We spend so much of our lives in pursuit of that perfect, soul completing, life fulfilling love. In the next two days we will be celebrating an entire day dedicated to the commercialization of romantic love. That companies know there is to be profit in encouraging persons to make gestures, grand or small, for their romantic partners sums up the craze with the idea of being in love. Then there are the movies. The books. The love songs. And, yes, I know the tone of this blog so far probably sounds quite jarring coming from a romance author. No worries. I’m still #teamlove. I still believe love makes the world go around. I think love can be the world’s best spectacle. I listen to romance songs in my spare time and swoon even when I am specifically, strategically hiding from love. I watch romance movies and weep. I spend all of my time weaving love stories in my head. I am love. Yet, I have seen… I have understood… I have lived the way we are taught to love our romantic partners. We are taught to love them beyond all fault, with a unstoppable, gravity defying sort of love. We are taught that to sacrifice our happiness for them is a noble, romantic gesture. We are taught that boundaries and love, like oil and water, do not mix. We are taught that we fall in love not rise in love and then we wonder why, when it ends - we are often crumbled right where we fell.
So, in honour of Valentine’s day, let’s talk about some ways to ensure that you are honouring and loving the only person you are wedded to for life: you! Self love is an action. It is not merely feelings. It is something that you wake up every day and deliberately aspire towards.
Sometimes ‘No’ is the word you need to hear
This seems to be completely different to what we are taught. We live in the ‘YOLO’ generation where we are encouraged to not deny ourself what we want because life is short. However, sometimes it is the denial of things we want but we know are not good for us which is the true act of self love. Very often, the pursuit of short term pleasures negatively affects what we want to achieve in the long run. So yes, deny yourself that scoop of ice-cream. Deny yourself that extra half of an hour of sleep to head to the gym. Stay away from people who make you feel good for a time but bad about yourself later. Think about your goals and think about the things you might want to do but will prevent you from reaching them and deny yourself those things. At times, the most important word you can say to yourself is: No!
Self love is acknowledging your own bullshit
Many of the articles around the web on self-love and self-care paint this as an amazing process filled with massages, meditation, lavender sprays and feel good activities. At times, self-love is looking at the cold, dark aspects of yourself that you do not like. Then, to love yourself despite it. And, to love yourself enough to make the changes necessary to fix those things. This is never an easy process but very necessary. It is also necessary to do it with the type of love and understanding that the love songs ask us to give to our romantic partner. One of the most freeing things in life is to acknowledge that you are not perfect. And, that this is okay.
Be Kind to Yourself
I cannot stress this enough. I have said on more than one occasion that we are often more kind to others in their failings, shortcomings and imperfections than we are of ourselves. I once read that the simplest and most quiet revolution ever started in the world is a person’s decision to treat themselves with kindness, respect and love. In the words of Aaliyah “We need a revolution.”
The Building Block of Your Life
Now, this blog was entitled ‘The Greatest Love of All’ because it really is the building block of everything in your life. You show people how you should be loved by the way they observe the love you mete out to yourself. The way you love yourself determines the kinds of circumstances you allow yourself to stay in: the job, the relationship, the friendship, the family dynamic, and so on. The way you love yourself gives you the passion, strength and convictions to go after your dreams. If you are looking for the one thing to change your life: the one perfect bolt, the one perfect potion - it is within you: it is the way you love yourself.
So, have a great Valentine's day. Snuggle up to your lover. Surprise them with an amazing gift. But, do not forget to shower yourself with kindness, acceptance and love - not just on that day - but all year round.