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Caring Connections for Social Emotional Behavioral Health

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“To seek happiness is natural. But to look for it outside of ourselves, as though it is dependent on something in the future, is one sure way to never find it.”

Andy Puddicombe

There has been a lot of discussion about the importance of self-care for educators; however, not many are talking about the importance of self-love. Self-care may be more comfortable for some to discuss; however, it is just one component of improving our self-love.

What is self-love?

Self-love has been defined as “a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others” (Jeffery Borenstein - Brain and Behavior Research Foundation). Research shows that a lack of self-love can contribute to mood and anxiety disorders.

Self-love can include (Brain & Behavior Research Foundation):

  • Talking to and about yourself with love

  • Prioritizing yourself

  • Giving yourself a break from self-judgment

  • Trusting yourself

  • Being nice to yourself

  • Setting healthy boundaries

  • Forgiving yourself when you aren’t being true or nice to yourself 

Why is self-love difficult?

Long story short, we live in an achievement-oriented culture where we are conditioned to compare ourselves to others. When we don’t live up to those expectations we tell ourselves that are inadequate and perseverate on our perceived failures. This only leads us to give up or remain stuck in a state of stress. Rather than focusing on our frustrations, we could shift our mindset and reframe our errors. If we were to do this, we would learn from our mistakes and begin treating ourselves with kindness (headspace).

Can self-love be improved?

An article written by Dr. Andleeb Asghar describes five ways to practice self-love, leading to personal growth over time. Throughout the article, the importance of continuous practice and self-compassion is emphasized. 

  1. Avoid negative self-talk. Notice the tone your internal voice uses. Pay attention to the statements you are hearing and how they make you feel. Learn about the common cognitive distortions and how to change your internal dialogue. 

  2. Practice self-care rituals. Dr. Andleeb describes rituals as “meaningful practices with a deep sense of purpose”. Determine what would be beneficial and meaningful to you and carve out time for these rituals. 

  3. Set healthy boundaries. Knowing and respecting your limits is an important component of self-love. We must appreciate our own value and be sure that those around us are respectful of our time.

  4. Have self-compassion. Self-compassion is about forgiving yourself and showing yourself grace. Learn to notice when you are experiencing something difficult and comfort yourself rather than placing judgment or ignoring the feelings. 

  5. Practice self-reflection. Rather than blaming yourself when things don’t go your way, see these opportunities to learn and grow. Try to avoid comparing yourself to others and focus on your own needs. 


Keystone Contacts:

Keystone is here to support you! If you would like help supporting your students' SEBH needs, please reach out to us. 

Patricia Lehmann

Scotti Hagensick 

Suzanne Maas

Suzie Maas