Next week is Valentine’s Day, oh, the joy! I can’t wait till it’s over and all sweets go on sale! I like it more than the celebration itself. And because V’Day is approaching, I thought it would be a great moment to talk about love. But not love of others, love of self.

I’ve personally struggled with loving myself while I was growing up, mainly because I held myself to certain standards I thought I had to meet. I was too tall, too chubby, too skinny, my hair was not right, teeth too crocked, clothes didn’t fit me how they should. And I don’t want to make this about girls, because guys go through it, too, mainly: not fit/muscled enough, too tall/short, etc.

We live in a society where looks are important and first impressions matter too much, where there is a certain standard we see as “perfect” and any deviation from that standard in ourselves is a “flaw”. This is a very broad topic that can’t possibly be covered in one post without boring everyone to tears, which is why I won’t. However,

Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?Ian Wallace

Unfortunately, people judge anything that stands out and because of that our first instinct is the need to conform, in order to avoid the judgement. It has has taken me a long time to start knowing and accepting myself enough without the influence of others. I got comfortable in my own skin and I’d like to think I’m a better person for it.

How to do it? You start small.

Go look in a mirror and find one thing you absolutely love about yourself: your hairstyle, your biceps, butt, eyes, whatever. Think of why you love it and how different it is from any other person you know. You’re unique. Might as well get used to that idea. And then slowly move to other parts of your body, those you don’t like so much. They’re also unique, different, but are they really that bad?

You have a genetic make-up you are born with and with the exception of plastic surgery, that’s pretty much what you’re going to deal with for the rest of your life. Start accepting what you feel are your imperfections because they make you who you are. Sure, there are things you can tweak if you really want to. You want to lose weight, put on muscle, look better? You want to be fitter and healthier? Then by all means, go for it. Always try to improve yourself. But that’s just it.

Do it because it is what you want, because it is great for you. Do it because you love yourself and not because you feel you should look or be like someone else. And if it’s something you can’t change, embrace it. You’re you, not someone else. And that rocks. Be your own Valentine. 

Have a eudemonic week!