This Valentine’s Day, Start a Love-Affair With Yourself

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I’ve been thinking about how, more than ever, we need love these days. For the past two years, we’ve been stressed to the max while being socially isolated — a very unfortunate combination.

In the past, whenever we’ve had troubles, we could always rely on our loved ones to support us and they’ve always been able to count on us as well. Not these past couple of years. People are lonelier than ever after two years of mostly online interactions.

But, as February 14th approaches, many people are finding themselves alone. Singles have had a much harder time finding a partner since the onset of COVID, and many couples have broken up after the months of forced togetherness showed them that they were incompatible.

Source: Pexels.com

Why not start a love-affair with yourself?

Some of these single people might be dreading Valentine’s Day, but I have a suggestion. Love is always available. Even if you don’t have a romantic partner, you can always have self-love. My suggestion is that in honour of Valentine’s Day, start a love affair with yourself.

A lot of people misunderstand the notion of self-love. They think it means being a narcissist who only cares about themselves, but that’s not true at all. Real self-love doesn’t exclude anyone else. In fact, the more self-love you have, the more it fills you up and spills over onto the people around you, like a cup overflowing with love.

Self-love is not selfishness. Real self-love leads to good self-care. Some people might accuse you of being selfish if you love yourself enough to set limits on their hurtful behaviour, but that’s only because they don’t want you to protect yourself at their expense. They want to keep mistreating you so they accuse you of being “selfish,” when you exhibit self-love. They’re the one with the problem, not you.

Self-love enables you to know yourself deeply. With self-love, you can see the truth about yourself and hold yourself accountable for the choices you’ve made. So many people are afraid to see themselves clearly, and that’s due to a lack of self-love. They’re afraid that once they really see themselves, they might hate themselves.

When your journey of self-discovery is grounded in self-love, you never have to be afraid of what you might learn. The acceptance and forgiveness that comes from self-love makes it possible to be completely honest with yourself. And this enables you to keep growing and improving as a person.

Self-love enables you to silence the voice of the “inner critic” that tells you that you’re “not good enough,” “a failure,” or “not lovable.” These lies are things that you learned from people who didn’t have your best interests at heart or who were sadly mistaken. With increased self-love, you can reject these hurtful messages and see that you’re good enough and lovable, just the way you are.

Source: Pexels.com

Starting a love-affair with yourself will help you become your best self

The best relationships make you feel fully accepted but at the same time, challenged to keep evolving. They support you where you are and they bring out the best in you. They make you happy and calm, not stressed or fearful. For the same reason, having a love affair with yourself should bring out your best and improve your overall mood and well-being.

Self-love is not only good for you but it’s good for everyone around you. When you’re filled with self-love, you’re more fun to be around. You’re more easy-going and more prone to be kind, caring, and forgiving.

When you’re not feeling stressed by self-criticism and self-doubt, you’re more likely to be tolerant and accepting toward others and less likely to be judgmental, fearful, or paranoid.

But because you love yourself, you’re also less likely to put up with disrespect or abuse. With self-love, you’re going to protect and defend yourself as fiercely as a mamma bear protects her cubs, and that’s a good thing.

When you love yourself, you know that anyone who accuses you of being “selfish” is most likely an abuser who is angry that you won’t sit there and take their abuse. That’s important information about them, as it tells you who to avoid.

When you love yourself, you attract more people who are capable of showing love to you. It’s sad, but people who don’t love themselves enough tend to attract abusers. This is because the abusers are always looking around for anyone who’ll tolerate mistreatment.

People with good self-love are less likely to put up with anything less than the utmost respect, so the abusers will often pass them by and move on to easier prey. And if they do latch on, it won’t be for long, as they see that you won’t put up with their mistreatment.

When you have a lot of self-love, you’re more attractive to positive people. It feels good to be in your presence when you have self-love, and others respect you more when you love yourself. Self-love attracts kinder, more loving, and more generous friends and romantic partners.

Photographer: Tim Marshall | Source: Unsplash

Beware of those with pseudo-self-love

There are some people who pretend to have self-love but it’s a false front. These people are superficially charming and seemingly confident but they’re fundamentally insecure and deeply selfish. They’re so preoccupied with their own needs that they’re incapable of caring about anyone else.

They want desperately to be loved so they might pretend to be nice, helpful, even admirable, but it’s all a con job. These are the narcissistic individuals who give self-love a bad name. They have what I call, pseudo-self-love.

Still, it’s possible to see through them. True self-love never excludes others. Yes, someone with self-love will have good boundaries around abusers, but otherwise, they’ll be kind and caring to others. The narcissist, on the other hand, will quickly demonstrate that they care about no-one but themselves.

This pseudo-self-love comes from a lack of genuine self-love. These people are trying to compensate for an inner emptiness by getting everyone around them to love them. But they’re faking it, putting on an act, so no-one is loving the real person. By presenting a false front, they’ve made it impossible to be loved for who they really are.

Photographer: Samuel Regan-Asante | Source: Unsplash

Pseudo-self-love is the antithesis of self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-love

These people misunderstand what love is, so they can’t love themselves, either. They think love is a prize to be won, as opposed to something given freely from one heart to another. These people are playing a game of who wins the prize.

Since their hearts are closed down, they miss out on what could really fulfill them. All the admiration they receive for their slick act is meaningless. They take and take, but they always feel empty. Think of them as the anti-love people. And by the way, they’re the ones most likely to call you selfish when you set limits on their bad behaviour.

Pseudo self-love is the cheap imitation of real self-love; it’s the empty-calorie version providing no nutrition and leaving the person always craving more. People with pseudo self-love have nothing inside them and nothing to give to others. It’s a lose-lose proposition.

On the other hand, real self-love is deeply fulfilling. It brings inner peace, confidence and optimism, and it makes you a better version of yourself. When you’re overflowing with self-love it enables you to be that much more loving with others. It’s a win-win.

Now that you know the difference between self-love and selfishness, real self-love and pseudo-self-love, I invite you to start a mad, passionate, beautiful love affair with yourself. Not only will it make you so much happier, it’s likely to overflow onto all sorts of other people, and who knows where that will go?

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Writer, speaker, MD, and author of the Short & Sweet Guides to Life book series

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Marcia Sirota

Marcia Sirota

Writer, speaker, MD, and author of the Short & Sweet Guides to Life book series

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