If I’m being honest, I’m not super great at the whole self-love thing. I would rather support and encourage my tribe than take time to take care of myself. I would rather not focus on myself, because that means being ok with being alone—really alone. Like sitting with my thoughts, reflecting on what I need to grow in type alone, which I really struggle with. But that doesn’t make self-love any less important or necessary in my life. . . and in yours!
Sometimes, I think self-love is selfish. I could use that time to listen to a friend, help someone in need, do homework, or a plethora of other options. But it’s not selfish. I have to remind myself of that over and over. If I don’t take care of myself, stay in touch with my emotions, desires, and dreams, I will not be able to love and serve those around me to my full capacity. I just won’t.
Also, if I can get even more real here, February is a tough month for me to practice self-love because I want so deeply to look outside myself and find love and acceptance from someone else. With my Instagram feed full of people in relationships celebrating one another, I want to be celebrated by someone who isn’t me. And you know what, I think that’s ok! I think we all innately have that desire. . .but it’s still NOT an excuse to NOT love and celebrate ourselves.
Let me tell you, practicing self-love is a discipline. It takes time, energy, and dedication. But, from my own experience, I am much happier and healthier in seasons of life in which I choose to treat myself and love myself every day than seasons that I don’t.
So, what’s up with the guilt? I mean, we are kind of in the middle of what I think is a self-love revolution that we will look back on someday and be thankful we lived through. . .which is awesome. But there’s still SO. MUCH. WORK to do when it comes to reducing all the stigmas and lies that come to self-love (especially for single people.)
Self-love involves a lot of just pouring into yourself. For me, it usually means going to see a movie that looks good, going to Barnes and Noble, buying a book, and spending time reading, or maybe going to a coffee shop and just being for a while. The problem I have found with all of these things is that I am not empowered or encouraged as a single person to spend time alone.
I remember at the beginning of the summer, I was on the phone with a friend, and I said, “Ok, I have to go now. I am going to see a movie!”
“BY YOURSELF?!” she exclaimed, “Megan, please don’t go see a movie by yourself.”
After hearing silence on the other end, she quickly said, “You know what, you are an independent person, you should go see that movie! I am sorry!”
I appreciated the apology, but I could stop thinking. . .why was it such a big deal that I was going to do something alone. Why is there such negativity and shame surrounding solitude (which is a crucial aspect of loving yourself)? I think this is still one of the main barriers facing us in this self-love movement: we are conditioned to always be with someone instead of being encouraged to just BE.
I give you permission. . .not that you need it, but maybe you need to HEAR it. I give you permission to spend time alone this Valentine’s Day (and any day) and I give you permission to LOVE it. . .to enjoy being—just being.