I think so many people think today is for couples only or gifts, but I want to use it as a reminder for us all to be a bit kinder to ourselves. People are so quick to say “love yourself” like it’s some walk in the park and like you’re an idiot if you can’t do it, but really no one tells you where to begin. No one explains that it’s a process. For me, admittedly that self-love wavers, especially when I get consumed by work or anything else happening in my life. I find that self-love is an exercise, something you constantly have to practice. You have to DO things for yourself to keep loving yourself, it’s not just about embracing your flaws. I’ve learned that when you put your emotional energy into an unhealthy focus or doing something that makes you unhappy can really cause your bond with yourself to weaken without you even realising it. My husband gave me the most amazing exercise to do recently, and it really gave my heart the kickstart it needed, so I want to share that with you today! That, and a few cheesy-but-true quotes that we maybe need to remind ourselves of from time to time.
The two things I find that really governs people’s disrespect toward themselves these days is comparison to others (which leads to competing and jealousy) and adding too much value to the opinions of those who do not matter. The first one, I pretty much mastered a long time ago, but it’s so easy to feel insecure or unworthy when you look at your life in comparison to someone else’s. But everyone’s story is so different. We can’t all have the same things and we definitely can’t all have them at the same time, we don’t know the price those people pay for what they have, or if it’s real. But above all, the biggest blessings you or I have in our lives may often be what others dream of and we take that for granted. You win some and you lose some, and that’s okay. Insert very instragrammable quote here: “Someone else’s success is not your failure.” Social media has killed reality for us, believe me when I say I can vouch for that! Keep going at your own pace, no matter your goals.
As for those opinions that don’t matter, well, they don’t matter. Another instagrammable or very tweetable saying I think we often take for granted is “surround yourself with people who uplift you, inspire you and are a positive influence in your life” and “time is of the essence”. As we get older, life gets faster, and we have less time for ourselves and others, so your time is valuable, and it shouldn’t come cheap. It’s so important to give yourself valuable quality time, and to choose wisely who you spend your time with. Even more important is to add substance to both of those times, substance that YOU find valuable. This is one I’ve struggled with many times, and yet I keep learning the hard way. How many times have we put work before our self care? How many times have you just wanted someone to be as in love with you as you are with them? How many times have you invited people to walk all over you, yet you stay? How many times have we dumbed ourselves down and used gossip as a bonding session because there isn’t anything valuable to talk about? Now ask yourself how any of this will move you forward in life. Even those imaginary winning arguments or perfectly dreamt-up situations you have in the shower won’t make things happen for you. It won’t change the fact that some times people just don’t click, or someone misjudged you. You can’t love and respect yourself if you’re putting yourself in situations that don’t honour your time, or make you feel there is something wrong with you. All you can do is be picky, give yourself as much if not more than you give others, and really make it count. As a muslim, we’re told life goes by in an instant, and your loved ones should “be the coolness to your eyes”. I mean, ain’t that the truth?
Now for the exercise I want to share with you. My husband noticed I was feeling a little off and he asked me what would make me happy and excited about life, what my goals are for an average day. He sat in front of me, making a list that included everything from praying on time, to reading, working out, solid quality time with him, taking the time to produce content readers and I would both love, among many other things. I looked at the list and realised I wasn’t giving any of those things my all. No wonder I wasn’t feeling good! I took it upon myself to do at least two of those things every day to the best of my ability and focus on my strengths, and not only has it changed my mindset and shifted my mood, but I feel good about myself for honouring myself. I naturally feel more respect for myself. I feel like my days and my time have more value, and it’s great. I highly recommend everyone tries this. It’s quick and easy, and a great reminder to shift your perspective.
So again, don’t think that today is only for lovers, or all about roses. It can be a start or reminder that you can be your own ‘Valentine’, and you can do something lovely for yourself every single day!
MRP t-shirt, Zando earrings, Jenni Button sequin tank, custom-made skirt, Cotton On jeans, Marc Jacobs watch, Stuart Weitzman heels from Spitz.
Photographs by Malick