When You Are Young, No One Talks About Self-Love!

I am listening to Miley Cyrus swaying to her latest title “Flowers” and I am fascinated by how I had known so little about the most romantic relationship that I could have had in my life- self-love.

As a child, I was always fascinated by stories that were narrated or the ones that I read. I had read a treasure trove of fairy tales, (Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty etc.) where the knight in shining armour or a prince always came in to save his damsel in distress.

The Internet was not so easily accessible then, and the little written content that was available in the library where I lived, did no justice to the female writers that I was introduced to later in life.

The movies of the time also glorified the heroes who used to be the sun around which all the other characters (be it the heroine, the mother, the brother, the sister, or the friend) revolved.

Circa 2023, I am listening to Miley Cyrus swaying to her latest title “Flowers” and I am fascinated by how I had known so little about the most romantic relationship that I could have had in my life – self-love.

No one teaches you about self-love!

Having been in such a male-centric environment makes one believe in that one “prince charming” who will be the constant in your life, who will make your heart flutter, violins playing, bells ringing et al.

You spend your days waiting for that romance to enter your life and colour it pink, red and all the colours of love. You do find many loves, of many kinds, in that search for the one, and each love leaves you with a different experience, a different insecurity.

Meanwhile, we forget to love the person who loves us the most, no matter what – ourselves.

My memories of Valentine’s Day in school and college passed off like a very, very distant memory, mainly because being part of a very studious and straightforward feminist group totally focused on making a career path, boyfriends and romance were not on our list of priorities at all.

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Where was the showering of affection?

We had discussed this absence of a romantic male partner in our lives, and while we did not really miss the melodrama of the relationship that we saw our friends go through, what we did miss was the showering of affection and the puppy love that came along with that particular age.

Romance entered after completion of my college degree, when I began my journey as a career woman. I soaked in all the attention and adulations that I received from the opposite sex, and it was during this period that my heart felt its share of passionate love and heartbreaks.

Marriage brought an unexpected settlement in my life. It came as an arrangement in my life when societal norms dictated that I’ve had enough freedom to live my life as an unmarried independent, female and, as in most arranged marriages, the probability of finding a compatible partner is so very rare, the moment marriage entered, romance left through the back door.

Then began mundane life

Then began the eternal cycle of managing work, home and upbringing of the child, which is still going on. The period of the lockdown shocked me to my core, and made me question all the beliefs and values that had been passed down to me in the name of love and relationships.

A series of events made me understand stopping seeking approval from people in the garb of love and showed me my own self-worth.

As quoted by the American spiritual author Gangaji, “The love that you search for everywhere is already present within you. It may be evoked by any number of people or events. But finally, you must realize, you are this love. The source of all love is within you.”

And so it has been that I started loving myself, taking care of myself, prioritizing myself and showering myself with all the love and affection that I deserve, without any of the associated guilt.

Three types of love

I had once read that everyone experiences three kinds of love in their lifetime.

  • The first one is the puppy love – the fairy tale type which swoops you off your feet.
  • The intense love – the one that turns our world upside down.
  • The unconditional love – the healing love that comes from nowhere and feels utterly and completely right.

I skipped the first part directly to the second. There were the associated heartbreaks which helped me grow and evolve as a person. It gave me an insight into my strengths and made me more resilient. Now, I await the third kind, the healing unconditional love.

I don’t know what kind of love waits for me in future!

Will I experience it in this lifetime of mine, I do not know, but as my friend once told me, live with hope?

Will I ever find it or am I myself that healing love, I do not know? The moment of enlightenment has not yet struck. But until then, I am cherishing this phase of my life and as Miley aptly puts it in her song “Yeah, I can love me better than you can.”

Until such time, on every 14th of February, I buy myself flowers, and chocolates and wish myself all the love in the world. This year on, to me and all the lovely, wonderful people out there on the path of self-love, “Wish you all a very happy future Solentines day.”

Image source: Sujay_Govindaraja, free and edited on CanvaPro

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