With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s pretty fitting to talk about love- just not in the way you’d expect. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that self-love is just as important as loving those around us. Many argue that it is entirely possible to love someone else even if you don’t really love yourself, and they aren’t wrong. We can learn what love is through community, family and friendship, but it’s important that we make sure that we aren’t relying on someone else’s love for fulfillment.
Loving yourself is not about being over-confident and full of yourself- it’s about self-assurance and accepting yourself for who you are, despite the insecurities you may have. A person may love you more than anyone else in the world, but if you can’t accept yourself, how can you expect someone else’s love to change this? You may find yourself questioning their motives for being around you or wonder why they love you in the first place. Maybe you went into a relationship for the wrong reasons. Your insecurities become projected onto this person you care for, which is unfair to the both of you. You need to be able accept your flaws.
Self-love and assurance is important for a healthy relationship, be it romantic, family, or friendship. Having confidence in who you are as a person makes it more difficult for others to treat you less than you deserve. It also draws in like-minded people. We tend to attract people who are similar to ourselves (i.e. religious views, morals and ethics code, political preferences, etc.). As much as we like to surround ourselves with diverse people, at the end of the day, the people in our close circle often hold similar (if not the same) belief systems as us. Now, the people who come into our lives affect this belief system. No matter how sure of yourself you are, you’re more than likely to tweak your system based on who you care about. Because of this, it’s vital that we know and care about ourselves enough to stick as close to our belief system as possible. In other words, we need to be able to stay true to ourselves.
Going back to the idea that we can learn to love through community, family, and friendship, there’s more than one way to love as we all know. My friends and family teach me new ways to show love each and every day. However, I’ve found that it means so much more to me the more that I learn to love myself the way they do.