Dr Sumaya Alnasser
Having a partner, family and friends makes our lives that much more meaningful. However, we are sometimes so busy making our relationships with others a priority, we often neglect the most important relationship: the one with ourselves.
Whitney Houston was onto something with her song “The Greatest Love of All.” If you’re not familiar with it, have a listen because throughout the song, the late singing sensation touches on a very important subject, self-love. And the insightful words she belts out, like, “Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all,” are truly beneficial words of wisdom.
It’s a topic dear to self-help experts, including Dr Sumaya Alnasser, the first female Saudi Life and Executive Coach who specialises in self-development, relationships and career coaching. The seasoned professional, who has over 15 years of experience, explains self-relationships are hard to define as they differ from person to person, just like DNA. She adds the relationship we have with ourselves is the foundation to proper development. “It is to know yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses. It’s about learning where your interests lie and observing the emotional reactions each interest brings about,” the LA-based doctor with a Certificate of the World Federation of Trainers from America and Doctorate in Theology, said. “It is about defining your purpose and values in this life, and with this knowledge, make better choices.”
Alnasser, who helps her clients to improve self-relationships through a series of one-on-one sessions, live courses, group seminars and online coaching sessions, believes having a strong relationship with yourself helps your self-esteem. Plus, it aids in putting you in control of difficult situations. Accepting your true self, including your imperfections, ultimately helps create stronger, more fulfilling relationships with others. As well as leaning towards the tendency of being self-critical, we often fail to treat ourselves with the necessary love and care. “Building a relationship with yourself helps you crack your complex internal code. Without even realising it, our mental state gives smaller things too much importance, although they may not matter in the big picture,” Alnasser explains. “It begins with a simple step, learning to forgive yourself and to move on.”
The author of a book and several articles that inspire readers to find enlightenment and build awareness, Alnasser believes we have to incorporate healthy habits in our daily lives to gain a positive mindset and see long-term results. While forgiving yourself and learning to be happy doesn’t happen overnight, finding some dedicated time to focus on it makes all the difference.
Here are a few ways to cultivate self-love:
- Morning rituals: It’s always helpful if you find ways to help you start your day on an up-beat note. You should also refrain from checking your phone for the first 15 minutes of your day.
- Putting yourself first: Self-love is never selfish; it is about offering an indirect love, in a way that you fulfill it within yourself first.
- Investing in yourself monetarily or with time: Whether you feel like starting a new hobby, want to start a new business or course, make an effort to do something for yourself.
- Respecting your shortcomings, values and spirituality: You should aim to make a conscious effort to realise your strengths and use them to move forward in life.
- Finding your happy place: Find a place that brings calmness to your mind, helps you unwind and connects you to your thoughts. It could be somewhere by the sea or in the garden, but the important thing is to embrace the peace it brings you.
“Your life is a journey of learning to love yourself first and then extending that love to others in every encounter.” - Oprah WInfrey