By Surakshya Kiju | Featured Contributor
Love. The point of it all. The reason for it all.
We find purpose in love. We give meaning to our lives through love. Love is arguably the strongest emotion we human beings feel, be it for our family, our friends, or our soulmate. We pursue love all our lives. All we want in the end is to be able to love and to be loved. We go to great lengths to find love. We let love define us.
Family is defined by the love between members rather than blood, friends by the love and bond people share rather than their acquaintance or the time spent together, lovers by their love and not marriage. If we think about it, everything revolves around love. Politicians–loving people and being loved by people. Celebrities–loving their fans and being loved by their fans. People can only be happy when they can love and/or feel loved, and it can be anything, not just another human being. It could be their profession–like musicians loving music, painters loving colors or birds loving freedom, people loving their pets or loving nature. Love comes in all different shades and shapes.
Love: A Universal Remedy
It is my belief that love is the universal remedy to everything. For example, a person going through depression might be advised to get an ESA (emotional support animal), say a dog, because it helps them to get better. Why? Because they can now love their new companion and feel loved in return too. Those who are elderly, left in retirement homes—the sadness, pain and bitterness that they go through—can all be cured by love. Orphans–all they want is to be loved. Even nature, our earth, could be saved if only we loved it enough.
However, sometimes we seem to forget that it is just as important to love ourselves as it is important to love others. You don’t need someone else to love you to determine your self worth. Growth and change begin with self-love and self-care. In the modern world, it is getting increasingly common to seek others’ approval of oneself to determine self-worth…and that should not be the case.
In Japan, they practice Kintsugi. It is the Japanese method for repairing broken ceramics with a special lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The philosophy behind the technique is to recognize the history of the object and to visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it. The process usually results in something more beautiful than the original. It is built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art.
Love through Acceptance
The concept of Kintsugi is very inspiring to me personally. I think we need to accept the fact that everyone is different and everyone is perfect in their own way. You can try to copy someone who you think is perfect, but even if you became the exact copy of that person, all you will be is an imperfect you because you are you, not someone else. We should accept ourselves first–with all our flaws and imperfections–and love ourselves the way we are. Only then, can we move forward to trying to better ourselves.
When I was a kid, I used to have my own dinner plate. We all used plates from the same set. So, they were all but identical except the fact that one day while doing the dishes, it slipped from my hands and chipped a little on one end. It was a small chip at the edge. You couldn’t even tell unless you were looking for it. Since that day, it became my dinner plate. I used only that plate for eating, and my mom never gave it to anyone else. For others, it could be an imperfect plate, chipped at the edge, but for me, it was perfect because it was chipped. In it’s imperfection, it was mine.
We give so much of our lives to others: our time, attention, energy, love. And in doing so, we also give them the power to define us. I see a lot of people putting up with things they shouldn’t have to, just because they don’t love themselves enough to say that they don’t deserve to be treated that way, to believe that they deserve better. I think of the woman who looks the other way when her husband cheats on her, or the employee who feels as if she has no choice but to endure the demeaning words from her boss.
Most of the people we meet in our lives are only temporary and we love them with everything we have. But you are your lifetime companion. You are the one who is going to go through it all–sometimes with friends, but most times alone–through the best and through the worst of it all. So how come you don’t love yourself as much as you love the other person? If anything, you should love yourself the most, because when everyone leaves and you’re all alone, you will be your only partner. In this way, don’t you think you should love yourself more?
Love through Self-care
It is only when you love yourself that you can start taking care of yourself the way you take care of the things or people you love. So, start loving yourself and start taking care of yourself! Drink plenty of water, eat healthy, go on walks, and stay away from toxic people and toxic environments. Take care of yourself like you would take care of someone you love. Spoil yourself.
Lastly, stand up for yourself. Don’t let ‘that guy’ walk in and out of your life as he pleases. Don’t let ‘that popular girl’ talk badly to you because of your body shape. Don’t let people do whatever they want. Dare to say no. Love yourself more, and you will find others who will love you just as much for who you are.
Spread love and positivity.
Start with yourself.
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