“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” said Gautama Buddha. If you are an average person, life will probably get pretty busy for you in today’s fast-paced and globalized world. The world needs self-love because we tend to be so preoccupied with making full use of our time that we unknowingly get absorbed in the momentum of life and forget to love ourselves. With only 79 years as the median lifespan of a person, the world needs to learn the concept of “self-love” or “armour propre”. Loving yourself may not come to thought for most people. It may sound like a silly hippie trend, yet this is one important concept that is essential to one’s wellbeing and happiness which much of the world has neglected.
Many view self-love as something negative. Self-love is not the bigheaded and conceited egoism or narcissism that most people think it is. It is also not a preoccupation of one’s self or the general disregard for others. And of course self-love is unlike the love of friends and loved ones, or the love of hobbies or objects. As opposed to altruism, self-love is an affirmation and caring of oneself. It has a steadfast willingness to meet personal needs where you allow yourself to accept whatever you feel and think, and see yourself as substantially admirable, estimable, valuable, and having worth in this world, where you are deserving of happiness.
If this concept of self-love is so important, why is it still lacking in our society? This is because the idea of perfection is everywhere. From the billboards in the city to the commercials in train stations, we are flooded with the concept of perfection. Every advertisement portrays the perfect man and woman and that makes us long to be perfect. We watch television shows and movies that portray the perfect relationship, the perfect husband or wife and the perfect people with characters so pure we tend to think they are angels who descended from heaven. We then begin to notice the imperfections that we have and soon enough, we end up dissatisfied with almost every aspect of ourselves. This, however, occurs subtly. Through the concept of interpellation, we find ourselves fat, short, ugly, and undeserving of love. Contrary to popular belief, this happens not only to females but to males as well. Then, we tend to fuss over this concept of perfection, actively pursuing it by visiting slimming salons, spending time to doll ourselves up, starving ourselves to the point where we fall sick, and the list goes on.
You may ask, “What can we do to love ourselves?” The answer is very simple. In order to love ourselves we should always accept who we are and accept the fact that no one is perfect. As humans, we are made with flaws. We cannot have the perfect body, looks or character all at once. Yes, we should aim to upkeep ourselves but vanity should not be the sole reason. Next, we need to learn to forgive others and ourselves. Many times we tend to be too hard on ourselves when we make mistakes, punishing ourselves unnecessarily and depriving ourselves of self-love. We should always remember that there is no failure that we do not grow and learn from. It is only through mistakes that we pick ourselves up and grow to be a better person. By forgiving others, we also learn to let go and live a happier life. Lastly, we should learn to live with an intention. This differs from having a purpose that is crystal clear, but rather one that has meaning to yourself; one that you can make decisions to support the intent that you have set yourself to accomplish. When you finally achieve this, you will love yourself more.
With a mere 28,835 days on average, we lose 5,475 days that makes up the first 15 years of our lives. This age permits’ us to make relatively sound decisions and remember them. After that, we are down to 23,360 days. On average, this is what we will be doing with our remaining days—We will be sleeping for 8477 days; eating, drinking or preparing food for 1635 days; and working for 3202 days. 1099 days will be spent commuting if you live in a city; 676 days will be spent watching television in various forms; 1576 days will be spent on household chores. We will spend 564 days taking care of the wellbeing of our loved ones; 671 days for all bathroom-related activities; 721 days for community activities and religious activities. After removing all those, the number of days we have left is 2740 days. This is the amount of time we have to go travelling, to send text messages, to check Facebook, to go swimming, to read a book. What are YOU going to do with these 2740 days? Will you choose to fuss over unimportant things, or will you choose to love yourself?