OPINION: Self-love is the antidote to Valentine’s Day


Amelia Tai

Self-love can help lead to self-acceptance and fulfillment in one’s identity.

Over the years, the concept of self-love has gained popularity through social media, body positive movements and companies promoting self-acceptance. During Valentine’s Day, however, the focus is directed towards the feeling of love given by partners, friends and love interests. External love may feel incomparable, but it is inconsistent and a motivator for people to change themselves to fit others’ standards. A full feeling of satisfaction must be found through self-love first.

While external love is validating, it is inconsistent. According to the Huffpost, one of the most important steps to finding love is to accept one’s own insecurities. Constantly searching for others’ love and affection should be redirected to finding a control over love for one’s own identity and personality. It is crucial for people to be forgiving and accepting of their own flaws in order to find ways to embrace imperfections fully. Others may not accept one’s imperfections, which is why one must recognize them and make peace with them. 

While searching for superficial love, people often try to alter their personality and appearance to receive external validation, leading to a loss in their sense of self. The Transition House reported that protecting oneself is an essential step to practicing self-love. Protecting oneself includes finding the right friends to be surrounded by and setting boundaries to no longer feel the need to change to fit certain standards and expectations. 

It is important for people to be given the capacity to discover who they are during their teen years, especially since they are the critical points of exposure to the real world. Being surrounded by people who do not follow one’s own morals and values will likely end with constantly searching and craving for validation and love while risking losing self-respect.

Though one can accept inconsistent, superficial and self-altering love that others may give, true, desirable love will continue to feel unattainable and unfulfilling if one is unable to appreciate themself first. According to Psychology Today, if one is not able to love themself, it will become harder to love others or accept their endearment. The concept of accepting compliments or promises of devotion varies from perceiving love as genuine. 

If one cannot find anything to like about themself, it is unlikely they will believe the appreciation others give them. When one focuses only on the negative parts of themselves and how they can change those aspects, they lose the ability to understand how others can love them. Furthermore, no one will be able to fulfill the amount of love needed from others. The love and respect that one gives themself is the only thing that would be able to meet their standards and expectations. Self-love is the basis of believing in others’ love. 

During the month of February, companies and media heavily advertise Valentine’s Day, and it is difficult to ignore the intriguing value of receiving and seeking love from others. A desire for love is why people argue that external love is more valuable than self-admiration. However, love from others will seem impossible when one has little respect and appreciation for themself. There is no doubt that the fantasy of a perfect love from a partner or friends is intriguing, but humans need a healthy balance of both external and internal love.