Tia Mowry proclaimed this her season of self-love. This World Mental Health Day, we can, too

Days before announcing her impending divorce, Tia Mowry said she'd been "focusing on setting boundaries." How can we follow her lead?

For those shaken by last week’s news that Tia Mowry and Cory Hardrict would be divorcing after 14 years of marriage, focus immediately shifted to the “why.” Why was the celebrity couple, whom many of us felt we had grown up alongside, suddenly parting ways after two children and nearly two decades together? For lack of any better explanation and despite Mowry’s assertion the two would “maintain a friendship” as co-parents, general speculation was “he must’ve cheated”—an allegation Hardrict categorically and emphatically denied.

Whatever the reason, most of us will likely never know what led to the dissolution of Mowry and Hardrict’s marriage, and, in the scheme of our own lives, it’s honestly irrelevant. “Stars, they’re just like us!” we say, and as any of us who has experienced the failure of a relationship (or several) is well aware, feelings, circumstances, and people change over time—and love and fidelity aren’t always enough to keep a union intact. In the case of Tia Mowry, maybe she is a woman scorned. Maybe not. Regardless, there were signs change was afoot prior to her Oct. 5 announcement—they just weren’t the signs one might expect.

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Tia Mowry attends Variety’s 2022 Power of Women: Los Angeles event Presented by Lifetime at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on September 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/FilmMagic)

As Mowry stepped onto the red carpet of Variety’s 2022 Power of Women event on Sept. 29, Access Hollywood reporter Zuri Hall noted the actress was “glowing.”

“You know what it is? It’s self-love,” Mowry responded. “I’m really, really just focusing on setting boundaries.”

Ahh yes, self-love. That seemingly self-explanatory yet all-too-elusive state many of us seek but few know how to achieve, let alone maintain. “What does it even mean to love oneself?” many of us might wonder. As even Mowry admitted, “I’m in my 40s, and I’m just now learning.”

The concept may sound esoteric, but if Mowry’s journey is any indication, the application of self-love is practical. As Oct. 10 marks World Mental Health Day, perhaps it’s worth reframing the question of self-love; to ask not only what it means, but what it can look like.

According to Mowry, self-love looks like setting boundaries—which for her means letting go of a relationship she clearly feels can no longer grow—or that perhaps she can no longer grow in. What does setting boundaries look like to you?

For some, it may mean another form of release—like leaving a dead-end job, self-destructive habit, or simply bad self-talk behind. It might look like divesting from toxicity, whether from a romantic partner, a friend or family member, a co-worker, a boss or even a cultural icon.

Self-love could mean risking the odds to ask for help this Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It could mean finding a therapist or taking control of your physical health by scheduling a checkup, colonoscopy, a booster or flu shot, or a much-needed mammogram before the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

If you ask Beyoncé, bestselling author Keith Boykin or participants in the Great Resignation, self-love might look like quitting to find more fulfillment and freedom. For others, voting is an act of self-love, manifested as an act of self-presentation.

Self-love looks entirely different depending on who you ask, but it doesn’t have to be elusive. Self-love is any act that helps us expand; to think bigger, feel better and grow. You may not know what it looks like yet, but ironically, what the world likely needs this World Mental Health Day is more self-love. So maybe it’s time to take a tip from Ms. Tia and start learning what it looks like for you.

Maiysha Kai is theGrio’s lifestyle editor, covering all things Black and beautiful. Her work is informed by two decades’ experience in fashion and entertainment, great books and aesthetics, and the brilliance of Black culture. She is also the editor-author of Body (Words of Change series).

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