February is the season of love. Shopping windows are decorated with hearts and flowers. Supermarkets are offering “2 for 1” on chocolate and confectionary. TV commercials are telling us to give our loved ones the ultimate experience this V-day by buying them this or that. Fellow bloggers are giving us great Valentine’s gift ideas weeks in advance. We all wait patiently until 14th February to show and express our love to our other half or the friend with the ‘forever alone’ tag. Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day – the day to give and receive love. A commercialised day to forget about the pain that love has caused us throughout the years, to forget our partner’s mistakes and give them a little card covered with hearts. Yes, 24 hours of true sentimental blissfulness! Sadly, after 24 hours of love and 1… or 2… dissolved boxes of chocolate, we seem to crawl back to our normal selves. We have given and received love, but some of us will still feel miserable and unloved.
Although I have the lovely support of Vlad and we somehow manage to show our love on every single day apart from Valentine’s Day (oh, the horror if we don’t celebrate it!), I still feel gloomy and depressed. Why? Because I don’t love myself. I’ve spent so much time on making other people happy and loved that I’ve forgotten how to treat myself in the same way. And how am I supposed to properly show how much I love others when I can’t even show this to my own being?! Henceforth, I’m dedicating this post to myself and all other poor souls out there who desperately need some self-love! This Valentine’s let’s learn how to give ourselves the gift of self-love.
Self-Love Requires Self-Respect
Self-respect is one of the steps that can take us closer to achieving self-love. Yet many of us were born into families that did not show us how to master this technique. Growing up, I was constantly reminded by my parents and fellow classmates that I don’t deserve respect. I should give respect! I was a little human being that knew nothing about life and had a long way to go before it achieves anything worth respecting. I was constantly reminded that I’m nobody and will stay nobody for a long time. The fat shaming and bullying didn’t help either. Slowly, I was losing confidence and grew to be this self-pity, self-conscious, miserable human being.
All these years I’ve made very poor decisions that were acted out of neither self-love nor self-respect. Are we loving and respecting ourselves when we always put other’s feelings first, even though they might hurt us? Are we loving and respecting ourselves when we let our boss treat us badly? Are we loving and respecting ourselves when we put up with the toxic friend in our lives that keeps reminding us of the bad things we’ve done? The answer is – NO!
“We practice neither self-love nor self-respect while we let other people control us.”
Slowly, I’ve learned to give myself a bit more self-respect. I’ve quit the job that made me feel miserable. I stood up and said goodbye to my boss who called women ‘stupid cows’. I said goodbye to all of my ‘friends’ who were making me feel less worthy. Consequently, I ended up alone, with no friends, but I learned to be my own friend and that’s enough because self-love requires self-respect!
We live in a society in which we’re constantly being reminded of the mistakes we’ve done. Nowadays, we strive to become somebody and not just anybody but the absolute best version of ourselves. We want people to know us, to speak highly of us, to remember and praise us. Only then we start to feel worthy and successful. Sadly, in our quest to become someone, we tend to forget about the little accomplishments we’ve achieved throughout our lives. Often, the mistakes we’ve done prevail and, once again, we fall into the despair hole.
“We criticize ourselves more than we praise ourselves.”
We tend to punish ourselves far too much for making mistakes which are an integral part of learning and growing. As a matter of fact, while I’m writing this, I’m getting a horrendous flashback wave of all of the bad choices I’ve made. In situations like this, I need to remind myself that I’m a human being. I’m not perfect and that’s ok. Nobody is perfect and we all need to learn to forgive ourselves. Only by forgiving ourselves we’ll get the gift of self-love.
Speak Well Of Yourself
Nowadays, focusing and nurturing our own selves is often confused with narcissism and selfishness. Narcissism is the opposite of self-love. Narcissists are arrogant and hide their insecurity behind a falsely perceived sense of their own superiority. Self-love and speaking well of yourself has nothing to do with self-centeredness.
“We often speak more negatively to ourselves than we ever would to anyone else.”
I’ve slowly started to speak well of myself. It might sound funny but I’ve learned to stand in front of the mirror, take a few deep breaths and tell myself that I’m worthy. I’m a strong, confident, smart and capable human being with an amazing six pack! And then I high five myself! No, I’m joking, my nuttiness hasn’t reached such heights… yet! Jokes aside, my mirror practices have helped. Although my confidence disappears as soon as I leave our flat, those couple of minutes of self-worthiness are all I need to feel some self-love.
Therefore, I’m dedicating this post to everyone who is in a desperate need of self-love. I know I am and this Valentine’s I’ll try to give Vlad and myself some much-deserved self-love as the past week has been horrendous. My anxiety has once again peaked and judgmental voices from the past have filled my head. I’m breathless, sad and afraid. I can’t calm myself but I’m trying to remember that these feelings are not a sign of a weakness but strength! When this anxiety episode passes, I know I’ll feel stronger and more confident.
Let’s all try to be more confident and learn to appreciate our own selves. Everything just falls into place when we love ourselves, accept ourselves, and honour ourselves. Only then can we discover our true calling and create a life worthy of our being!
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