Unpacking Self-Love

Now as we close the month of February, we close the month of love. We have been bombarded with imagery, events and activities about love, and for the first time in my life I felt like this Valentine’s Day was different. It wasn’t superficially targeted at romantic love, like others. Instead, there were more ads, imagery, and recognition devoted to the importance of self-love. This term “self-love" is something many find comfort with, or are sometimes at odds with. We have been told all our lives to not be selfish, and we are irritated by the self-absorbed, self-centred, and self-obsessed, so self-love seems to convey bits from each. I think the important thing is for us to define for ourselves what self-love looks like on us. I don’t believe it is a one-size-fits-all concept,kind of like success.What I define as success for my life may be different from someone else,  but at the core we all get the same feeling when we achieve our own versions of these things.

I think self-love is about respecting and honouring our feelings and emotions. For instance, continuing to do the things that make you feel burdened, unsettled , and disappointed does not advocate for self-love. Doing the things that make you feel fulfilled, alive, and joyful, however, does stem from self-love. Now please, don’t get it twisted. We will all continue to feel emotions like fear even if working in line with self-love. Fear is natural, fear means we are straying out of our comfort zone. And oftentimes, changing your life so that you can one day be comfortable is outside of your comfort zone.

Right now, for instance, I am battling my own struggles in deciding whether or not to leave the position I have with a company because I don’t enjoy it. I feel stressed and unhappy the night before I have to go in. I feel frustrated and irritated when I get out of the car, open the door, and enter the elevator. I hide out in my office when I am at work. All in all, it’s a painful experience for me to be there, and it is not self-love to stay. If anything, it harms my life=growth and prosperity, and robs me of other opportunities .On the other hand there is the fear that accompanies the thought of leaving. I have bills to pay, and that is my reason for staying so far. So what does self-love look like in a situation like this: quitting and pursuing dreams or quitting and racking up debt that can contribute to other financial and economic hardships?

That is an answer that is different for every individual. Some of us may need to stay where we are unhappy for a little longer—not forever—so that we may have the tools to get on our feet when the time is right. Others of us know that if we stay now we will never leave, and in that case, we must tear ourselves from the comfort of discomfort and seek out what will actually make us happy and fulfill us.

I think we must all understand and learn to put ourselves first.

Because that is not selfishness.

That is simply self-love.

Forever Evolving,

Jessica