Self-Love is Radical
It seemed like hours after Christmas came to a close that stores all over started to promote Valentine’s Day. The aisles carefully decked out with soft shades of pink and vibrant red to remind you that February 14th is quickly approaching. In reflection, it seems that most of our lives have been spent preparing us to be the person someone needs. We playfully tease our crushes in elementary school and spend days nursing teenage angst due to heartbreak in high school. We build our entire existence living up to a standard that someone else has deemed the standard.
It is hard to believe that Valentine’s Day can garner so much attention when it neglects one crucial aspect of any relationship. It completely negates the fact that in order to love someone else you must first love yourself. There isn’t a section dedicated to cards you may want to give yourself or even cards you may one to pass to a loved one that encourages them to celebrate themselves. What we do find is a section for parents, boyfriends, grandparents, and every other relationship in between to offer praise and remind them of our valuable they are to us.
I was once in a relationship where I felt I was giving so much of myself with not much in return. I constantly felt drained and unappreciated and I can’t place the full blame on my ex. I tolerated the fact that he held me responsible for building him up in his pursuit of happiness which resulted in my unwavering resentment. I had the man(or so I thought) but I was losing any trace of the woman I once was and had the possibility of becoming. I saved the softest parts for him and was surprised when the flame was extinguished.
Self-love is not optional and you have to work on it every single day. This means sending yourself flowers, eating candy, taking a bubble bath, reading your favorite book, putting on that dress that fits just right, and saying no to things which don’t feed your greatness. Self-love is choosing to reject anything that directly challenges you being a whole person in all your glory and flaws. Self-love is radical and challenges everything you’ve learned about the word love and what it means. As a black woman, I think we’ve been socialized to save the last drop of love ourselves. We pour tirelessly into others on their journey to bettering their lives only to be left with the crumbs when it comes to our aspirations.
Say yes to love but only if that includes you. Say yes to the person you love but only if they say yes to ensuring you have always taken yourself first. You are your keeper and as it is constantly said, you can’t pour from an empty cup. I dare you to do something exceptional for yourself today because you don’t have to wait for anyone’s permission. In fact, your being is waiting for you to say yes to exploring a relationship with the person you have yet to discover lives inside of you.