February is upon us with its lavish romantic dinners, baecations, and more pink and red than we all likely need. There are articles about something called Galentine’s Day and single awareness day is top of mind for those without a candlelit meal on the calendar. However one thing that I find is missing from many of these celebrations surrounding love, is the most important of them all. The chance to celebrate loving oneself. We hear about it all the time; self-care is the latest fad in wellness but how can we truly care for if love is absent? I can only tell my own tale in hopes that it brings some direction for you. Let’s aim for self-love this Valentine’s Day above anything else.
I think it takes a lot of pain to get to the crux of self-love. Through relationships; tumultuous and timeless, we discover the greatest parts of ourselves and the most vulnerable. For as long as I can remember I’ve been the type of girl that everyone has an opinion on. Some times it’s one that’s worth caring about and at others it isn’t worth my energy. It took me years to accept that it is okay for me to be a knowledgeable, intelligent woman. The world doesn’t really see it for ladies whose wit and humor are high on the charts adding a love of sports to that pile just encouraged the naysayers. I’ve been called bossy, accused of not knowing how to talk to people, being conceited, and a whole host of other adjectives that aren’t meant to uplift.
What I now know is that how people feel about you is usually more about them and quite less about you.
For years I worked to adjust to what others thought of me. I aimed to be less expressive in hopes that I would then be the kind of girl men fawned over. I tried to alter my speech and word choices in an effort to not offend, I shed tears over people who claimed to be friends and lovers, but their behavior said otherwise. What I discovered in each of those instances was that no matter what you do or how you live – someone will always been unsatisfied. What you can do is aim to live your life in a way that extends empathy to others and puts love at the center. If you can look back on each moment and say that you did those things, then you can only hope that others can feel it.
Learning to love yourself starts with understanding that everyone won’t like you. I don’t say this to be crass or as an adopter of the “no new friends” credo. Rather as a fact because it is true. Everyone won’t like you and they aren’t required to. With 7 billion people on the planet it is impossible to think that each of them will love us. Instead of focusing on trying to get the world to love you, start by working within first. Are there characteristics that you don’t like about yourself? Make an adjustment. Take stock of the critiques others have given you and ask yourself if you’ve been told them more than once. Dig deep to find the reason for an ongoing behavior. Working on ourselves teaches us about forming quality relationships with the people in our lives. Through the work we are able to note our strengths and weaknesses to assess how we can do better. That is the road to self-love.
Moving into my mid-thirties, I can say I feel at peace with myself than I ever. I’ve muddled through my previous relationships with a fine tooth comb, owning where I made some missteps while also recognizing where I let myself down. I pinpointed where I treated myself wrong and in turn gave others permission to do the same. There are times when we point the finger at our partners or friends in blame, failing to see that how we deal with ourselves has given them the notion that they can treat you the same. We teach others how to handle us therefore if aren’t handling ourselves with care – why will anyone else? Self-love isn’t just about being enamored with everything about you, but also creating a blueprint for how you like to be loved by others.
outfit details: beret – zara // coat – warehouse uk // denim – j.crew // boots – zara // sunnies – prada // bag – louis vuitton // bracelets – david yurman
This Valentine’s Day, whether you’re partnered or not, I challenge you to do something nice for yourself. Do something that involves making a change to you for the better. Maybe there’s a person in your life who finally needs to be shown the door or perhaps you need to forgive yourself of a past mistake. Free your mind from the anguish of the troubles that you’ve endured. Celebrate that you’re still here to declare you’ve made it through the fire. If you’re longing for a relationship that’s meaningful, as cliche as it sounds the first step to welcoming that in your life is by having one with yourself. Gift yourself grace this year. Love you the way you would your best friend. I’m elated that each day I make strides to be proud of my accomplishments, I’m learning to be comfortable with my cadence, my nature, and who I’ve been created to be.
Love is so often discussed in a way that is about giving it up. We pride ourselves on being able to give others the love they desire and need. While starving our own needs to for that very same thing. Self-love is the best gift you can give, because it’s through that, the people in your life can experience a love that is truly untainted. By fear, sadness, or pain.
Photography: RSee Photography
Happiest Valentine’s Day to you, may you feel as loved on this day as you do the rest of the year.