Happy Valentine's day to you depending when you are reading this.
It's been a long day for some and a normal day for most. Valentine's Day will always be about self love because I believe it is the greatest form of love after God's love. I alluded to the importance of loving yourself in a couple of posts today on Instagram, where I shared some cute bralettes we now have available for purchase. I wanted to continue that conversation on here, for anyone who's struggling with self love.
Illustration below by Folu Illustrates.
What is Self Love?
Self love is loving yourself wholly, without paying attention to the outward imperfections or your inner weaknesses that you are hopefully working on. Self love is looking at yourself the way God looks at you, not the way the world looks at you.
My friend, Yvonne put it perfectly above. Her caption read "Self respect, self worth and self love all start with you. Seek to define yourself from within rather than listening to what others have to say."
That's all I have to say about self love.
Self love is not about what your high school teacher said many years ago about who you can or cannot be. Perhaps you've gotten a definition of yourself from what the mean kids always said to you. Sometimes, we even think or try to act according to how people perceive us. Self love overrides all of those notions about you to what you alone can define. When you choose to love yourself wholly regardless of your circumstances, finances, looks, educational status, societal status, relationship status, job status, every societal imposed status, then you are practicing self love.
I first became aware of Valentine's Day during my first year in college. Valentine's day in high school was a hilarious combination of wondering whether you'll receive gifts or not and watching people scramble for gifts for their boyfriends and girlfriends. The guys especially worked the hardest, hustling for candies, boxes of chocolates, and single roses because a bouquet was a luxury. So while guys competed to give the best gifts, the girls silently competed over whose gift was the best; the bigger your gift, the cooler and more legitimate your relationship. Haha! Young kids. But because I was a granny, I walked away from all of this. Ok I got a gift once but whatever. Uninterested.
Let's head over to college, where I discovered self love. On my first Valentine's Day, my guy friends showed up to my dorm room with a teddy, rose and card because they knew I wasn't bothered and thought I would feel bad for not getting any gifts. It was so nice of them to come together and give me those gifts and I loved the thought. But as my friends, they knew I was totally unbothered; I had them to bug if anything. A few hours before they showed up, I got a gift for myself. It wasn't intended, but for whatever reason, the store decided to deliver my order (which I'd placed two weeks before) on Valentine's Day. In hindsight, I think it's the usual delay in shipping around this time. This cute unintended Valentine's present to myself birthed a new kind of love in me. I sat in front of my mirror and took a selfie (or a couple of selfies) in my new shoes.
To see this outfit with pink heels, click here.
Every Valentine's Day after that, I did not necessarily buy myself a gift, but I took joy in treating myself whenever I could. For example, if I have any significantly difficult task to do and I somehow remember something I've had my eyes on, I immediately challenge myself to the task in exchange for the item. And when it arrives, there's my treat to myself. I did this a lot in college whenever I got through finals week. P.s. I'm broke this year so I couldn't get myself a gift but it's okay. I have really been cutting down my closet expenses because a small walk-in closet, 4 suitcases of clothes and 2 mobile clothing racks later, I realized I need no more clothes...until summer :)
How does my story Translate to you?
Valentine's Day is great. It is amazing in fact. But I am most concerned for those women in marriages or relationships that are tumultuous the other 364 days of the year. And by turmoil, I mean physical abuse. I'm not sure why this occurred to me today, but it did and made me really concerned. On social media right now and for the past 24 hours, everyone is so in love with their significant other and he or she is the best that has ever happened. But that's not what we usually hear after it all breaks down. I know we want to be happy today and pretend the world is all pink, red and white but the truth is that there are women who are maltreated every other day after today. It's concerning and that's where self love comes in.
How can you practise Self Love year-round?
Regardless of your circumstances, take some time to do something special for yourself. It could be as small as a manicure or as big as splurging on a designer bag as Kacheetee wrote in her Valentine's post here. You can practise self love in many ways than one. It doesn't have to involve spending money, it could be simply hanging out with the persons you love more often. It could be going out and experiencing new places, new things, new cultures, with or without your friends or significant other (I really want to take a solo trip and I'll let you guys know when I do).
The options for practising self love are endless, but once you are in tune with the inner you, you will discover all those ways of doing meaningful things that only you can treasure and genuinely appreciate. The benefit?
The benefit of loving yourself
When someone comes along, he or she will know just how to love you, because you have set a standard of self care. And by "standard", I don't mean expensive, unattainable care that only someone with a deep pocket can provide. I mean that your significant other will see how you've been taking care of yourself and what means a lot to you so that he or she be guided to do same or supplement your efforts with more.
That's all I have for Valentine's Day. I really hope that we practice more loving. Hopefully, whatever you did for yourself or for your significant other doesn't stop today...do it randomly throughout the year for a love-filled year.
Or wouldn't you rather have 365 days of love not just one?
Happy Valentine's Day again