Self-Love Before Romantic Love

Flickr / Jessica Cross
Flickr / Jessica Cross

Love is such a complex thing. It doesn’t even have a specific definition, yet it is something that can induce an array of emotions within one. It is so intangible and iffy, yet it ultimately becomes what our lives revolved around for a great deal of time. As i watch my friends, one by one, fall in love and get together with someone, I get this bittersweet feeling. For one, I am absolutely happy for them, and genuinely wish that their relationships would last. (Is it still naive for one to think that it is possible to have just one relationship that lasts for a lifetime?) But I do admit that it does get to me that I’m still alone and well, still waiting. But I guess I’ve come to terms with this, because I know I’m not yet ready for a relationship. I am aware that I have not yet loved myself enough, to be able to love another person.

To be in a relationship, you have to be able to love someone for who they are, and they have to love you for who you are. But first, one needs to learn to love and accept oneself before being able to do the same to others. I’m not talking about loving yourself in a way that you convince yourself that you’re perfect and all that. It’s about coming to terms with who you are and what you can achieve, which I feel, can never be perfection. Nobody is perfect. Everyone has flaws, even the protagonists in our novels and films. We are all striving to become the ideal person of our dreams, yet the word “ideal” itself is only an abstract concept. It is merely something that was constructed to make people feel that they are never good enough. Frankly speaking, I feel that it is just a tool of marketing, which unerringly prey on our insecurities.

In order to love yourself, you have to accept that you will never achieve perfection. You should learn to accept what you are, who you are, and recognise that although you can’t be perfect, you can still make yourself a better person. There are things that you can change, and there are things that you can’t. This is why self-acceptance is the first step towards loving yourself. Accept your flaws, and recognise your beauty. Work on your assets. It’s easier said than done, I know. But nobody ever said this was easy. That’s why most of us I dare say are still struggling to emerge from being victims of our own insecurities.

But do try. Go on and give it a shot. Look at the people whom you envy, look at those who inspire you, those whom you so badly wish that you trade lives with. Do you think that they were able to achieve what they had and become who they are effortlessly? No. These people worked hard to achieve what they have become. Sure, one might say that some people are just more blessed than others, be it naturally in a physical manner, or with financial capability to help them achieve their goals. But the important thing is that, these people were willing to look past their flaws, and focus on their positive attributes. That, is exactly what makes them shine. They are able to stand out not because they are flawless, but because they are able to make their positive traits stand out a great deal more than their negative ones. And that, my friends, is how you start your journey towards self-love.

Self-acceptance does not simply imply the acceptance of your flaws, but also includes the will within you to do something about it. Say you have really bad hair, and unfortunately it’s natural and you can’t keep dousing it with harmful chemical and heat treatments. Well, accept it. If you can’t miraculously get a new head of hair, then make the best out of what you have. The amazing thing about the world we live in now is the interconnectivity we are blessed with. With the Internet, we are connected to people all over the world. Just a few clicks here and there and bam, you are presented with people who share the same problems as you, and if you’re lucky, you may even find solutions to your problems. I’m not saying this works for every single problem that you have. But in the context of bad hair, there are millions of hair tutorials on Youtube, and I’m sure somehow you would be able to find something that would help you in someway. Lamenting about your problems is not going to solve anything. Taking action is what produces changes and give you results.

When you are able to accept yourself and love yourself, then you are ready to love others. Romantically speaking, that is. In a relationship, you would want your partner love you for yourself. But that is not enough. Part of what goes into this has to be your own effort. If you constantly doubt yourself and continue to be enslaved to your own insecurities, no matter how much your partner tries to boost your self-esteem, everything will eventually crumble because you yourself fail to even convince yourself. Additionally, your self-deprication will only drive your partner away. Nobody would love a person who constantly puts himself/herself down, at least not for long.

So before you head into a relationship thinking that you want to find someone who would love you for who you are, take a step back and ask yourself. Are you first able to love yourself for who your are? Are you able to come to terms with your imperfections? Are you then able to love someone else despite their flaws, and be willing to help them bring out the hidden wonder within themelves?

A relationship is about giving and taking. You want to be loved, but you also have to show that you love the other person too. It’s a relationship of exchange. By learning to accept yourself, you will eventually learn to accept others as they are. We are all but victims of our own minds. If we can conquer our own negativitiy towards ourselves, then we are ready to help others conquer their inner demons. By helping others to love themselves, if eventually creates a positive feedback because they are then able to love you too.

But like I said, love is complex. Sometimes the love you give to someone in turn leads to them loving another person. In such cases, try not to lose hope. And don’t start hating yourself for losing that person. Because then, you would plunge into a downward spiral and return to ground zero in the domain of self-love. In times like these, you will realise that nothing is more important than the love that comes from the most precious people in your lives – your family and friends.

Love is a funny thing, ain’t it? TC mark

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