Najwa Zebian at SIBF 2021: Self-love is not a noun, it is a verb
On a discussion of her newly released book at the 40th Sharjah International Book Fair,
the young author gave tips that will help women feel empowered and maintain healthy relationships
For immediate release
Sharjah, 12 November 2021
Love shouldn’t come in bits and pieces; it shouldn’t be the crust of the pizza but the whole pizza, noted Lebanese Canadian author and activist Najwa Zebian in a conversation with presenter Sally Mousa on ‘How literature inspires the empowerment of Women’ at the ongoing Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2021).
Zebian, whose fourth book Welcome Home: A guide for building a home for your soul was released in June 2021, was discussing what makes relationships work and in the process gave the audience lessons in self-love.
Najwa agreed to Mousa’s observation that women’s personal value is determined by their relationship with other people – whether you are a good daughter or good student, have a good job or marriage, “worthy or not worthy”. She stressed the need for an empowerment of young girls and women so they can see themselves as the leaders of their lives.
While on the topic of self-love discussed in her book, Zebian noted: “To me self-love means giving love to yourself the way you give it to someone you love. So, self-love is not a noun, it is a verb. If you seek to please someone when you are tired, it comes from a place of abandonment or people-pleasing attitude”.
To her, the motto should be one of, “I will never change to the point where the person who is being loved is not actually me but an image, I crafted of me because I wanted to be loved.”
Free genuine love doesn’t require the other person to give it back to you, she maintained. “If I only feel loved by you, only if you do exactly for me what I do for you, that is not love. That is validation.”
The 31-year-old author asked people to switch to self-love mode. “Go inwards and listen to the voices within, most of us don’t because it hurts to hear those things. Piling pain up can also lead to a breaking point.”
She remembered how her parents wanted her to be a dentist but how she became an author because she lived her dream and not her parents’ dream. Regarding marriage too, she said it is better to be self-sufficient and independent instead of looking at marriage for support.
– Images during the session