The Valentine's season should be dedicated to loving people — including ourselves.
February 13, 2018
Pink hearts, cards in the mail and fellow students making out in every corner; the Valentine’s Day season has yet again inspired the outcry of its usual hopeless romantics and cynical singles.
Modern Valentine’s day is centered entirely around the idea of romance and expressions of love targeted towards other people, most often a significant other. However, in the midst of high school and personal development, students often don’t take the time to dedicate love to themselves.
“A lot of people don’t prioritize taking care of themselves because there are so many other things that have to be done in life,” junior Sophie Marshall said.
At such a critical time for personal development, both within school and out, it’s concerning to think that students are neglecting to monitor their own mental health. Advocating for one’s own needs is important, yet is often dismissed because it seems conceited, Marshall said.
The topic of self-love seems to have turned into something of a nonchalant joke rather than a critical piece of an individual’s mental state. Junior Raymond Guo said that students, especially those who are feeling depressed, could genuinely use self care as a means of self-love.
“You can definitely do stuff for yourself that is extrinsic, like just going out somewhere and getting nice food for yourself,” Guo said.
However, freshman Johan Olsson said not every student has the time to spend for themselves in this way. He said that society and college oftentimes expect students to spend their time on subjects pushed onto them, rather than on ones they may want to pursue out of interest.
“There’s a set timeline that everyone needs to follow. At this age, I need to focus on college and my career. You know what? That can be really stressful,” said senior Andrea Reyes.
Reyes also said being patient with oneself as a method of self-love during stressful times should be a priority. In the face of failure or falling behind in classes, both things that Reyes said can take a toll on one’s mental health, taking the time to visit one’s counselor or taking a mental health day can be valuable.
“You never want to sacrifice your mental health for doing well in school,” Reyes said.
With this, the definition of self-love includes taking control of how one spends their time. Junior Anna Groene said that there’s also pressure to spend time with families and significant others, especially with Valentine’s Day. To her, self-love is taking a break from that and spending time the way she wants to.
“As you get older, you start to expect someone else’s admiration for you [on Valentine’s Day],” junior Anna Groene said.
Senior Arin Gallagher said that it was empowering to take charge of himself by learning to lessen the priority of the input of others in his daily life. When he chose to listen to himself instead, he said he gained self confidence.
“I stopped doing what was expected of me and I started doing what I want to do,” Gallagher said. “Do what you want; don’t be afraid of what people expect from you.”
Self-love vs. self-care
The science behind self-love
Self-love is often stigmatized as a luxury rather than a necessity, but in actuality the kinder you to both your mind and body, the better you feel and perform.
“[Self care] is very important for a sense of happiness overall. It increases your belief in yourself and the amount of control you have over your life,” psychology teacher Katrina Allemeier said.
According to researchers at the University of Texas positive feedback makes your brain much more productive when it comes to focus and stamina. Which in the long run leads to a greater likelihood of success and happiness. Societally, however, people often become concerned that caring for or about yourself is narcissistic and arrogant.
Allemeier said that while one can definitely become too self absorbed, self care isn’t about letting yourself off the hook.
“There is a difference between believing you are in control and thinking your life is all that,” she said.
Allemeier said that arrogance is being unable to recognize your flaws or being humble about your accomplishments. That being as realistic and kind as possible to yourself and others is the best way to take care of yourself and in the end it’s a balancing act.
“If you treat others better than you treat others, or vice versa, that’s a little messed up,” Allemeier said.
Allemeier said she thinks about self care like flowers. If someone needed to be cheered up and you bought them flowers, that very nice gesture. If you needed to be cheered up, however, many hesitate to buy themselves flowers.
“It seems that we never see ourselves in this light and it’s so hard not to make one mistake take over your sense of worth,” Allemeier said, “but if you are patient and kind you will be fine”.