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Lifestyle, Mental Health
FOR THE LOVE OF SELF-LOVE
 
14th February 18
 

It’s Valentines Day! Also known as 14th February 2018, also known as a very regular day in the calendar – much like any other. However, 14th February has, over the years, become the commercial day of love. A day for showing your loved one how much they mean to you (even if, really, we should all be trying our best to show that every day of the year anyway). I’ve had a weird and ever changing relationship with Valentines Day over the years. When I was single, it never failed to remind me of just how alone I was, and just how hopeless I felt. Now, in a relationship and with social media fully on my radar, it can feel more like a competitive sport. But one thing that I’ve noticed throughout all of my Valentine’s Days, is that nothing has quite changed me like learning to love myself.

 

Throughout most of my life, Valentines Day has been a day I’ve detested. I can remember as a young teen yet to discover my first love, the sense of dread I’d feel when pink heart shaped balloons and soppy slogan cards used to start popping up in shops in town. Being one of those wallflowers who was terrified of talking to boys until I reached my late teens, love was never something that I ever allowed myself to be associated with. Valentines Day was one of those weird days in the calendar where I just really never wanted to leave the house. Terrified of seeing all of the happy couples around me, holding hands with ease and reminding me of a feeling which I was yet to experience.

 
 

I carried this detest of the day with me for years, closing myself off from the idea of love. But there was always this sense of longing there. This desire to, just once, be one of the lucky ones who woke up on the morning of February 14th and opened their front door to flowers and a card from a mysterious admirer. Valentines Day started to become a depressing reminder to me that that was never going to happen. I let this commercial day label me as unloveable.

 

Luckily, since my teen years, I’ve managed to get a bit more of a grip on reality. I spent years of my life feeling hopeless and adrift, judging my worth on other people’s (mainly the opposite gender’s) ability to see it. I didn’t know how to love myself unless somebody else was. I thought that the love of a significant other was the only kind of love I needed. So I spent a long time trying to search for that love in places which weren’t good for me at all. In places which weren’t offering me the sense of self-love that I needed, but the complete opposite.

It’s a widely accepted idea now that finding your significant other and living a monogamous life together is one of the biggest aspirations which we should all have for this life. And yes, I’ve now found somebody who makes me feel happy and who I want to spend my Valentines Days, and every other day with, but the reality is that the most important relationship which I’ve ever had to develop in life – the one which has made me a stronger and better person – is my relationship with myself.

 
 

Self-love is one of the hardest types of love to achieve. It’s taken me years to reach a point where I’m able to look at myself in the mirror and feel happy with the person that I am. I’ve spent more of my life feeling hatred towards myself than love, and those years were difficult to get through. Your relationship with yourself is similar to that of one with a significant other. You need to develop trust and understanding that there are going to be ups and downs, but most importantly you need to be kind and supportive. Having reached a place in my life where I am proud of myself and want to treat myself with kindness, I’ve realised that this was always the relationship which I needed to be putting first. Afterwards, anything else is a perk.

 

See Valentines Day places this weird emphasis on the need to be committed to somebody else to be happy. On this day, social media and every street you walk down becomes an exhausting reminder of just how happy every other couple out there are, or at least seem to be. But in reality, relationships are just another part of life. They come and they go. They’re external forces which can affect our happiness from the outside. But they’re not the be all and end all. You don’t NEED to be in love to feel like you have some sort of worth. That’s another thing which took me years to learn. What provides your worth is everything else which you can bring to the table – your talents, your interests, your desires. Those are the things which I realised I needed to nurture and learn to love in myself.

 

You’re the one person who you’re 100% guaranteed to be stuck with for life. Whether you’re single, in a relationship or anything in between, Valentines Day is just a day on the calendar. It’s a commercialised day which focuses on just one type of love. And while that love is beautiful and amazing, it doesn’t have to be the only love that you celebrate. Celebrate love amongst your friends, love with your palentines, galentines, or any other new variation of the word. Celebrate how wonderful you are, and try to be kinder to yourself. Self-love can take years to achieve and we’re all on different journeys towards it, but in the words of Queen of all Queens, RuPaul, if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?

 
 
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