February has arrived and Valentine’s Day is here, like the unwavering hollow-point tip shunted from the cold embrace of Cupid’s heartfelt chamber. The air is filled with a tension as thick as the moist fog that sits heavy in the atmosphere during the early hours, of a frosty winter’s morning. On one side of the scale you have lovers anxious about whether or not their special person is going to like the gift they have freshly wrapped – or had gift-wrapped if their wrapping is anything like the hilarious shambles that is mine – and the surprise they have orchestrated and restaurant they have picked. Or perhaps they are parents simply hoping that this night will go off without a hitch, that the babysitter won’t fall through, that the kids will be well behaved and that the conversation can have some level of adulthood, intelligence and consistency to it.
Meanwhile, in the background beneath an onslaught of clouds bearing heavy rain while somber music radiates from some unseen place, there are those of us who are wrought with despair and disdain because this day is little more than a brazen, unpleasant reminder of things we would rather not think of. The type that struts in all whistles, bells, fireworks and fanfare in an immaculate white suit, with outstretched arms from which a flock of mocking doves flee and a sign that unnecessarily reiterates the vocal chant of “LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME, I AM HERE!!” To which we just want to grab a NES Zapper and transform those damn doves into a thousand little pixels before grabbing a chainsaw to deal with the rest of the evil before us. Which, while it could easily be pegged as petty, is rather understandable because nobody really wants to be reminded of their shortcomings do they? But why does not wanting to be reminded of what you don’t have make it so difficult to be happy for others? It certainly isn’t because we are callous individuals. So why are we often so jealous and envious of happiness around us? Well, let me make that more direct: why are you so jealous and envious of the happiness around you when you do not deserve to be loved?
It sounds mean, I’m sure, but you know what they say about the truth and what that questions is really getting at is this; why do we hope and expect to be loved when we do not treat ourselves as if we are worthy of being loved?
So many of us are concerned with all the people we wish would love us – or that one person for which we have been pining over – that we overlook the first person that should love us. Ourselves.
It is probable that upon reading that, the room is divided into those who love themselves a reasonable amount, those who love themselves perhaps more than they should – you know, the in your face egotistical types – those who are aware they don’t love themselves and those who have no idea what I’m talking about. The latter group is the one to whom this is predominately directed at because these are also most likely the same people who feel they have been ignored, jilted and shunted by the incomparable force known as love. And it is not, despite what you may think, because you are underserving of love. No. Not in the slightest. I can guarantee you that it is some result of having a few relationships implode and fall to pieces, slipping through the space between your fingers, somebody that you loved treating you like shit or somebody that should have loved you, a parent for example, failing to do so or at least failing to make you feel as though you were loved. One of those things occurs and begins a vicious cycle from which it seems impossible to free yourself, wherein you are hurt by love, or a lack of it, this makes you dislike yourself a little bit and whether that is because you blame you for allowing this person into your life or because circumstance only allows you to blame yourself – for example, children who has been hurt by a parent will only ever blame themselves – you begin to internalise this tiny but potent self-hatred. Often we are so marred by love that we forget the most important thing about it. You must be able to love yourself. Metaphorically and literally, it begins at home.
It sounds silly to say because surely it is so very obvious but the way you feel about yourself is integral to the way, not only that others feel towards you but it is either dangerously detrimental to the way you allow yourself to be treated and is indicative of the way people will believe themselves capable of treating you.
Something as simple as the way you carry yourself, your posturing, the way you move, these can ultimately and drastically alter the way people perceive you. Perception is key when it comes to reality because reality is merely the byproduct of perception. So, if I have a particularly low self-opinion the likelihood is I will carry myself in a manner that demonstrates that to others who will then see this and through their perception of me, will treat me accordingly. This does not mean that nobody will ever see past the hate that you have for yourself and love you in spite of it but it is one-hundred times harder for them to see that thing which makes you special if they have to battle you for your own love.
And here’s the thing, it’s not easy to just stop seeing yourself as less than you are – especially if you’ve had a particularly painful heartbreak – but sometimes the pretense of strength and belief – the, almost, tricking yourself at the start – allows you to get to the point of truly feeling and believing something.
So, whether you have that special someone or not, remember two things: there are people around you who love you so very dearly – friends, family – and you need to get the ball rolling by learning to love yourself. For all your flaws and imperfections, if you really want love in this world you have to make yourself available to it. You have to first believe it is out there and second believe that you are worthy of it because I assure you, you are. Someone may have hurt you in the past but that does not have to own your future. Your heart is your own. You have to learn to love you; to care for you. It’s all good and well you caring for others but a golden heart isn’t worth much if it cannot beat for the person to whom it belongs and you will never get over that pain you felt before, if you don’t begin to rebuild from within.
Love yourself. It’s the only way. If you cannot, then why should anybody else?