The millennial therapist Sara Kuburic talks self-love

One in two women worldwide feel more self-doubt than self-love, according to the Global Self Love Index. The Millennial Therapist, Sara Kuburic, shares her tips on sharing the love for yourself

What is self-love?
Self-love is many things, but it starts with the recognition and appreciation of our inner worth and value. It is giving permission to be our authentic selves in their purest form. Self-love is the act of using our voice and standing up for what we believe in. It is the act of creating change and of surrounding ourselves with people who support our journey. 

Why is it so important?
The way we relate to ourselves is often how we relate to others. In order to have healthy relationships with others, we have to strive towards a healthy relationship with ourselves. In order to create a positive change in the world, we must create a positive change within. No one can love us the way that we can love ourselves. This is a need that can only be fulfilled by us – this is why it’s important to address it. Self-love is not something we can outsource, although we often try to, especially within our relationships. A lack of self-love can contribute to a wide array of mental health issues. The degree to which we love ourselves will dictate the way we treat ourselves. 

How can you love yourself?
When thinking about self-love, it can be helpful to think about any other loving relationship you may have cultivated. The same principles apply. For example: we need to spend time with ourselves, we need to be curious, we need to recognise our value, we need to have inner-dialogue, we need to respect our own boundaries. It’s an everyday process of choosing ourselves. Self-love generally does not occur accidentally. It’s a proactive process. 

Sometimes you may not feel like you love yourself, regardless act like you do. We often wait for our feelings to dictate our actions but sometimes we can allow our actions to establish our feelings. If you behave like you love yourself (e.g. set and keep daily promises, make difficult decisions) then you may grow in that love. Sometimes someone has to show us that they love us. 

Why is The Body Shop trying to inspire one million acts of self-love?
Self-love is not merely a concept, it’s an experience. With this understanding, the one million acts movement highlights that self-love involves an action, and that action is at the heart of any change – personal or global. 

What happens if you don’t love yourself?
If you don’t love yourself you will often struggle to feel loved by others – regardless if they love you, chances are you won’t believe them. To truly feel loved, it has to match the experience that comes from within. If you don’t love yourself, you may struggle with self-worth, self-sabotage, poor decision making, meaninglessness, and unfulfilling relationships. 

How did your journey to self-love begin?  What was your wake-up call?
My journey to self-love began with an onset of sudden anxiety and panic attacks (that lasted roughly a year). My body was very clearly speaking to me that I was not acting from a place of self-love and it was impossible to ignore. My self-love journey began with connecting with myself. I didn’t know who I was and it’s really difficult to love a stranger.

Isn’t self-love selfish?
No, this is one of the biggest misconceptions that our society has constructed. Selflessness, just like busyness, has become a badge of honour. But here are my thoughts on it: In order to build a home, you need a firm foundation. In order to love others, we need to love ourselves. The most loving thing we can do for others is have a healthy relationship with who we are. Not only will this decrease the amount they need to worry and support you, but our capacity to connect with them and love them increases. 

Serving others is not the same thing as compromising ourselves or abandoning ourselves for the sake of others. 

What is key to unlocking the power of self-love?
Self-awareness and intentionality.

What are some examples of acts of self-love?
There are so many ways to love yourself, but here are just a few:     

●      Practice gratitude journaling

●      Set and keep daily promises

●      Do the hard stuff (decision making, boundary setting)

●      Spend time with yourself

●      Be curious rather than judgmental

●      Taking care of your physical health

●      Build a support system

●      Move your body

●      Check in every day with how you are feeling

●      Meet your needs

●      Build healthy relationships

●      Let go of things, beliefs, and people that no longer serve you

What do you love most about yourself?
This answer changes depending on the season I am in. Right now, what I love most about myself is my honesty and vulnerability. It used to scare me, and intimidate me. Now I allow it to change and transform me on a daily basis. As a result, my relationship with myself and with others has increased in intimacy. 

What advice would you give your younger self?
I have so many things that I would tell my younger self:                                

●       Listen to your intuition

●      Perfection is not the goal, authenticity is

●      Give people the chance to prove you wrong

●      Be as passionate about loving yourself as you are about loving others

●      Learn to identify the lessons your pain is trying to teach you

●      Vulnerability is not a weakness

●      Give yourself permission to feel

●      Every relationship needs boundaries

●      There is no one right way of doing life, trust yourself

●      Allow yourself to change your mind

What advice would you give to someone at the beginning of their self-love journey?
You need to start with getting to know yourself. Self-love is not a destination, it is an ongoing process, so be patient and gracious. Be curious. There is no right or wrong way to go through this journey and it does not mean reaching full self-actualisation or perfection.  You will make mistakes and maybe even hurt yourself, that is ok, it’s normal. You should also evaluate who you surround yourself with, are they promoting your self-love? 

How does self-love make a difference in the world?
Self-love shapes how we show up for one another. It teaches us an important skill that can be replicated for the world around us. When we create inner change, we are simultaneously creating a bigger shift in the community around us. We are changing the script, we are changing the dynamic. If one part of a whole changes, the whole will never be the same. 

Why is self-love fearless and bold?
Because it’s scary. Self-love resists the current social dialogue that preys on our insecurities and desire for conformity. To love ourselves is to be autonomous in a way that may feel threatening to others. In a sense, it is an act of rebellion not to seek permission and allow ourselves to love who we are regardless if we are deemed “worthy” by society. Our society does not promote true self-love, and self-love entails – amongst many other things – diversity, transparency, acceptance, empowerment, honesty, and change. 

How can The Body Shop create real change and start the self-love uprising?
I believe awareness is half the battle of any change. Therefore, cultivating awareness, building a supportive community, and offering tools is like offering a blueprint to an uprising of self-love which is deeply needed. 

What can you do for other people that don’t love themselves?
There are two simple things you can do to help others love themselves:

  1. Model to them what self-love looks like by loving yourself
  2. Show them love. By treating them in a way that reflects their worth, they may begin to identify their own

Do you have a favourite product from The Body Shop?
Coconut Nourishing Body Butter 

What can I do to promote self-love?
}Self-love is about taking a conscious action – big or small – on your journey to self-acceptance. That might mean taking the time to do something for yourself, standing up for what you believe in, or helping friends and family to accept and love themselves.

How can you help people who don’t feel self-love?
Sometimes, everybody needs a little reminder of how powerful they are, and of all the good qualities that make them unique. If you can be that angel on the shoulder of those closest to you, you’re already a powerful ambassador for self-love. 

Find out more about The Body Shop’s new self-love campaign here.

Faye Dixon

Lifestyle Journalist and Blogger from the North East.

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