it.
You can't truly understand happiness unless self-love is present. Your societal upbringing, spiritual/religious upbringing, personal growth, and maturity, all play a part in self love. To me, pain and loss has been the biggest inhibitor of my self confidence and pride. I've struggled with self destruction most of my adult life because of it. My two greatest losses were my dad and my unborn child.
I get that miscarrying isn't equivalent to loosing a born child, but from the moment I felt that tiny flutter, I fell in love with the little person growing inside of me. Feeling the pain of he or she vanishing in my wound broke me completely. Though I did not show it in my everyday life, my entire world was destroyed. Any confidence that I had in my womanhood was crushed. In order to cope, I took a job in Colorado for the summer season. I promised myself I wasn't going to take that baggage with me, but it haunted me for nights. By getting up and going to work and experiencing the mountains on a daily basis it was a tad bit easier to wake up and embrace the day. Everyday I gave myself purpose. I smiled, I laughed, I lived. I concentrated solely on my work in the kitchen and it was the best decision I've made for my career and myself.
Everyday I gave myself purpose. I smiled, I laughed, I lived.
But the worst loss of all would be me losing my dad to cancer. I felt like half of a person. My self worth was at an all-time low and my behavior reflected as such. That resulted in guilt and self-loathing because I couldn't understand why someone as amazing as he, would be taken from someone who needs and loves him so much.
With both losses I had to learn that you don't always have control over what happens to you in life. You can't stop death and you can't stop people from leaving your life. Just like you can't change your past mistakes, but that doesn't mean you are not righteous.
I also had to realize that not every loss is a tragic one. Certain people and opportunities are only introduced in your life as an obstacle. You just have to pay attention to your part in those situations in regards to everyone else's. Change the things you can, and accept and appreciate the things you cannot. Always keep a pair of metaphorical scissors handy at all costs. Go through life observing every lesson and learn from them. Give your mind, heart, and soul a say-so in every life changing decision. Smile, laugh, and love as much as you can. Self love is an everyday process, so always believe in yourself and your faith.