With Valentine’s Day around the corner, a lot of us are in search of love. Sometimes in the eyes of your husband, or from that special person who smiles at you every time your eyes meet, or in that stranger across the table at a coffee shop, who is reading a book that you adore. We seek possibilities of romance, we seek happiness and butterflies in our stomach and we seek it all from people that we are attracted to. But we never seek it from our own selves. Especially to women, the task of loving themselves doesn’t come easy.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • While we search for possibilities of love and happiness in others, it is important that we do so too within us too.
  • Self love doesn’t come easily to women because we are never taught to appreciate ourselves.
  • We constantly find flaws in ourselves and are almost always deeply unhappy with the way we are.
  • But do we ever stop to think about how it keeps us from being happy and appreciating those who do love us?

Sit any woman down and ask her to tell you five things that she loves about herself and you will actually see clouds of self-doubt.

We were taught to be kind and loving towards others, but we were never taught to love ourselves. Indian women suffer from deep insecurities, self-doubt and inferiority complex. Some don’t like the way they look, others don’t like how they talk. Someone isn’t happy about her IQ while another won’t be happy about the way she dresses. The truth is we have a tendency to downplay our strengths and look at our shortcomings with a magnifying lens in hand. Perhaps it has something to do with how we are at the receiving end of constant criticism from our loved ones. From parents to partners, women have to make huge efforts to appease everyone’s idea of being an ideal daughter, wife, mother, sister. To look, talk, walk, cook and behave the part as per their set criterion.

From parents to partners, women have to make huge efforts to appease everyone’s idea of being an ideal daughter, wife, mother, sister. To look, talk, walk, cook and behave the part as per their set criterion.

As a result of which women are by nature very critical of themselves. We want to be the best versions of ourselves so badly, that we stop seeing anything good about ourselves. In relationships, we end up internalising the blame for all miscommunications and quarrels. We are always in doubts as to why this amazing person loves us, because we see ourselves as unlovable. So when you don’t love yourself, you actually end up not valuing those who love you. Because what kind of person would fall in love with you? Why would your partner love you when you have such a big nose or you’re such a terrible cook?

When you don’t love yourself, you actually end up not valuing those who love you.

Which is why loving yourself is so important. It not only makes you value yourself, but those who love you too. It makes you see all that is good about yourself and accept your flaws instead of pinning your entire existence to becoming a better version of yourself. Yes, self-improvement is a necessity, but has it ever crossed your mind that your flaws may not be flaws at all? There is nothing wrong with having a certain body type or not being a fashionista, or having what others call a ‘shrill voice.’ There is nothing wrong with choosing your well-being over everything else. Because if you aren’t happy on the inside, you won’t ever be able to fully appreciate all the happiness that comes your way on the outside.

So this Valentine’s Day, don’t just seek love from others, seek it from yourselves too, because unless you begin to accept and love yourself for what you are, how will others do it?

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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