Saturday, 14 February 2015

Learning To Love

Hello again my dear readers,

I bet you did not expect to hear from me again so soon but here's a little blog post for you as a treat to start the weekend off.
Speaking of treats... Flowers don't always have to be bought for you.

I bought these gorgeous lilies for myself last weekend and they've just bloomed.

Modelled perfectly in my sparkly birthday vase from Jess and Tom.

My weekly update: This week has been a horrendously busy one and I am absolutely knackered now that the weekend has arrived in all its in your face romantic glory. Monday was strange as my second semester started and Uni kicked in again but unlike my packed schedule of last semester I only have the one lecture at 3pm meaning I had a more leisurely start than usual which I would need to keep my energy up for the rest of the week. Tuesday was less nice as I revisited the bleakness that is 9am lectures (I have no idea how I got up this early as a high school student) and had a packed schedule but I got to have lunch with friends and try this delicious salted caramel hot chocolate as part of National Hot Chocolate Week. 

Seriously heavenly.

I also went along to some Mental Health Matters Society events which is something I had been meaning to do for ages and I had a really wonderful time. Wednesday was lectures, work training, and another Mental Health Matters meeting. Yesterday was my busiest day yet with lectures, seminars, a netball match, counselling session, SCM meeting and training for my new job meaning I was out of the house from 9:30am until after 10pm. Today was meh as I now (further timetable disaster) have a seminar on a Friday but my tutor didn't turn up a good gym sesh, some reading and a Netflix binge helped though.

So yeah I've managed to fit a lot in for the first week back and I'm tired because of it but I had a great time and I'm so lucky for the varied activities I can partake in and the lovely people in my life as well as the opportunity to make new friends (I've discovered that my new blue hair and a Harry Potter scarf is a winning combo for this).

In this blog post I would like to talk to you about the topic of love. Not one I am claiming to be an oracle on but one I'd like to share some ruminations on with you. As it has been on mind surprisingly enough with all the commercialisation this week.

I think ever since I was a little girl I have been in love with the idea of love from watching Disney movies to the novels I read and the relationships I observed around me, it captured my imagination. Those of you who know me know I used to be a ridiculous romantic. Having no problem with telling the various friends, family etc in my life those three words "I love you." I idealised what romantic love  was but as I got older and saw the different sides to it through my friend's relationships it became more unobtainable and less perfect but I still wanted it with all its issues and emotional depth. Maybe I still don't understand what love is even though having 'experienced' it myself (and there is certainly no overarching description of it that fits everyone, especially with this particular area of romantic love which is so wide reaching). I think I understand it less now or more than I wanted to. 

Lately my relationship with the concept of romantic love has been been warped and I find it hard to believe that such a thing exists in a world with so much negativity and loss and pain, on personal and wider reaching worldly levels. However much I struggle with this though I am constantly presented with rare examples where it does work so maybe the hope isn't gone completely yet.

Yet as we all know romantic love is only one part of the wider idea of love. For example English is one of the only languages to use this word "love" for multiple meanings and occasions as most langauges, including my favourite Italian, have several different words to express different types of love. 

For example I say "I love this pizza" or "I love reading" doesn't equate to same depth of feeling as "I love my best friend" or "I love my significant other". Yet all are equally important areas of love. I am very blessed to have the love of an incredible family and never have been let down in that department, meaning I know the kind of selfless love that they give. I also have been blessed with the deep love and affection for and from, the great friends I have in my life all over the world who support me, make me laugh and love me for who I am. (As shown this evening with a hilarious and heart warming Skype to some friends back home.)

I can't stop loving them and I love making new friends and showing them I care. It's just who I am, I'm hard-wired to love my family, my friends and most people irregardless of what this loving will cost me. Love is just in my nature I guess. I can't stop it or control it, just encourage it. This kind of familial and friend love has been the most constant in my life and I don't know what I would do without it but it's not the kind of love I want to focus on today.

I want to share with you what I think one of the most important kinds of love to remember and cultivate is: Love for yourself.

I think this is an aspect of love that most people forget or overlook in the listings as it is only really parroted when some one has become recently single ("You can have time to work on yourself") or being increasingly negative about themselves. 

It is the aspect of love that I have most struggled with as well. Going through depression, self-harm, and the companion of low self-esteem I really did not love myself or anyone really I was numb to it all. The period after emerging out of it was even harder as you had to re-learn a sense of value and worth, to love yourself again. That is no easy feat and resulted in me disbelieving any compliments I received, constantly being down on myself and feeling unworthy. This presents a problem because you cannot understand why others would love you when you cannot love yourself. You don't feel worthy of love. 

Yet each one of us is. We are each unique and have our own qualities but each of us is loveable and can achieve more through recognising that and loving ourselves. 

So many quotes I could have chosen for this blog post but this one
really makes me smile :)

Thankfully through my own tenacity, the support of others and the lifting presence of depression I became more inclined to listen to those compliments, appreciate myself in the mirror a bit more and develop new strengths which I liked about myself. I learned to love myself again, This has been an ongoing process though and I still don't feel I've reached total acceptance yet but I do love myself a bit more. I wouldn't say it has been easy and I still have days where I will self-criticise or turn away from the mirror but that is no longer the majority.

This has been an empowering process as it's given new confidence, I hold myself differently, learnt to listen to others and worry less about body image too. I love being me. And it makes me happy :) 

Love for yourself is so important. Because if you can't love yourself then it is so much harder to love others and be content as you will never feel secure in who you are. Everyone can learn to love themselves too no matter who you are. It's just starting that process, being less inclined to view yourself negatively because everyone is worthy of love in their own right. When we look in the mirror and like who we are, then the smiling becomes easier, the opening up to others becomes less difficult and we can be powered internally rather than the external opinions of others.

Also even if you don't suffer from low-self esteem, or body-image or any particularly overwhelming way of viewing yourself and feel like you've learned to love yourself it is good to remind yourself of positives, things you like about yourself, stuff you've achieved and that you love yourself. You can do this just by making time for yourself. Which is really important to if you're loving others to remind yourself of your love for you.

Now before I run the risk of sounding too preachy or like a self-help book I am going to stop. But I hope you learn to love yourselves as I am doing, or just remind yourself of your loveable qualities because that kind of love goes a long way. 

I have never really liked the concept of Valentine's day when I was single  or other wise seeing it as mainly a nice occasion to receive presents and an occasion to show people you care. More of an opportunity than the commercialised heightened emotional ritual it is billed as mostly nowadays. (One thing I will not be doing this Valentine's day is going to see/think about/waste time on the trash that is The Fifty Shades of Grey 'phenomenon'. You're all welcome to your personal opinions yes but that is not my idea of a love story either romantic or about yourself.) But whatever you end up doing it is filled with some kind of love whether it be for pizza, wine, family, friends, partners or maybe yourself.

Check back next week for some cracking blogs charting politics, mental health and my next ABC instalment.

Until then.

Much love, chocolates, flowers etc, to you all,


Song of the post; Perfect - P!nk (I think this song always feels very empowering to me as whilst perfection isn't really achievable we are all perfectly just who we are meant to be.)

P.S Treat yourself to some of these for Valentines day, or whenever, I bought them weeks ago.Only a £1 from Tesco if I recall correctly.

Heart shape crumpets are a true sign of loving yourself. Buy them :P

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