Self love will make you aware of your emotional needs, says Dr. Hamed Al Sinawi, senior consultant psychiatrist, as he presents the different facets of human love
Love is one of the first emotions we experience as humans, on the very first day of our lives. It’s the love of the mother; it keeps the newborn warm and well-fed. And, through this love, a mother is able to interpret the child’s cry when he/she is hungry or in pain or needs changing. The love of the father and other family members then follows. They not only celebrate the child’s birthdays, but also minor achievements in his/her life – like the first time he/she stands or walks, the first word, the first time he/she manages to learn a new skill, say riding the bike or writing his/ her name…
Then, through love, you, as an individual know that you are acknowledged by others. This gives you the motivation to face everyday challenges and excel in life. And, when you form a marital relationship, it is love that helps foster a healthy relationship with a partner who accepts you for who you are and assists you to make the changes that make you a better person.
During my early days as a medical student, I developed a curiosity for human behaviour. What makes people do what they do? And how come some people are more successful than others, given the same opportunities? This passion led me to specialise in mental health. During my 20 years of work, including my periods of training in the UK, I came across people who suffered from different forms of mental illnesses. Be it constant worries and anxieties about the future and minor aspects of daily lives, or depression, where the mood is constantly gloomy and sad, or even more severe form of mental illness, which leads one to lose touch with reality and the ability to function, both at social as well as professional level…
My love for mental health made me explore other aspects of the profession, such as conducting health awareness programmes to encourage the public to have a dialogue about mental health. Most healthcare experts advocate regular exercise and a balanced diet as a part of a healthy lifestyle; however, not many promote mental well-being and the need to stay calm and learn to deal with everyday stressors. I also have a passion for supervising my students and colleagues in order to ensure best quality of care to our patients. This helps me to be in the right state of mind to keep learning, as I believe that learning is a lifelong process. We learn from everything and everyone around us.
Another important aspect of love that is often forgotten, is to love yourself. Not to become a narcissist or a selfish person, but to be at peace with yourself and not hold yourself responsible for every minor negative event. Your love will make you aware of your emotional needs, help you get more ‘Me’ time and learn to say ‘No’ know when those around you demand more than your capabilities and the time given. Sadly, some people work long hours in quest of money to buy materialistic items that they may not have the time to use, only to discover that they have neglected their mental and physical health. Recent medical research has shown that people living with constant stressors are at high risk of developing chronic physical conditions such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.
My love for my profession keeps me motivated to continue what I am doing and enjoy every part of it.