Going into Valentine’s Day, a day centered so heavily around love, and feeling like you are unloved has to be just about the worst feeling ever. Love is certainly the most meaningful four letter word in the entire dictionary. By society, it’s a word commonly used to describe intense feelings of affection for someone, but it is used so often in different contexts and with inconsistent meanings. Movies, books, social medias, and other films, detail love to always be this magical experience where nothing is ever awkward and individuals are always happy together. But is this a realistic idea of love? For many teenagers, seeing this kind of media, especially around the second week of February, develops an intense longing to feel loved and experience it just like all the movies themselves. Being as young as we are, we are naturally curious about the idea of being in love, but how can we ever begin to ever process what love is if many of our perceptions are based off of what we see in the media and often don’t have good examples of what love truly is in our lives?
Maybe that kind of curiosity and longing is why we tend to tear our real selves apart. Constantly changing our appearances and personalities just for the intense craving of validation from others. Is that where we think we will find love, when we alter ourselves just to be liked? The truth is you won’t; the only way you will ever find love is when you begin loving yourself. It seems we only seek love from others because we hold the deep fear inside of us—not that we will never be loved, but that we were simply born unlovable because of who we are. Therefore, if you learn to truly love yourself and the world around you, then you will avoid feeling lonely on Valentine’s Day. In my opinion, that is what Valentine’s Day should be all about. Although it can be nice to celebrate it with a significant other and to confess your love to someone else, February 14th should be a day full of reminding yourself what you love about being you, as well as reminding everyone in your life that they deserve to love themselves just the same. We need one day a year solely meant for treating ourselves and practicing self care.
This is especially important to do while we are young because if we keep living in search of love from another on Valentine’s Day, then we will never be able to appreciate ourselves. Love only grows from within and to help us on our journeys to loving ourselves we can find love in the simple things in life. I find love for myself in the proud feeling I get when my hard work pays off. In my ability to handle difficult situations and forgive myself when I handle them poorly. In the growth that I see in myself when I compare myself to a year ago and so many other ways. This Valentine’s Day, I encourage you to celebrate lots of love for yourself whether it’s in addition to the stereotypical romantic Valentine’s dates or not.