It’s Valentine’s Day and there’s been a build-up over an entire week or so, of what is now called Valentine’s Week. When the marketing world has tried to convince and remind you of the importance of giving hugs, kisses, roses and whatever, to your loved ones and special someones. To the one love of your life. To your sweetheart. Even to your gal pals, now that there is Galentine’s. However, what I have missed in all this hype, is any reference to what is really and truly the greatest love of all. Self-love seems to be far from the marketer’s mind.
Growing up, most people were taught to give importance to others over their own selves. Society, especially in Asia, conditions people (particularly women) to believe that self-denial is a virtue and self-love an indulgence. However, if you talk to any psychologist today, they will tell you this – a lot of the unhappiness and depression in this world stems from the inability of people to love and accept themselves.
What do I mean by self-love? It’s very simple. To love yourself and accept yourself the way you are, with all your glorious faults and wonderful strengths. These traits are what come together to make you, you. You are a unique creation, one of a kind in a world of billions. Isn’t that just fascinating? Doesn’t this unique creation deserve love and attention?
So many people in this world struggle with self-esteem issues, because they tie it to external things. Like having a date on Valentine’s Day? But when you have understood and developed self-love, you will know that true self-esteem can only come from within. It will come from what you are, and what you do, and have no connection with the outside world. It’s internal, and it is your own responsibility. That’s both scary and liberating. Accept yourself, forgive yourself, and work on yourself.
Start to practise self-love. Take care of yourself – physically, emotionally and any which way you need to. Figure out the things that work for you in terms of diet, exercise, daily routines. Do the things that help you relax. Read the books that make you feel good. Hang out with the people you like being with. Avoid the ones that wear you out. Do the things that you need to do for your own sake, even if it means taking time away from others. You are your own primary care provider, and you do not need to justify that to anybody. It is not selfish to want to take care of yourself and make yourself happy.
Once you realise that it all begins with you, you will be able to start living more intentionally. Which in turn will help you do things that allow you to increasingly love yourself and the new life you are building for yourself. A person who loves herself, believes in herself and exudes the right amount of confidence and warmth will automatically attract more positivity around her. However, don’t start with that aim in mind. Just start for your own self and take it from there.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Here’s to self-love, the greatest love of all!