• Ana Kusbit

A Realization Much Overdue: What Does Love Mean To You?

Love. We see it in movies, we read about in books, we sing about it in songs and emphasize it in the paint strokes of our artwork. What does it mean to love, to be loved? What does love mean to you? Is it a feeling or a choice? Is it a concept or an act of kindness and generosity? Does love mean that you’d do anything and everything for that one person? And why do we do so much for others out of love until it comes to ourselves?

The act of learning to love yourself is supernatural; you learn to do it because it is a part of who you are. It is the part of you that was once so focused on destroying everything you hated about yourself that has finally died and now lives within the remains that were left behind. If love really is to give your all and sacrifice everything for that one person, then at times it is necessary to walk through the fire to save a life. It’ll burn but eventually the pain subsides and eventually you feel the warmth of equally returned love.

Learning to love yourself and take risks for the sake of your own self-interest and well-being will move in places inside of you and spread like a virus, infecting all the areas you didn’t even know existed. Having compassion for oneself will caress the soul and for a moment, you will begin to feel as if the world spins for you and you will feel glad to be here after so long of wishing away your life. Loving yourself will be an accident, nobody really plans on it because we were raised to be “selfless” until “selflessness” began to turn into down talk and belittling ourselves. You never plan on forcing to accept and love yourself until it’s the only thing left to do.

Caring for yourself is refusing to believe the lies that were placed inside your head since the beginning of childhood telling you that you weren’t beautiful like they were, you weren’t smart enough, you wouldn’t make it. That there was always somebody better than you, that there was always somebody to compare yourself to in the sake of becoming humble. No. The Golden Rule goes both ways, why treat yourself differently than the way you’d treat a loved one?

So here comes the realization much overdue. A flower does not grow by stomping on it; flowers can only grow with tender care, enough water and sunlight. We spend our entire lives searching for something to fill a certain void within ourselves when what we need to be looking for is a mirror. Take a good long look in the mirror because the face that you see reflecting back at you is the person you are stuck with the rest of your life. Learn to love that reflection because being you is the best you you can be. Because you are good enough. Read that again: you are good enough.

Create your own love story. Forget about prince charming or finding that mystery girl, forget about true love's kiss or finding the right one, go on dates by yourself. Buy yourself presents, dance in the mirror, give yourself compliments, be patient and understanding and compassionate with yourself because true love comes from within not from the acceptance and validation from others. It lasts for eternity. Loving yourself is timeless.