‘Love yourself’ is always something we hear or read somewhere multiple times in our life, especially nowadays, but do you know what it truly means? Do you understand what self-love entails? Do you know what steps to take to get to that state of true appreciation for oneself? And how can you maintain that self-love?
I asked my friend Samantha Shakira Clarke, actress, yoga teacher, athlete, boxer, activist, Ninja Warrior, Instagram influencer, and superheroine, among other things, about self-love, and the steps people can take to get to that state. Below is what she wrote:
1. What does self-love mean to you?
Self-love, to me, means looking at all aspects of yourself, your choices and who you’ve become with compassion, and deciding what the kindest thing you can do for yourself. Sometimes, that requires a strong choice, which you will need to lovingly push yourself through, sometimes, it requires a soft choice you need to lovingly fall into. But always, it’s compassionately asking, “what is the best thing for myself in this moment?”
2. What do you love the most about yourself?
I love my curiosity, my insatiable thirst for knowledge of not only the world around me, but the complex world inside me. And I love, love, love my heart. It is pure, and kind and I am so grateful I can say that with certainty.
3. What benefits self-love has brought you?
In a word. Space. The space to watch myself without judgement. The space to choose again if I’ve strayed from the path that serves me most. Space to grow and learn and make mistakes without shame.
4. What do you do to maintain that love for yourself?
Curiosity. The more curious I am about what I need and why, or what I did and why, or what I want to do and why, the more I can see all of me without judgement. If I can bring curiosity to even the darkest parts of me, I won’t even need forgiveness, but I will realize there’s nothing to forgive, only to witness.
5. What do you think is the number one thing stopping people from loving themselves, and how to overcome/fight it?
Shame, and guilt. Because of the stories we have been given and/or told ourselves in the past. Stories from our developmental stages in childhood and teenage years. Stories from media, stories from our peers. All of these lean us into what we ‘should be’ and away from ‘what’s truly freeing and loving for me in this stage of my life’.
6. What first steps can people take to start loving themselves?
Notice the areas where you judge yourself, then ask yourself where you learnt that judgement, is it necessarily true, and is there another conclusion (a kinder conclusion) you can come to about that judgement?
7. What tools would you recommend for people who want to learn more about self-love?
- The power of now by Eckhart Tolle - Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch - The untethered soul by Michael Alan Singer - Yoga. Find a yoga teacher, who is rooted in awareness around the true purpose of yoga, beyond the poses, and into the philosophy. Yoga, in its truest form, is the ultimate path to self-love and acceptance. - Meditation. Excellent for bearing witness to your ‘mind chatter’ or incessant thoughts, an easy way to see what intrusive thoughts sneak in when you’re not realizing.
These books I recommend above are more about self-awareness, than self-love, but I don’t believe you can truly love yourself, until you’re aware of all parts of yourself.
Love isn’t a quick fix, it’s our true state of being. We’ve just been distracted from it.
Having her thumb firmly placed in many pies in the fitness and entertainment industries, she is widely known for being “the world’s biggest slashie”
Samantha’s mission is to remind people how essential it is to fall in-love with their life and the world they inhabit, to encourage everyone to practise the art of compassion, and value their inner truth, and of-course to fill each day with as many belly laughs as possible.
Her life is a testament to this mission.
You can connect with Samantha through her website (samanthashakiraclarke.com), her company’s website (sliceofthepie.co) and Instagram page (@samanthashakiraclarke).
About the interviewer
My name is Jeff Monnery, a videographer and documentarian whose mission is to ensure people are given the choice to make positive changes toward self-empowerment. I am the founder of Spoken Out Stories, a video series about stories of people who lived a hard experience in their life, and found their way to move forward with courage, determination, and optimism.
You can connect with me through my social media pages:
Instagram — @jeffmonnery
Twitter — @jeffmonnery
Facebook — @JeffMonnery
LinkedIn — @jeffmonnery
About An Unlearning Initiative
An Unlearning Initiative is an interview series of people sharing the experience and expertise on various topics around mental health, self-empowerment, empathy, and love.
It is about giving others diverse perspectives from around the World to help unlearn misconceptions and enlighten people toward a better understanding of what is around them.
You can connect with An Unlearning Initiative through these social media pages:
Instagram — @anunlearninginitiative
Twitter — @AnUnlearning
Facebook — @anunlearninginitiative