Valentine’s Day has become yet another holiday tainted by American commercialism. Buy this necklace, make reservations at that restaurant–and you better not forget flowers. But in the midst of giving affection to others, it’s easy to forget that we must love ourselves deeply in order to love others properly.
Far too often in our millennial minds, we confuse self-love with self-appeasement. We live to indulge our fleeting pleasures in the name of “self-care.”
Loving yourself is more than doing face masks or buying yourself new clothes or makeup or trinkets every other day.
True self-love demands self-respect. It requires a deeply rooted sense of self-awareness. You cannot begin to love yourself until you take yourself seriously.
I’ve recently explored the idea of self-respect. What is it? How do we get it? Is it inherent or learned?
One of the most impressive essays I’ve found about the topic was literary journalist Joan Didion’s 1961 essay published in Vogue. Check out these excerpts.
“In brief, people with self-respect exhibit a certain toughness, a kind of moral nerve; they display what was once called character, a quality which, although approved in the abstract, sometimes loses ground to other, more instantly negotiable virtues.”
“Nonetheless, character—the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life—is the source from which self-respect springs.”
This Valentine’s Day, stretch beyond the cultural standard of surface level self-care. Dare to pull back the shimmering veil from your picturesque life and see who you are–who you really are. Stop making Valentine’s Day about doing. Make it about being.
Materialism can only lift you up so high before its efforts become futile. Find intangible qualities in yourself (and others) and spend your life passionately cultivating them.
That is self-love.