Loving Oneself is Vital for Well-Being

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By Dr. Ashoke Priyadarshana – Psychologist 

The necessity of interacting positively with others is stressed by psychologists and sociologists because the betterment of a person and society could be determined by such positive and satisfactory interactions. It is a truism that one’s thoughts, behaviour and feelings are shaped and molded by society as social psychologists say. Errors committed during interactions are possible due to many reasons such as misconceptions, lack of communication, personal traits and many more. It is not my intention to elaborate on how interaction should take place among individuals positively; but stress on the importance of how a person should interact with himself or herself. 

How many of you love yourself? Perhaps, it might be considered a stupid question to be answered because it is generally assumed that every human being loves him or herself. In which ways do you love yourself? I assume you will come up with a list of means you utilise to love yourself.  If those means are analysed carefully you might find positive as well as negative means are also there.  Your love towards yourself is projected mainly through gratifying your senses. Gratifying one’s senses is not a crime; yet its limitations should be under your awareness all the time because you will be driven towards a chaos otherwise.  It is the natural desire of human beings to gratify all five senses though some people seem to exceed their limits. Exceeding limits can result in various psychological issues such as addictions. 

Psychologists have to make a gigantic effort sometimes to modify maladaptive behaviour such as harmful addictions. We have often found children being strongly addicted to computer games, TV, the internet and many more. Not only children but also some adults are addicted to different things in their lives having been tried to gratify their desires exceeding limits. I have personally seen how budding youngsters ruin their lives due to addiction. Once, a 17- year-old youngster addicted to drugs visited me. There were psychological and social issues behind his case.  It is not my expectation to explain what addiction is and point out the factors affecting addiction; but how to restore a positive intra communication with yourself to control harmful thoughts that manifest in your mind. 

There is an intermediate process between stimulus and response which is known as cognition. We are not passive beings who respond to each and every stimulus in the environment.  The responses shown over stimuli could be different from person to person based on their level of cognitive maturity. There can be lots of external factors influencing on the growth of cognitive maturity; yet everybody is using a silent spoken language to communicate with him or herself. Then the decision is implemented by you in response to the stimulus. In most situations, the decisions are made by individuals in the hope of gratifying senses without being much concerned of the final outcomes. 

You protect everything you love; and this needs to be applied to yourself too. If you love yourself it is your responsibility to protect yourself. How do you protect yourself then?  Addicted individuals who exceeded their limits of gratification, patients with sexually transmitted diseases due to uncontrollable sexual tendencies are frequently found during counselling sessions while repenting over their mistakes. 

My attention is paid on long queues before wine stores and the ones who cheer in restaurants with glasses full of ‘poisonous’ liquor. As a responsible psychologist, I cannot forget those who bet their last penny on unseen horses, youngsters and adults who are under the influence of heroin. I truly doubt if they really love themselves because if they love themselves, they could have saved themselves before being driven to such harmful habits. 

At any moment in your life, you could be motivated to sense the elation of a stimulus which was not previously experienced; yet it could be harmful and dangerous. This is where the necessity for a positive intrapersonal communication is needed so as to get rid of being a victim of harmful thoughts in a split second.  This is where you need to project your love and compassion towards yourself.  It is a must to confront with your cognition until you are safe. Internal drives will keep you pushing towards sensing new experiences; but intellectual confrontation is needed to defeat the thoughts which could result in chaos.

‘Hate’ is not too far away from ‘love’ as it is believed. The one who doesn’t receive what he or she loves will then begin to hate. I have heard some people saying that they got addicted to various things after a break up of an affair. Some have committed suicide having been traumatised by different hassles and hazards.  Life without hindrances and obstacles cannot be expected. The beauty of life is to move forward standing tall before all the challenges. 

Inability to face obstacles will provoke the person to hate himself or herself. Mistakes, shortcomings and failures are inevitable and they are globally experienced by all human beings. Love and compassion need to be projected by you to yourself forgiving the weaknesses and mistakes committed. It is necessary to communicate with yourself defeating all the unwanted arousals which may drag you into hot water. Intellectual intrapersonal communication is needed to prevent yourself from falling victim to various machinations.