the importance of self-love
Flowers, chocolates, hearts, and secret admirers galore….. whether or not you choose to celebrate, Valentine’s Day is always an incredibly hyped up holiday. Some people go all out with fancy dinners and bouquets and doting testaments to their loved ones. Others choose to remain lowkey and spend Valentine’s Day cuddled up in bed. Either works, but amidst all the gifts and attention devoted to our loved ones, we’re not only forced to direct our focus to those we love, but it’s integral to remember that we must love ourselves, truly and purely, first. Self-love and self-compassion- we hear these terms all the time in the media, at yoga classes, etc., but do we take our time to tap into these elusive concepts?
Loving oneself isn’t about being narcissistic or self-obsessed or what not. It’s about accepting ourselves for what we are and how we feel, while finding joy in the people, places, and activities that make us happy. Normally, it’s all too easy to become critical of every flaw we have or to fixate on every minor transgression we make- that, my friends, is NOT a healthy way of going about accepting ourselves. Instead, realize that we are comprised of all our passions, desires, and beliefs, just as we are comprised of shortcomings. There is no point in beating ourselves up for acting out, or being lazy, or not looking the way we want to, as pitying ourselves will not only get us nowhere, but will set us three steps back. I like to think of life as a river that ebbs and flows- we have our good days, we have our bad days, but in the long run, we produce a steady stream if and only if we focus on functioning properly.
So where does self-compassion tie into all of this? Because we tend to get tied up in daily stresses, we have to make an effort to acknowledge that we are trying and that’s all that truly matters. There’s no use in dwelling on being stressed, or not having enough time, or getting frustrated easily, or the worst of all, becoming MORE frustrated at ourselves for acting frustrated in the first place. Those are all just excuses- we are never busy enough to halt taking care of ourselves. Think about it- every day, regardless of routines, the one thing that guides us from rising in the morning to resting at night is OURSELVES. We can take a vacation from work, from other people, from life, but we can’t resort to deserting our beings.
If we want to administer true self-love and self-compassion, we must devote time to engaging in the qualities of life that generate true happiness. Even if that means taking 5 minutes to reflect or meditate, staying in for the night and watching Netflix, or rewarding ourselves with a favorite meal, it is still something and that something is beneficial and well-deserved whether or not we realize it at the time.
To love and to be loved are some of the greatest feelings. Just as we disperse affection and gratitude to our loved ones, we must also exude this same awareness towards ourselves. Whether or not you’re happily single and killing it with your closest girlfriends, or quite literally wifed up, make an effort to be your own Valentine not only in February, but when you can and feel you need it most.