Preached in almost every makeup and shampoo commercial, self-care is hailed as a capitalistic solution to a very personal problem. Self-care is built on the idea of self-love, but it can be hard to be good to yourself. Especially on a day dedicated to celebrating romantic relationships, many single people feel ached to be celebrated.
Celebrating yourself and taking care of yourself genuinely is not an easy thing. I used to think that self-care was just throwing on a facemask and taking a long bath. But self-care for me means sleeping on time, making sure to eat balanced meals and walking every day. It means spending time with family and friends and finding time to do the things I like. There are a myriad of reasons why self-care and self-love are important, so here are my top three:
Stopping unhealthy comparison
When we lack compassion for ourselves, the potential for ruthless comparison expands ten fold. Society tells us not to compare ourselves to others, but society only values us in comparison to our peers. So, be hard on yourself only when you have the mental capacity to grow.
If you're having a bad day, feeling negatively about yourself makes it worse. But on your good days, push yourself to improve a little bit on the things you know you can change.
I started reading "Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones" by James Clear recently, and this is one of the main ideas from the book: Make small, seemingly insignificant changes consistently and evaluate them for the long term. Reading five pages of a book everyday may seem like a slow pace, but in a few years this practice might inspire a lifelong love of reading.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare," Audre Lorde said.
The world will tear you down and stomp all over you. Why would you want to play a part in your own downfall? Taking care of yourself sends a signal to our own consciousness that you are valuable enough to be taken care of.
If something difficult does take you by surprise, being able to show yourself love and understanding can make all the difference in how this obstacle affects you long term.
On the days that I am too tired to do something nice for myself, I hang out with people that make me feel better about myself. On Valentine’s day this year, I want to take part in a Galentine’s Day and celebrate all of the female friendships that have brought joy to my life.
Investing time and effort into friendships will enrich your life more than you know. Too many people consider friendships the side dishes to life’s main course (getting married, having kids, etc.).
But these friends are some of the best parts of my life — my support system for when I need a shoulder to cry on.
While it might be hard to remember to love yourself this Valentine’s Day, self-care is essential to becoming the person you want to be while maintaining the wonderful person you are.