By Sahar Ashraf
‘Love’, yes, love!
What comes to your mind at the mention of this word? What came to your mind when you just read it? Possibly, it filled you with a sense of hope, maybe made some of you shy or indifferent. Well, generalizing an answer to this is a tedious task, since love is an emotion which some wear on their sleeves while others disguise. Emotions have no definition; they can only be felt. And love is an emotion that all of us yearn for, at least once in their lifetime.
For generations, the concept of ‘love’ involved the presence of another one. After all, only then did it give a sense of being the most sought after emotion in the world. This feeling can be for another person, animal, object, place or even a memory. Religious scriptures on loving our parents, children, family, God and innumerable tales of romance have paved the way for this ultimate, unchangeable definition of love.
“I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.”
-Charles Dickens (Great Expectations)
“I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”
-Pablo Neruda (Twenty Love Poems And A Song Of Despair)
“He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest.”
-W. H. Auden (Stop All The Clocks)
“What I want is to be needed. What I need is to be indispensable to somebody.”
-Chuck Palahniuk (Choke)
“In case you ever foolishly forget: I am never not thinking of you.”
-Virginia Woolf (Selected Diaries)
It is no wonder then that the youth of every generation has always sought to find love in the form of another person or a thing. Not to forget, societal norms have only fueled this quest. Also, it will not be wrong to say that this quest is more rigorous in the present scenario. Like an absolute necessity, almost everyone has become desperate to find love.
Finding love is not a sin, not at all. But when it is done at the cost of self-love, despair or as a means to achieve a status in the eyes of society, it becomes a sin. It violates the very meaning of love.
Over the past few decades, emphasis on self-love has been doing the rounds. Thanks to today’s fast-paced life, where cases of mental breakdown have only increased, it is essential to take care of ourselves. It is saddening that the world started acknowledging this only after people began losing themselves to depression and anxiety. However, what is more saddening is that most people still find self-care and self-love selfish. After all, the prefix ‘self’ looks good only in words that show your ability: self-reliance, self-dependence, self-sufficient, self-esteem etc. and why not? We have been taught to talk about our capabilities. So it’s okay; you aren’t to blame.
Self-love is not selfish. It is a process of being in love with thyself; accepting your natural self, recognizing your passion and dreams; acknowledging your capabilities and abilities; not lamenting over inabilities, instead embracing, nurturing and working upon them to the best of your abilities. And doing everything that helps you grow mentally and emotionally. All this becomes possible when you let yourself unwind and give yourself the time to understand yourself better. Unwinding doesn’t just mean relaxing; it refers to exploring different things and letting yourself go! The whole process of self-love is akin to the process of raising a healthy baby. The only difference here is that the mother and the baby are the same people, and it is up to you to take care of your raw, unheard soul.