Valentine’s day is a celebration of love.Tales of Romeo-Juliette, or Raj-Simran from the film DDLJ, are legendary, known for their love and romance. But there is one more form of love, though not as easily recognised, which is equally popular. Over the years, Bollywood has shown us the stories of various characters that didn’t shy away from boldly accepting and loving themselves. Be it Geet from ‘Jab we Met’, Latika from ‘Bala’, Dr. Jahangir Khan from ‘Dear Zindagi’, or Rani from ‘Queen’. We are so used to the idea of finding love and companionship outside that we sometimes forget to practice this most important and purest form of love – SELF LOVE!
The idea of self-love is often perceived as being obsessed with yourself or an inability to love others – but that’s just a misconception. Before you think that loving yourself is selfish or conceited, pause and consider this – in a flight if the air pressure drops, you need to first put on your oxygen mask before helping others. Likewise, you cannot love another person without loving yourself first. Until we truly love, accept and appreciate ourselves, we may end up in the wrong relationships, constantly looking for someone else to give us all the things we have been unable to give to ourselves.Having a healthy relationship with yourself will create a strong backbone for other relationships in your life.
Self-love is about showing ourselves the same compassion, kindness and respect that we extend to others. It means to appreciate and accept yourself unconditionally, without any ‘if’s and ‘but’s. That is, it’s not about loving yourself more when you lose 5 kgs, but about loving yourself now, in this very moment. It’s telling yourself, that you are deserving of love just the way you are.
Now this may sound like a mammoth feat to achieve, and of course an internal change is easier said than done. Waking up one day and deciding to love yourself is the first step, but the action itself of loving can be challenging. But like any other habit-forming actions, the more we practice self-love, the more this mindset becomes ingrained in you.
So what better way to celebrate the day of love, than by forming some habits that make you fall in love…with yourself! Try out one or all the ideas below and see which ones resonate with you –
- Accept yourself: The first and most important step is to unapologetically be who you are! Embrace and love the things that make you unique, without being unfairly harsh or judging yourself for it. Allow yourself to make mistakes, be kind and forgiving towards you. Instead of worrying about what will others say or comparing yourself with others, focus on yourself and your journey. Keep in mind that your opinion is the only one that counts!
- Engage in wellness rituals: start a regular practice – do something that you love doing or something you’ve always wanted to try, like drawing, or yoga, or even journaling. Not only will they give you “me time” but they also allow you to connect more deeply with yourself. It’s also okay to take a break once in a while, making time to do something special for yourself – a spa, a nice dinner, a solo trip or anything that you really enjoy.
- Be mindful of your thoughts: our thoughts greatly influence our reality.Positive thoughts + loving feelings toward yourself really help to create a happy + healthy life. Below are some positive affirmations that you can practice telling yourself, and just see how you feel!
- I deserve to have good things come into my life.
- My imperfections make me unique and special.
- There’s no such thing as a mistake, every situation is teaching me something.
- My body is a precious temple and I treat it with respect.
- I choose to stop apologizing for being me.
- Make a self-love jar: On small pieces of paper, write down positive statements, things you like about yourself, positive things people have said about you, or self-love quotes you have come across. Put them in a jar and whenever you’re feeling low, pull out a chit and read the message. This will remind yourself of something positive and/or amazing about you and help you feel better!
So this Valentine’s Day, whether you plan to spend it with a special someone or solo, make a pact to do something special for you, to get to know yourself better, to take care of yourself and to fall in love with yourself again. After all, “To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness” (Robert Morley).