The power of self-love and healthy relationships

This Valentine’s Day look to find true love and acceptance within yourself

There’s no doubt that Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to express your love to the people in your life, from romantic partners to dear friends. Though the holiday might no longer be celebrated only by those in romantic relationships, there’s still a rather small emphasis on the importance of celebrating self-love and the relationship you have with yourself, which is arguably the most significant in your life.

Now, I should make it clear that I’m not writing this just because I’m single on Valentine’s Day (again) and bitter about it. To be frank, the relationship I’ve had with myself throughout my life has evolved considerably since I was younger, and I expect that yours has as well. Our lives are ultimately defined by our experiences, the people we surround ourselves with and how we grow over time. As such, it is natural to change your outlooks or priorities based on what you realize you need, especially when prioritizing yourself is so often frowned upon due to societal demands.

There are unending expectations of what your life should look like at a certain age, of the sacrifices you should be willing to make for true happiness. With these expectations shoved down our throats, it’s hard to know what you truly want, never mind what you need. When we remove ourselves from the confines of societal demands, we offer ourselves a chance to reflect on what we’re striving toward, whether that be in academic or professional settings or more personal opportunities.

Having a higher sense of self-awareness is vital to maintaining mental and emotional health. Other people can’t tell you what to need at a given moment, but listening to yourself and acknowledging what you need is the best thing you can do. The mental and emotional aspects of our wellness are impacted by a great many things, but oftentimes it’s up to us to address what we’re feeling and why, and only then can we begin to understand ourselves further.

Additionally, the type of relationship you have with yourself directly affects what you seek in your relationships with others, which means having a healthy level of self-esteem and being more in touch with yourself can drastically benefit your social interactions. When you know who you are as a person and what grounds you, you’re able to hold others to the same elevated standards that you impose on yourself. Setting boundaries becomes easier as you’re aware of your own values, but you’re also more accepting of the faults both you and others may have.

No one is perfect — if they were, they would lack the evolution of self that gives us character and allows us to learn from our past mistakes. Our relationships with our inner selves are the most important we’ll ever have in our lives, in part because we change so much over time. You deserve to accept the person you have been, the person you will be and the person you are now. Considering you’re stuck with yourself for quite some time, be someone you would want to be with.

To love yourself, in perhaps the simplest way, is to recognize your needs and your limits. It entails finding comfort in who you are rather than searching for external validation. We all deserve to find love but don’t discount the untapped well of it within yourself before you start looking for it in others.