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The arrival of Valentine’s Day, distinguished by cheesy couple Instagram posts and over-consumption of romantic comedies, got me thinking about love and more importantly, what is self-love? I feel as though the question of “what is love?” is boundless and varies from relationship to relationship, so I decided to wrestle with something a little more personal and present within my own life: “how can I truly love myself?”

I scurried over to Google, only to find an oversimplified Merriam-Webster definition of self-love, which reads as follows, “a. An appreciation of one’s own worth or value… b. Proper regard for and attention to one’s own happiness and well-being… c. Inflated love of or pride in oneself.” While this definition provided me with some much-needed background information, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. 

After combing through some more articles, I gathered the following: I need to take baths more, paint my nails more, and do face masks more. Again, not really the answer I was looking for. These intrusive thoughts stayed with me for days. What can I do to practice self-love? How will I know when I fully love myself? Is it possible to love yourself too much?

Ultimately, self-love is about fostering an environment of acceptance. Meaning that you accept your emotions (highs and lows) and you accept your physical presence. Self-love is honoring your natural graces and maintaining your physical health. Self-love is recognizing your needs, and not being afraid to vocalize what you deserve. Self-love, at the very least, is understanding what you deserve!

As I began to define self-love in my own words, there was an unraveling in my head. It was silly to think that the definition of self-love would be any less complex than that of love. In the meantime, I’ll keep going to the gym, keep saying my positive affirmations, keep forgiving myself, and maybe I’ll do a face mask. 

Hi, I'm Piper, a second year student at the College of Charleston. I love hiking the Palmetto Trail with my dogs, enjoying Chucktown's good eats, and discovering new music.
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