In our relentless pursuit of love, we often find ourselves chasing an ideal that has been shaped by society, movies, books, and even religion. The concept of love is frequently portrayed as selfless, demanding sacrifices, and a willingness to give it all, even if it means sacrificing one’s happiness or life for the ones we love. It’s a narrative deeply ingrained in our culture, and it’s one that I respectfully disagree with.
The Borrowed Notion of Love
We’ve all borrowed the idea of love from various sources, and it’s an idea that has been perpetuated through generations. From classic tales like “Romeo and Juliet” to the influence of love in cartoons, societal expectations, and the teachings of our parents, we are inundated with this narrative of selflessness and sacrifice. Even religion, which plays a significant role in shaping our moral compass, often reinforces the notion that love is synonymous with making sacrifices and giving everything for others.
The Forgotten Element: Self-Love
Amidst the clamor of external influences, we often forget a crucial element of love — loving ourselves. The idea of putting ourselves first, taking care of our own wishes, and making self-love a priority seems to get lost in the shuffle. But the truth is, without self-love, the love we seek from others remains incomplete and unsatisfying.
The Importance of Self-Love
Self-love is not selfish; it’s self-care. It’s about nurturing your own well-being, physical and emotional, and understanding that you are deserving of love and happiness, both from yourself and from others. When you truly love and accept yourself, you can embrace love from others with a greater sense of fulfillment.
The Pitfalls of Seeking External Validation
When we lack self-love, we fall into the trap of seeking external validation to fill the void. We become dependent on others to make us feel complete, happy, and loved. This dependence can lead to dissatisfaction, as we are constantly looking outward for something that should come from within.
Breaking the Cycle
To break the cycle of chasing external love, we must start with self-love. It’s about realizing that you are enough just as you are, and your worth is not determined by the love or approval of others. Self-love empowers you to be independent and emotionally self-sufficient.
Embracing self-love is a journey, and it’s not always easy. Here are some steps to help you prioritize self-love:
Take time to reflect on your beliefs and values about love. Are they aligned with self-love, or are they rooted in self-sacrifice? Awareness is the first step towards change.
Make self-care a daily practice. It can be as simple as taking a few moments each day to do something you enjoy, whether it’s reading, going for a walk, or indulging in a hobby.
Use positive affirmations to boost your self-esteem and self-worth. Repeat affirmations that remind you of your value and worthiness of love.
4. Setting Boundaries
Establish healthy boundaries in your relationships. Boundaries protect your emotional well-being and reinforce the importance of self-love.
5. Seek Support
If self-love feels like a challenging journey, don’t hesitate to seek support from a therapist or counselor. They can provide guidance and strategies to help you on your path to self-love.
Prioritizing self-love before chasing external love is not a rejection of love; it’s a profound affirmation of it. It’s about acknowledging that you deserve love, and by loving yourself, you create a strong foundation for meaningful and fulfilling relationships with others.
It’s time to rewrite the narrative of love, one that starts with self-love, self-acceptance, and self-fulfillment. When you love yourself, you not only enrich your own life but also bring a more genuine, empowered, and satisfying version of love to your relationships with others. Let’s make self-love the cornerstone of our pursuit of love.
Remember, it’s not selfish to love yourself — it’s a prerequisite for a love that truly nourishes the soul.