If December is a month which is associated with the decorations and merriness of the Holidays and Christmas, February is certainly a month which is dedicated to celebrating Love - and no date is more illustrative of that celebration than February 14th, Valentine’s Day. Even if someone was living under a rock, they would get the association of this day with all the love and fluff around because a glance at a store window will give you the idea of things around you being filled to the brim with pink and red heart-shaped everything. Stores are stocked shelf by shelf with stuffed animals, cuddly toys, heart-shaped boxes and Valentine’s Day cards that are meant to be sent to that special someone.
Valentine’s Day can make also make you feel as if everyone is in love and everything is all about love. At a time where we think about all the people we love and are lucky to have in our life, its important to also remember to show love and kindness to one more very important person in our lives - Ourselves. And this is important not just on Valentines Day but every day.
February and Valentine’s day is typically filled with re-runs of fairy tale movies, cheesy commercials about love, and an endless stream of social media posts from people in relationships; and lets not forget all the cliches of ‘All you need is love’, ‘Love makes the world go round’ and ‘There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved’ to name a few. Have you ever pondered over the ideas that why is every discussion and portrayal of love so focused on the relationship of two people? What happened to the focus on loving ourselves, and why can’t Valentine’s Day be about celebrating yours truly? Of all the love songs and those quotations about love, most of them centre on the relationship between two people. Concepts like being fulfilled on finding ‘the one’ and ‘love at first sight’ are utterly ingrained in us and if they aren’t already, they will given that they are at every nook and corner. Right from the Rom-coms and old Disney films that show that individual achievements and personal acceptance are not enough given that love and finding “the one” is the definition of fulfilment and happiness. An important concept that doesn’t receive enough attention - on Valentine’s Day especially - is the concept of self-love. There is no denying that Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day all about love and relationships, but the relationship we have with ourselves is often not spoken about very much and this needs to change.
The first and foremost thing to help our survival is to learn how to love ourselves, accept ourselves and embrace ourselves just as we are - because at the end of the day, we have to come home to ourselves. It’s important to understand what makes your souls sing and then chase those experiences. It always helps to focus on filling your own heart with joy and the excess will spill over into the lives of the people you hold dear. Self love is also an integral part of maintaining and taking care of our Mental Health. However, it is easy to fall into the trap of being too hard on yourself and not giving yourself the same affection that you so easily give others. So this Valentine’s Day, commit to being your own Valentine and pledge to love yourself more with each day to come.
Self love is a mindset, a commitment to extending to yourself the same kind of respect, compassion, and kindness that you gladly extend towards others. It is all about loving yourself unconditionally, regardless of accomplishments, size, or stature. It has nothing to do with loving yourself more when you knock off those last five pounds or win that race in a few seconds than before but it is all about setting the intention to love yourself right now, in this moment and just as you are. It is all about loving and accepting yourself through the tears and laughter, wins and losses. You are incredibly important. You are special. And you are worthy of love. Know that self love is not a selfish, strange thing or unhealthy thing. When you start being good to yourself, not only will you feel the benefits, but others will sit up and take notice. They will see a difference in your confidence and in your and when they look at you, they will see somebody who knows they deserve to be loved. You might even become an inspiration to others, perhaps to those who themselves are struggling with feelings of anxiety and struggling with their self worth.
A great Mantra to live by is: Learn to FLY (First Love Yourself). Self Love is regarded as the first step to walk on the path of success, happiness, better health, wellbeing and fulfilment. Don’t beat yourself up, put yourself down, criticize yourself or think you aren’t good enough. Be kind to yourself, take care of your body, be kind to your mind and maintain your health. Life isn’t a movie and Self Love is not something we can wake up with morning. It’s something that you have to cultivate and that you have to defend when it gets challenged, and trust that it will be challenged. It involves the is acceptance of your failings and flaws while embracing your talents, wins and inner beauty. It involves taking care of your physical and mental health while paying attention to your emotions and being truly present in your relationships. It is also knowing what you deserve as a human being and indeed, what you don’t deserve.
Research done around Self Love has shown that having a healthy sense of acceptance is one of the key motivators to help accomplish our goals. Think about it. If you’re beating yourself up already before even jumping into the things you want to work on, you’re not going to be too kind to yourself as you stumble along the way - and are likely to give up on your goals altogether. To help better achieve this acceptance, positive affirmation can play a key role as they can help you feel better about yourself and your place or surroundings in the universe. Your height. Your hair. Your smile. Your eyes. Your understanding of things. Your personality. Your laugh. Your kindness. Your dance moves. All of these things make up the you that you are right now. Own them. Fall in love with every piece of what makes you, you and learn to build on the beauty that already exists. Sometimes, you may feel rejected, hurt, and alone in your life, even if others surrounded by you. Sometimes you may feel confident, and at other times you find yourself feeling a little less-than-great. Know that all your feelings are valid and are trying to tell you something and then try to find ways to remind yourself that you are amazing, worthy and loved.
Valentine's Day may be the most romantic day of the year; after all, is there any other day solely dedicated to love and affection? While it's almost too easy to get caught up in the sugar-laden, heart-shaped holiday, it's especially important to remember that you deserve to love yourself and feel loved everyday and not just on a day of a month where every store is screaming that message to your face. nothings. Make this Valentine’s Day the day you decide to choose you, not just for one day of the year but everyday. Celebrate the day by believing that you deserve your love and affection just as much as anyone else. Being deserving of love doesn’t require validation from others. Take a step forward to love yourself a little more each day and watch your world transform. And, since its the season for cute rhymes, Here's one to start off your mornings with:
“Rose are Red, / Violets are Blue, / Hey there person in the mirror, / I love you!”
Written by: Vedica Podar