A Radical Guide to Self-Love in 2019

Zorawar Waraich, an advocate for marginalised voices, tells all

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Although mental health issues are (finally) talked about more, the accepted idea of therapy is still a predominantly white approach which excludes many POC. According to a study, LGBTQI people are three times more likely to face mental illness; but when you’re black or brown, the stigma attached to mental health is so deep that many aren’t even able to engage in those conversations. For QTPOC, it’s not just their experiences within their local communities that can be harmful, finding support can be near impossible.

 

Amongst many of the things that I am able to access as a QTPOC in the West, visibility is one of the most apparent in this moment – I have to ask myself would I be outing myself, posting rants on Instagram if I lived elsewhere”, says 22-year-old California-raised, London-based QTPOC Zorawar Waraich, who uses his captions to open up about self-love, wellness and representation.

 

 

 

It might be easier to be visible in Western societies but QTPOC are nonetheless still not finding the care they need— despite having to deal with a “dual minority” status. With 83 per cent of psychologists in America being white, it’ obvious that the system dismisses people of colour who seek psychological support, forcing them to carve out spaces for themselves online. “Whilst living in a society that profits off of your insecurities, doubts and fears, finding ways to love yourself all at once, is a beautiful and political form of defiance”, continues Waraich.

 

In a world so steeped in racism and inequality, finding a route towards self-acceptance isn’t easy. We asked Waraich to share his five essential ways to stop pandering to the white gaze and cultivate self-love within ourselves.

 

 

 

1. Self love requires accountability and honesty, firstly with you. And honesty with yourself about how you feel. I do not shy away from admitting that I still have days when I hate myself. Remember that it is a battle, so be honest about your progress.

 

2. Write your thoughts down – try to figure out what you don’t like about yourself, try to be honest about why you feel that way, where did that start? A lot of the time you’ll realise that other people made you feel that way, and you can begin to think about how you can change or prevent that by being sure in yourself. Try writing down the things you do love about yourself, your achievements, characteristics – anything. Writing is a great technique especially when you don’t have access to community. It’s important to remember that being alone does not mean you have no one to tell, whether on a piece of paper or just notes on your phone, get it out. I write rants about how hard it is going through life and having to unlearn self-hate to survive. Writing your feelings out is like having a dialogue with yourself.

 

 

 

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One thing I know despite trauma, crippling insecurities and dysmorphia: A white boy could never. Never.

Une publication partagée par Zorawar Waraich (@zeesw) le

 

 

3. Make an effort to change your understanding of what is valuable and beautiful and what is lovable. Our concept of these things is mostly conditioned to benefit a society, which loves only capitalism, patriarchy, homophobia and racism – defamiliarize and read.

 

4. Rethink where you spend your energy when you don’t feel good about yourself. Take breaks from social media. In many ways social media can reflect the structures. It’s a product of who sells, what sells and who is worthy of likes and followers and how many. The likes do nothing, they don’t help you self reflect, they do not make you feel loved. Use that energy to do things for yourself.

 

5. It seems to be a well-known fact that no one can love you like you can, and whilst self-love is of course about loving yourself, I don’t think it should imply doing it alone. Love can often and should often be shared. There is so much power in telling people your needs, if we don’t who will? This is our fight against a system that doesn’t want us to love ourselves. It costs nothing and can be as simple as a text message, “you are loved” or a painting, a poem or a note. Finding ways to love your community, to express love for the people in your life who support you, should be part of your journey to loving yourself. Think about the ways in which your loved ones are a reflection of you.

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