Inspired by the ever wonderful Elizabeth Gilbert in this post, I wanted to make a case for Self Love today. Of course I'd absolutely advocate milking the day for its many benefits - whether that's with a significant other or making a date with some friends, a movie or a slap up meal - but first I'd suggest taking a moment with yourself.
Self hatred, when you look at it from the outside in, seems like a crazy concept. You are yourself, you encompass every aspect, every intricate detail of who you are and have become so how could you possibly direct any hate inwards? As someone who used to be fluent in self-hate, I just didn't think there was any other way I could feel about me. It seemed to come so natural and I kept coming up with evidence to cement its credibility so it stuck. The self hate fed the self destruction and I whirled around in that cycle for too long.
We've got to break this habit; this acceptance of anything less than loving ourselves. We've got to stop acting as though self-deprecation and belittling ourselves is okay. In our society today, yeah okay we take the p*ss out of ourselves and others, but realise that whatever you say, you are listening. We've got to stop ourselves every time we put ourselves down, every time we look in the mirror and wince, every time we don't give ourselves what we deserve. We've just got to stop this self-hate.
See, hating your flaws doesn't make them go away. Putting pressure on yourself to become 'perfect' doesn't make you lovable. You can't decide that you'll 'love yourself when...' or you'll 'love yourself if...' That's not love, that's a lie laced with terms and conditions. As Martin Luther King said '"Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that". And it's so true. You wouldn't scrutinise your partner's every flaw in the belief that it'd make you love them more. When you love someone, it's complete and whole and it's not based on them doing x,y and z to become more desirable.
So we need to start loving who we are, warts and all. We need to realise that everyone has imperfections and that's what makes us human. I've fought off the concept of being 'human' countless times deeming emotions, imperfections and vulnerability to just not be for me. But now that's what I've learned to love, because all of those things make me who I am. Humanity is absolutely beautiful. I don't know why we learn to fight it so hard. It's so honest, authentic and to me that's what's flawless - being un-apologetically who you are actually meant to be.
Self-love doesn't mean sitting on your own all the time absolutely delighted with yourself. It's not like you are now your own island that needs nobody else. It just means being kind and loving towards yourself, being there for you and looking after your needs.
And no, you won't become conceited or arrogant when you love yourself either, the fact that that would even be a concern shows that it's just not how you roll. Loving yourself will just allow you to radiate more love outwards.
We've looked at ways to love yourself more here but now I want to say why it's worth doing and why I'd strongly suggest making self love the gift you give yourself this love-filled day:
Self-love allows me to be me and stop trying to be something I'm not
It allows me to try new things and be a beginner
It allows me to go to the gig I want to even if I have no one to go with
It allows me to embrace relationships and really be a part of them
It allows me to trust others
It allows me to feel real joy
It allows me to connect to people more honestly
It allows me to buy myself the things I want
It allows me to write things like this, because I believe in the topic and I trust myself
It allows me to stop worrying about what others think, because I already have my own approval
It allows me to look after myself
It allows me to know my limits and respect them
It allows me to love more freely
It allows me to go after my dreams
It allows me to treat myself more kindly
It allows me to nourish my body and connect to its needs
It allows me enjoy all the amazing things in my life.
Self love allows me to live the life I wanted the whole time I was busy hating myself. It turns out, none of those terms and conditions were necessary. All I needed was to build myself up, to enter a relationship with who I am and nurture the love I had been rejecting.
Any of us can switch the soundtrack from one of hate to one of love. It's no more than we really deserve. Happy Valentine's Day :)