Happy Galentine's Day! As many of you know, this is my favorite holiday, because it celebrates something that is so important to me: platonic friendships, specially between women. Last year for Galentine's Day, I wrote about how how I came to realize that female friendships are absolutely essential. This year, I'm writing about something a little different: self-love.
I would argue that Galentine’s Day is as much about your relationship with yourself as it is about your relationships with your gals. After all, you are the only person who knows you from birth 'til death. Thus, it’s extremely important to cultivate and maintain a loving relationship with yourself.
Self-love is similar to friendships between women in that it is often misrepresented in popular society. Both relationships are meaningful, fulfilling, and, in a word, essential. I see self-love labeled as self-absorption, selfishness, or narcissism far too often. This negative portrayal discourages people, specifically young people, from working to develop a loving relationship with themselves for fear of being labeled self-centered.
I’ve spent a long time working on my relationship with myself. I’m still working on self-love, but I’m mostly content with myself. One of the biggest ways I’ve worked on loving myself is simply by spending time alone with myself. I’ve always been pretty introverted and required time by myself, but I haven’t always been thoughtful about how I’ve spent time with myself. Once I realized that my relationship with myself is, in fact, a relationship, I started treating my time with myself the same way I treat my time with my friends. I’m nice to myself (I treat myself the way I want to be treated), I do fun things with myself, and I listen to myself.
Another way to cultivate self-love is by engaging in self-care. This can, on occasion, be cutesy and romantic, like what you might see on Tumblr. You can take bubble baths with your favorite TV show, treat yourself to a coffee, or wear your favorite underwear. Most often, though, self-care is pretty boring, but essential nonetheless. You practice these methods every day: you practice self-affirmations, feed yourself good food, brush your teeth, go to bed on time, go on a walk, and do things that make you feel good about yourself. So much of taking care of yourself just relies on forming healthy habits, which anyone can do.
In light of Galentine’s day, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that an important part of self-love is surrounding yourself with people who love you AND who want you to love yourself. For me, these people are my friends and family. I’m so grateful to have the amazing friends that I do who love and support me and are excited for me, even when my life takes me away from them. Even long-distance, our friendships serve to empower each other. I’m so grateful for these gals and, though I wish I was celebrating today with them, I’m so glad that we’re all doing some seriously rad stuff across the world.