Some people say that true love is loving even if the love you give is not fully returned. But I say no, that’s not love, that’s martyrdom. Because once you love someone, you also have to love yourself, and by loving yourself, you have to learn when to stop hurting yourself. Your heart is a planet, and it’s God’s most precious gift to you. Hurting yourself by being a martyr is like walking around, giving away the contents of your planet: the trees, the flowers, the seas, the sky, your moon.
Loving, I’ve learned, should start from within. And this is why you should love yourself more: Once you start loving yourself, you will learn to truly love another. You can never give what you don’t have, and not having enough love for yourself means having less love to give others. Just imagine sharing half a glass of water with someone who’s as thirsty as you are.
If you’re in a relationship, learn to find some time for yourself whilst giving time to your partner, too. Learn to go to the department store alone. Have an ice cream alone. Sit on a bench at a park alone. Just remember to tell your lover how your afternoon at the store went, give the ice cream you bought to them, or say that you missed them at the park. Being with someone doesn’t always mean being with them twenty-four hours a day. Distance, at times, makes the heart grow stronger.
If you’re single, work on yourself first. Go on a trip. Hang out with your friends. Rekindle the lost closeness you had with your family. Be the love of your life. Try to look and feel happy, and to be the kind of person that other people will look at when you pass by. Little do you know that maybe—just maybe—this could be how another would fall for you, all because you look like a happy person.
Nevertheless, the heart is still a fragile thing. It bends and breaks easily. It’s soft. It’s dumb. Sometimes, it gets manipulated. And as its owner, you should be the smart one. The heart will often tell us that it needs another heart to grow, to feel love, and while that is partly true, it doesn’t know that other hearts are not always as pure. That other hearts are not as soft. That other hearts are less dumb than yours.
You should love yourself more, because you are the owner of your heart. You have a responsibility to take care of it, to avoid the situations that could break it. You are its gardener. If you shower yourself with love, its flower won’t wither, no matter how many storms it experiences. You are its nurse. You heal it when it’s wounded. And most importantly, you are its master. It should guide you, but you should know whether the road that it leads you to is a place that could make you grow or not.
Once you have realized your importance, not only will you learn to appreciate the beauty of your soul, but also the beauty of life. And this is why you should love yourself more: If there is one person who should see your worth, it’s you. Forgive yourself for thinking less about yourself and move on. Look in a mirror and realize that you are not made of everybody else’s opinions, but of the things you deserve. Learn to smile, not just for others, but for yourself. Be your own priority. Take care of yourself and your heart. Find yourself first, because once you do, you won’t get lost ever again in a relationship.
Here comes the tricky part. Once you’ve found someone who gives you just as much love as you give yourself—and sometimes even more—you will feel your walls crumble. The same walls that you built yourself. You will question every single rule you have ever made about love. It will seem like you have forgotten all the pain and heartbreak you have felt in the past. And if you believe that they’re the right person, you will tear down these walls yourself. That’s okay. It’s okay, because finally you are found. It’s okay, because you are loved. It’s okay, because you deserve to be loved. You, of all people, know that.
By then, you will know what to do. This time you’ll be ready, because you will have learned to love yourself more. Yes, you will love this person with all your heart, but the process won’t stop there. You will leave some love for yourself.
You will not fear and you will not rebuild your walls. You will guard your planet. You will leave the trees or the flowers or the seas or the sky or at least your moon. Once you have found someone whom you truly love, you will feel like you don’t need one or all of these. And perhaps you truly won’t, because if they are indeed the right person, and it’s the right time, you will be given not just the flowers or the seas or the sky or even the moon. In return, you’ll be given a universe.
And you will let out a happy sigh because finally, you’re okay.