It’s here. The day you either love or dread. Valentine’s Day. A holiday, if you want to call it that, that either makes you feel like a million bucks or makes you feel like the gum stuck under the table at a fast-food restaurant. A day that can manage to dredge up those feelings of being the odd girl out when every single other girl in your class is getting flowers and balloons and shit delivered left and right throughout the day in high school. Or as an adult when half your coworkers are getting gifts delivered and the other half is gushing about the gift that their significant other left on their pillow or by the coffee pot that morning. You don’t want to admit it to yourself, but you feel a little inadequate. So you suck it up and wait until you get home to wonder out loud to your cat/dog/houseplant what could possibly be wrong with you?
Honestly, if you read that first paragraph and thought to yourself, “WTF? Get over it! That’s not me!”, then this post probably isn’t for you. And that’s more than ok! But there is more than likely someone you can think of who just might need to hear what this post is going to say. In a time when we are constantly bombarded with perfect social media, or more accurately, people showing their version of their picture-perfect life while claiming they are anything but (trust me, they are totally telling the truth on that one!), am I really going to be one more person to tell you to love yourself first?
Kind of, but not really.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you need to love yourself before you can find someone else to love you first. Because guess what? Life doesn’t really work that way. Sorry, I hate to burst your bubble on that one. I mean, yeah if you completely loathe yourself, it might be a little hard for someone to see past your self-hatred. Of course, at first, they might, but eventually, your constant spewing of negative self-image will wear on them, and it ISN’T their job to fix your perception of yourself. The only person that can fix you, is YOU.
That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help. Seek out a trusted friend to really talk about your feelings. Better yet, seek out counseling! Don’t let the things people have told you in the past to take up so much space in your head. And if you need someone to help you unpack that luggage, find them. They’re out there. I know it sounds stupid, but there is a little truth to the whole “hurt people, hurt people” statement. It isn’t always hurt causing a person to lash out, but it can also be jealousy, or guilt over doing something they know deep down is wrong. They do the one thing that will make themselves feel better. And that’s blame you or make you feel like shit by unloading their shit right onto your doorstep.
And again, I’m not going to sit here and parrot the whole “love yourself first” baloney back to you. Yeah, it sure as fuck helps to love yourself, but I know that isn’t the easiest thing to do. Trust me. I’ve been there before and somedays, I’m still there. You don’t wake up one day just loving yourself constantly. It takes time and work and the first step to that is to take a hard look at yourself and accept that you do have flaws! (Oh shit what? I’m not perfect?) No sorry, you most certainly are not.
I’ll be the first person to admit that I am a complete shitshow on most days. I’m a hot mess, and there definitely are days that I do not like myself very much. But I’m working on that. I recognize that while I may not particularly like the way my body looks, I’m the only person who can change that, and honestly, just because I have a few extra jelly rolls here and there doesn’t make me any less of a person. So if being chunky makes you not like me, that’s your problem, not mine. I’m pretty fucking awesome. (Hint: if you say it enough, it’s totally true)
At this point in this story, you’re probably thinking to yourself, who is this bitch preaching to me? What gives her the right to tell me how to feel?
I know because I was that girl in high school. The one wondering, what was so wrong with me that no one wanted to date me? Then I dated some not so great guys, who told me some not so great things. And I’ve let all that affect me for a looonnnggg time. I’ve come to realize that there really wasn’t anything wrong with me in high school, I just didn’t really fit in with the people there. I was kind of like an unknown quantity. I didn’t really fit into one group of people. It took switching to a large school with a more diverse group of peers to realize that. I love my ability to talk to and blend in with a wide variety of groups. Band geeks, athletic people, crafty people, etc. I’ve learned so much by being open to others.
So what does all this have to do with love and Valentine’s Day?
On a day, and in a society, where we are constantly pushed to be nothing but happy with ourselves and love ourselves all the time, I want to let you know that it’s ok to not always love yourself or even like yourself every single minute of every single day. Not being happy with every little aspect of your life isn’t the end-all, be-all everyone makes it out to be. But you do need to accept yourself for where you are. And decide if that is where you want to stay, or do you want to improve? And then take the steps to do so. Don’t let others determine your worth, or worthiness. Own your weirdness.
And hey, if it means something to you, Happy Freaking Valentine’s Day!