February 13, 2018
If I think about the last few years of my life, I remember being tired a lot. I remember constantly doing something or the other. You would think, “That’s great, you kept busy with the current of life”. But truth be told, that is hardly what it was. I remember being tired because I was constantly doing things not for myself, but for other people. There was a constant need to make other people happy. Until one day when my therapist asked me why. Why do I always go out of my way to make other people happy? Why do I always have to be the one pushing myself to make sure the other person realises how good I am? What does it fetch me?
I didn’t have to look far for the answer.
Validation; the need to feel like I am worth something, and someone; the need to be valued by others because I am too emotionally weak and lazy to love myself first.
And once this realization comes you start noticing patterns in other aspects of your life: why you didn’t get out of that abusive relationship, why you didn’t respect yourself enough to stand up for yourself at workplace, how you didn’t ask for more because you thought you don’t deserve it. You take what you get, and you silently die inside when even that gets taken away.
But instead of asking external sources for validation, isn’t it ourselves we need to look to for love and substantiation? Instead of waiting for someone else to give us approvals, shouldn’t we be telling ourselves that we are, after all, enough?
So much has been said about self-love these days. Much is thrown around about how one needs to love and respect themselves before they can actually garner a healthy relationship with another person.
But what is not discussed is how self-loving is easily talked about then done. You see, it is not always about getting massages, setting up baths for yourself, going shopping with your pals. Sometimes it means cutting off people who aren’t healthy enough for you, it is getting up from the bed when you have no strength or will to, and it is the hard choice of choosing yourself over someone who doesn’t respect you.
It took me a long time to figure out what the problem was. The constant need to be dating, to be with someone, to want someone around to make me feel like I mattered only ended up hurting me. Why? Because dating only works when two whole, independently complete people come together to share a common space. It doesn’t work when one is always working and going out of their way to make the other feel that they are actually needed there, that they matter. That is why there exists the vile idea of belittling someone by saying that they are “too needy”, or they need “too much attention”, which is why they don’t make for good partners.
There is also something to be said about how everyone wants the maximum output from relationships without putting in much effort.
But that notwithstanding, self-love is essential because it makes us a more wholesome person. It is also a conscious, constant activity. For those who find it hard to practice, they need to actually keep a check on their feelings and emotions and bring them back on track if they start going downhill.
But it is also indispensable because there shouldn’t be any need for me to ask someone for approval, I should be able to feel beautiful, loved, enough… all by myself.
So it is amazing that there are people out there planning dinners, buying presents, and heart-shaped cushions.
For now, I am happy buying flowers for myself.